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Round 8 Optus WAFL PreviewFriday, May 31, 2019 - 2:55 PM - by Chris Pike

IT is WA Round in the WAFL with the two traditional massive derbies on Monday but before that is a tantalising Perth-Swan Districts standalone clash on Saturday afternoon and then two intriguing match ups on Sunday.

The Round 8 WAFL action will be spread across the three days of the WA Day long weekend with all five matches saw to attract plenty of interest.

The round gets underway on Saturday afternoon with a standalone clash between two teams who are creating a reputation for playing out nail-biters with one another. Perth will be hosting Swan Districts at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park.

There will then be two matches taking place on Sunday starting at 11.30am when Claremont and the West Coast Eagles do battle at Optus Stadium. They will be playing in the build-up to the AFL clash later in the afternoon at the venue between West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.

The second match up on Sunday takes place in the afternoon and it's a rematch of the 2016 and 2017 Grand Finals with Peel Thunder hosting Subiaco at Mandurah's David Grays Arena.

That is all the precursor to the two traditional WA Day derbies that will take place on Monday.

East Fremantle and South Fremantle will do battle in the Foundation Derby on WA Day when they play one another at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park from 2.10pm. The game will be televised live on Channel 7 from 2pm.

It will then be time for the Perth Derby on WA Day at Leederville Oval with East Perth hosting West Perth from 2.15pm.


Saturday's clash between Swan Districts and Perth is the standalone contest in the WAFL in Round 8 and shapes as being a fascinating contest.

Perth started the season with a fairytale opening winning the first five matches with plenty of talk about the Demons qualifying for their first finals appearance since 1997.

But the Demons have since lost to West Perth and East Fremantle, two teams who were winless just three weeks ago, and now Saturday's game with Swans could tell the story about if they are genuine finals contenders or if that five-game winning streak was just a flash in the pan.

Meanwhile, Swans are coming off a solid 14-point win against the West Coast Eagles at Steel Blue Oval last Saturday with the Black Ducks responding to a disappointing defeat at the hands of East Fremantle the previous week.

Swan Districts has had a better season than its 2-5 record suggests but the difference between being 3-5 or 2-6 after Saturday's clash with Perth will be stark.

Perth and Swan Districts have already played out one thriller this season with the Demons beating Swans by nine points at Steel Blue Oval back in Round 3.

Swan Districts produced a big fightback to hit the front in the last quarter on that occasion but Perth responded with the last couple of goals in the middle of their winning streak to open the season.

Little has separated the two teams in some fascinating meetings in recent years and since Swan Districts won eight straight matches over Perth between 2013 and 2015, the Demons have won five and Swans five in the past 10 meetings.

There are plenty of changes at Perth coming into Saturday's clash coming off losing the past two matches to the Falcons and Sharks.

There is another potential debutant for Perth in the form of Austin Davis with Kasey Nicholas, Mitch Browne, Marshall Jones, Daniel Horan and Cody Ninyette all added to the squad.

At this stage, the three players who are confirmed out for Perth are Mitch Lague, Chris Bryan and Michael Bennell.

And at Swan Districts following the win against the Eagles, there are no outs at this stage with just Jiah Reidy, Jacob Coniglio and Nathan Ireland coming into the squad.

Following Saturday's lone Round 8 WAFL fixture, the round continues with the two games on Sunday beginning at Optus Stadium with Claremont playing West Coast in the lead up to the afternoon's AFL contest between the Eagles and the Western Bulldogs.

Claremont comes into the game following a loss to Subiaco and having won three of their past four matches following a three-game winning run to open the season.

So the Tigers turn up at Optus Stadium looking to regain some of that early season momentum against an Eagles team who has found the going tough as late with three consecutive losses to South Fremantle, East Perth and Swan Districts.

It is already the second time that Claremont and West Coast have met this season and back in Round 4 at Claremont Oval it was a thrilling two-point win for the Eagles. But that was their last win of the season to date.

Claremont's forward-line gets a significant boost with the return of premiership stars Ian Richardson and Tom Lee while they do lose the important and versatile Haydn Busher.

Bailey Bennett, Jordan Law, Callan England, Jess Laurie and Matt Palfrey are all added to the squad for Claremont as well.

As for the Eagles following their loss last Saturday to Swan Districts, they will still likely having at least three of West Coast's AFL emergencies Jackson Nelson, Brayden Ainsworth, Brendon Ah Chee and Josh Smith.

Eagles veteran and premiership player Chris Masten will also line-up for the first time with Matthew Allen, Joel Ashman, Daniel Acres, Chaz Flint, Sam Lamont and Sam Hobbs added to the squad.

Alex Coe is the only confirmed out at this stage.

The other Saturday contest takes place later in the afternoon in Mandurah with Peel hosting Subiaco.

The two teams did battle in the 2016 and 2017 Grand Finals with the Thunder winning both those contests, but the Lions have won their past three meetings since by an average of 68.7 points, including a 62-point back in Round 4 of this year at Leederville Oval.

Subiaco's 25-game winning streak since the 2017 Grand Final loss might have ended two weeks ago at the hands of South Fremantle, but they responded with a solid 24-point defeat of Claremont last week to remain on top of the ladder entering Round 8 at 6-1.

Peel, meanwhile, had a narrow five-point loss last week against West Perth on the back of a 19-point defeat at the hands of Claremont, but the Thunder to remain inside the top five at 3-4.

From the Peel team that lost to West Perth at Joondalup's HBF Arena last Saturday, Bailey Banfield, Hayden Ballantyne, Matt Bogensperger, Jordan Boullineau, Lachlan Cullen, Haydn Matthews, Matthew Piggott and James Sturrock have all been added to the squad.

The confirmed out at this stage is young small forward Ryan Bennell.

Kyle Halligan, Travis Cleggett, Daniel Leach, Jacob Miller and Ryan Vermeersch have all been added to the squad that beat Claremont last Saturday.

It's then time for the two traditional WA Day derbies on the public holiday Monday in what is annually the biggest occasion for any WAFL home and away season.

The Foundation Derby between the Fremantle clubs will take place at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park from 2.10pm and will be shown live on Channel 7, but the occasion deserves to be marked by a big crowd in attendance.

The contest will be the 58th time that East Fremantle and South Fremantle have met on the WA Day public holiday with the Bulldogs having won the past two Foundation Derbies and 32 of the 57 overall.

Since East Fremantle won on WA Day at Fremantle Community Bank Oval back in 2016, South Fremantle has asserted some remarkable dominance against the Sharks winning the past eight derby contests.

Those nine wins have come at an average of 79 points including a 145-point  hammering on WA Day in 2017 and a 113-point win in Round 21 year. Then in the Anzac Derby earlier in 2019, South Fremantle also won by 91 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

South Fremantle has also enjoyed its recent visits to East Fremantle Oval with the Bulldogs having won their past 10 matches at Shark Park, including the past three by 113, 94 and 145 points respectively.

So with South Fremantle having won the past eight derbies and its last 10 trips to East Fremantle, it's going to take something special from the Sharks to turn that all around on Monday.

South Fremantle comes into the game in tremendous form too having won five straight matches including handing Subiaco its first defeat in two years. The Bulldogs also won a thriller last Saturday against East Perth to improve to a 6-1 record on the season entering the Foundation Derby.

But East Fremantle deserves to feel better about its prospects too having now won its past two matches against Swan Districts and Perth following a 15-game losing run stretching back to the back half of 2018.

From the East Fremantle team that beat Perth last Saturday, Alex Bray, Matthew Burton, Max Murphy and Jack Perham have all been added to the extended squad.

South Fremantle lost reigning fairest and best winner Marlion Pickett early in last Saturday's eventual win over East Perth and now he has departed for at least the rest of the season having been selected by Richmond in the AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

Chris Ah Siu is also out of the South Fremantle line-up for the Foundation Derby while Blayne Wilson returns and Tom Blechynden, Daniel Cabassi, Zac De San Miguel, Blair Della Franca and Jonathon Frampton all included into the extended squad.

The round then concludes with the Perth WA Day Derby between East Perth and West Perth at Leederville Oval.

Monday will mark the 31st meeting on the WA Day/Foundation Day public holiday between the Royals and Falcons. It has been a remarkably competitive, ferocious and fierce rivalry over that time and tight with both teams having won 15 of the derbies apiece so far.

It has been an annual event since 1997 and in those 21 clashes in succession, West Perth has won 10 and East Perth 11. 

Overall, West Perth ahs won its past two matches against East Perth going back to the last two meetings of 2018 but prior to that, East Perth had won three straight over the Falcons.

East Perth comes into the game coming off a heartbreaking loss to South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval where they lost on the last kick of the day. Prior to that the Royals beat the West Coast Eagles by 34 points and they now come into Monday's derby with a 2-5 record.

West Perth started the season under new coach Geoff Valentine losing five straight matches. But the Falcons have struck form since winning three straight against East Fremantle, Perth and Peel Thunder.

From the East Perth team that lost to South Fremantle by one-point last week, Kyle Anderson, Tony Olango, Christian Ameduri and Ben McGuire have all been added to the squad with no outs at this stage.

As for West Perth, the Falcons also haven’t named anyone out yet from the team that beat Peel Thunder with Slade Hawkins, Tyson Moulton and Connor West added to the squad.


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