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Round 4 Optus WAFL PreviewFriday, August 7, 2020 - 2:38 PM - by Chris Pike

WINS are now to become increasingly valuable just four rounds into the 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season as the race for a top four finish in a nine-round season heats up this Saturday afternoon.

Round 4 in the 2020 WAFL season sees all four matches once again take place on Saturday afternoon and it includes a massive Perth Derby between West Perth and East Perth at Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval.

Then at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park, there's sure to be plenty of feeling as former Demon Cody Leggett lines up for East Fremantle against Perth for the first time in a match of great significance for both clubs.

Claremont will then look to bounce back from its first loss of the season when hosting the winless Peel Thunder at Revo Fitness Stadium.

The final match of the round is broadcast live on Channel 7 from 3pm and it just happens to be the Grand Final rematch from 2019 with the premiers of the past two years, Subiaco, playing host to the undefeated and top-of-the-table South Fremantle.

The winless Swan Districts has the bye in Round 4 of the 2020 WAFL season.


Round 4 in the WAFL gets underway on Saturday at Joondalup with what should be a cracking Perth Derby between West Perth and East Perth.

The Falcons come into the game having started the season strongly with wins against Swan Districts and Peel with only a narrow defeat to South Fremantle. Another win on Saturday and they would improve to 3-1 and be a long way to being on track for a finals berth with four games to go.

East Perth was tremendous last week beating East Fremantle by 42 points on the back of a first up loss to Perth as well so for the Royals to go to 2-1 with a win on Saturday would signal a terrific opening too.

West Perth has been outstanding defensively across the first three conceding only 39.7 points a game including only one goal in the three opening quarters while kicking 11 themselves.

The start will be fascinating with West Perth having outscored its opponents by 57 points in the three first quarters. East Perth has been outscored by 31 points in their two.

The Falcons have made two changes from the team that beat Peel last Saturday by 92 points with Tom O'Donnell and Troy Yukich into the team at the expense of Sam Rotham and Tom Medhat.

East Perth has made two changes as well with Callum Hart and Jacob Msando the inclusions with Jamie Rudrum and Corey Watts going out.

It will then be another fascinating match up with East Fremantle hosting Perth for any number of reasons.

First and foremost, at 1-2 the Sharks just simply need to win the game and bounce back from last week's loss to East Perth to avoid losing touch with the top four.

Perth, meanwhile, is fresh coming off the bye and winning its opening two matches of the season against Peel and East Perth. Another win on Saturday and the Demons take a giant step towards ending their finals drought that dates back to 1997.

Then there's the natural animosity and tension between the two playing groups with Cody Leggett playing for East Fremantle for the first time after quite the emotional and heated struggle for him to leave the Demons over the off-season.

So there's plenty to keep your eyes out for at Shark Park on Saturday with East Fremantle making two changes with Anthony Montauban and Durak Tucker in for injured pair Nick Kommer and Cameron Davidson.

There's no need for changes at Perth with the group fresh and ready to fire off the bye and a last up win against East Perth. But the Demons will need to buck their recent history at the East Fremantle venue having not won there since Round 7, 2009.

Remarkably East Fremantle has won its past 14 home matches since against Perth.

Claremont returns home to host Peel Thunder also on Saturday with the Tigers attempting to rebound from their first loss of 2020 while the Thunder are just looking for their first four points.

Claremont started the season strongly beating Subiaco and Swan Districts before a narrow defeat to South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval last Saturday.

Peel, meanwhile, has found the going tough with losses so far to East Fremantle, Perth and West Perth with goals especially hard to come by. Across the three games, the Thunder have kicked just 20 goals while conceding 43.

The Thunder do have the added motivation of another milestone on Saturday, though, with dual premiership hard man Brayden Lawler bringing up his 100th WAFL game having proven himself equally effective at either end of the ground.

Claremont has made no change from the team that lost to South Fremantle last week while Peel has brought in Raymond Giudici, Kudzi Motsii and Oliver Walton with Corey Morris, Robert Schindler-Taylor and Isiah Winder going out.

The last game of the round then takes place at Leederville Oval with the premiers of the past two years Subiaco hosting the league-leading and undefeated South Fremantle.

The two teams last met in the 2019 Grand Final with Subiaco hammering South Fremantle by 96 points, and given the fact the Lions have now played in six straight Grand Finals, won five straight minor premierships and won four of the last six premierships means they have had the wood over the Bulldogs in recent times.

Subiaco won the last three meetings between the two teams in 2019 and prior that had won five straight, and then before that had been on another run of winning six in-a-row so the Lions have beaten the Bulldogs in 14 of the past 16 clashes between the two outfits.

Subiaco started the new season with a surprise loss to Claremont before then beating Swan Districts by 39 points last week.

But this is a distinctly new-looking Lions line-up with Kaidyn Fullgrabe, Braden Fimmano, Jack Beverley, Nick Martin, Bailey Matera, Andrew Doyle, Jakob Atkinson, Lachlan Henderson, Liam Hickmott, Wil Hickmott, Nick Menegola and Ben Reid in the squad and not premiership players.

South Fremantle, meanwhile, has opened the season with a 95-point thumping of East Fremantle and then had to do it tough to beat West Perth and Claremont by eight points each while only kicking a combined 12 goals to do so.

So the Bulldogs will certainly look to get back to some more attacking football against Subiaco on Saturday and there's no question a victory to improve to 4-0 would see them right in the box seat already for a finals appearance again in 2020.

Thomas Edwards-Baldwin, Lachlan Henderson, Liam Hickmott, Nick Menegola and Ben Reid have all been added to Subiaco's squad while Harry Marsh is out injured.

South Fremantle has made three changes to its team that defeated Claremont at home last Saturday with Kye Barker named to make his debut while Tom Blechynden and Brandon Donaldson also return.

Chris Luff goes out injured while Kyle Hamersley and Travis Abbott make way in the side.


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