Round one of the 2019 Optus WAFL Premiership Season is fast approaching and clubs are ramping up their preparations for the season ahead.
Read about how your club is tracking ahead of an exciting season.
Claremont have hit the ground running in season 2019, adding a trio of returning stars for the upcoming campaign.
Declan Mountford, Jack Bradshaw and Callan England will all wear yellow and blue, with Harry McCracken making a comeback from a long-term injury. The big blow over the pre-season has been the loss of former St Kilda midfielder Tom Curren, who is expected to miss the majority of the season after sustaining a neck injury.
Plenty of youngsters have shown fantastic promise in the lead-up to the premiership season, with coach Darren Harris pinpointing Jack Monaghan, Dec Hardisty and Jack Lewsey as players to step up in 2019.
The Sharks are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2018 and have wasted no time in acquiring some high-class players to bolster their list.
Former West Perth defender Kody Manning has moved across, while delisted Fremantle ruckman Luke Strnadica adds some experience into the midfield. Reigning Lynn Medallist George Hampson has joined Swan Districts, with Jonathan Marsh moving to Melbourne to play VFL football.
The other major addition over the off-season is new league coach Bill Monaghan, fresh off a Grand Final appearance with the Falcons last season. The premiership coach has made a profound impact in a short space of time so far.
The Demons will be chasing a drought-breaking finals berth this season, with the red and black continuing to reward their youth in the top side.
Matt Rogers has returned to the club after a number of seasons at Swan Districts, gifting the Demons a wealth of experience, particularly in the midfield. Guy Langdon is another exciting inclusion, moving from the North Pilbara competition playing for the Dampier Sharks. The 25-year-old is the older brother of GWS small forward Zac Langdon.
Gordan Narrier has had an interrupted pre-season with persistent knee trouble, while league regulars Clint Jones and Cody Ninyette are slowly moving back into the main group.
Former Essendon backman Jackson Merrett is the boom recruit for the Mandurah-based side, with his AFL experience set to benefit the entire squad. The young group has been led impressively by the likes of Gerard Ugle and Brayden Lawler, while Ben Hancock and Jarvis Pina have showed promising signs in the new year.
Expect some of the mature age recruits from Fremantle to have an impact in the WAFL this season, with some of the VFL’s best joining the purple army in November.
After a preliminary final exit last season, South Fremantle will be hungry for success in 2019 and will begin the season without a host of regulars.
Retirements and higher honours have ravaged the Bulldogs in the pre-season with Shane Hockey, Ryan Cook, Ashton Hams, Cory Dell-olio and Ben Saunders all hanging up the boots. Matt Parker capped off his stellar 2018 by being recruited to St Kilda in the November National Draft.
Former Hawthorn midfielder Kade Stewart has returned to the club after a stint in Katanning, with former Peel league player Andrew Haydon the other notable inclusion.
The Lions completed one of the greatest seasons in WAFL history in 2018 after going through the entire season undefeated. Will 2019 bring the same success to the storied club?
Key departures loom as a bump in the road for the premiership fancies, underlined by the retirements of club stalwarts Brad Stevenson, Adam Cockie and Chris Phelan. Zac Clarke has been recruited by Essendon, while Luke Foley was rewarded for a standout Colts season to join the West Coast Eagles.
Leigh Kitchin takes over as captain of the club, with premiership colts coach Beau Wardman replacing Jarrad Schofield as the league coach. Despite a number of exits, the Lions will still be a force this season, adding former Sydney key defender Harry Marsh to an already talented back six.
East Perth enters the new campaign in uncharted territory after relinquishing the alignment with the West Coast Eagles.
West Perth’s Rohan Kerr has come across to add depth and experience to a young midfield, while West Coast rookies Tarir Bayok and Tony Olango have decided to stay in black and blue despite being delisted from the AFL Premiers.
Damon Greaves departs to Hawthorn after being drafted.
A number of exciting recruits have provided fresh optimism at Swan Districts ahead of the new season.
East Fremantle best and fairest winner George Hampson will add class into the forward line. Josh Simpson returns to the WAFL after stints with Fremantle and country football, while former Carlton listed-player Jesse Glass-McCasker also enters Steel Blue Oval.
The Swans Simply Energy Colts side narrowly missed out on a premiership last season, expect many of their young stars to push for league games early in the campaign.
The West Coast Eagles will make history in the WAFL by entering a team into the league competition in 2019.
The side will replace the previous alignment with East Perth, meaning the majority of the team will be made up of AFL listed players. Scarborough duo Joel Ashman and Liam Robilliard boost the list, with Ashman taking out the A-Grade best-and-fairest and best-afield honours in the grand final last season.
Former WAFL pairing Joel Kalajzic and Luke Salamone will wear the blue and gold, while Cervantes defender Dan Acres will also ply his trade in the side.
Last year’s runners-up will be keen to go one step further this season, adding Geoff Valentine as their senior coach in place of Bill Monaghan.
Club legend Jay Van Berlo has moved into retirement, while Luke Meadows has moved to VFL side Box Hill. Kody Manning is the other player to exit, moving to East Fremantle.
The club’s core senior group will be key to their success once again with the likes of Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk and Tyler Keitel performing strongly last season.