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Round 5 Optus WAFL PreviewFriday, August 14, 2020 - 2:11 PM - by Chris Pike

WE are already at Round 5 in the 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season and it presents a chance for South Fremantle and Claremont to further cement their top four positions while Perth and West Perth lock horns and we have another Grand Final rematch from 2016 and 2017.

With all teams to only play eight matches in the shortened WAFL season for 2020, some now already move past the halfway mark this Saturday afternoon in the Round 5 action.

There is already a two-game gap between the teams currently sitting inside the top four and those outside it with the games on Saturday presenting South Fremantle and Claremont a chance to extend their advantage.

One of the Falcons or Demons will also move further ahead of the chasing pack while only one of the Thunder or Lions have a chance to try and start making up on some lost ground.

Round 5 in the WAFL sees all four matches played on Saturday afternoon with the undefeated South Fremantle hosting the winless Swan Districts at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

South Fremantle sits clear on top of the WAFL table having won its opening four matches of the season with by far the best percentage in the league as well while Swan Districts is coming off the bye and yet to record a win in 2020.

Not helping Swans' cause is the Bulldogs' recent record against them. South Fremantle has won its past six matches against Swan Districts including 10 of the past 11.

Swans' last win against the Bulldogs came in Round 2, 2017 and their last win at Fremantle Community Bank Oval was Round 13, 2014.

South Fremantle has made two changes from the team that beat Subiaco so emphatically by 50 points last Saturday at Leederville Oval. Jacob Dragovich and former Perth defender John Levien come into the side for injured pair Zac Dent and Brock Higgins.

Swan Districts will come into the game with the same side that it took in against Subiaco a fortnight ago prior to the bye. 

It's then a Grand Final rematch from those deciders of 2016 and 2017 with Peel Thunder hosting Subiaco at Mandurah's David Grays Arena with both teams needing a win to stay in finals contention.

Peel and Subiaco have split the past six WAFL premierships with the Thunder winning in 2016 and 2017, and the Lions triumphing in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019 but both have plenty of work cut out to be in the mix in 2020.

The Thunder were always going to be the great underdogs of the 2020 season having lost access to Fremantle-listed players shortly before the action started. They have battled hard but ultimately lost to East Fremantle, Perth, Claremont and West Perth over the opening month.

Subiaco is coming off winning the last two premierships but already the Lions have lost twice in 2020 and recorded just the one victory which came against the winless Swan Districts.

Just one look at the personnel and you can see why with their team on Saturday again including Bailey Matera, Nick Martin, Andrew Doyle, Jack Beverley, Braden Fimmano, Ben Reid, Isaac Clinch, Jakob Atkinson, Kyle Stainsby, Lewis Upton, Jacob Miller and Wil Hickmott who all aren't premiership players.

Since the 2017 Grand Final, Subiaco has won the last four meetings with Peel by an average of 62 points.

Peel has made no change to the team that lost to Claremont last Saturday while Subiaco has brought in Isaac Clinch, Jacob Miller, Lewis Upton and Max Walters from the side that lost to South Fremantle by 50 points a week ago.

Kaidyn Fullgrabe, Mackenzie Lawrence, Angus Litherland and Nick Menegola are the four players to go out.

It's then a clash featuring with just the one defeat between them so far in 2020 with Perth hosting West Perth at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park.

The game of the round could very well be this one with the undefeated Demons hosting the second placed Falcons. A win and that team takes a giant leap towards booking in a finals spot in 2020 while the loser will drop back to the pack a little.

Perth is coming off a narrow win against East Fremantle and now back on home soil have their work cut out to overcome a horror recent record against West Perth.

Unbelievably the Falcons have won their last 17 matches against the Demons by an average of 42 points.

The record is even more stark at the Lathlain venue with West Perth having won its last 10 matches at the ground, and not having lost in the past 15 visits. There was a draw between the two teams at the ground in Round 9, 2008.

Perth's last win overall against West Perth was at Joondalup back in Round 18, 2011 while the Demons' last win at Lathlain over the Falcons was remarkably Round 9, 2004.

The Demons have made two changes from the side that beat East Fremantle last week with Regan Clarke and Samuel Stubbs into the line-up at the expense of Gus Langdon and the suspended Matthew Rogers.

West Perth has made two changes as well with Ben Delaporte and Lachlan Johns coming in for Ben King and Troy Yukich.

The last game of the round is then broadcast live on Channel 7 from 3pm with East Perth playing Claremont at Leederville Oval.

Claremont bounced back from its first loss of the season last week to beat Peel to improve to a 3-1 record on the season ahead of the clash with the Royals where a win will set them up nicely for another finals tilt.

East Perth, meanwhile, recorded a good win over East Fremantle two weeks ago but either side of that have suffered losses to Perth and West Perth to leave the Royals needing a win over the Tigers on Saturday to avoid losing touch with the top four.

East Perth has added Christian Ameduri, Nathan Eaton, Jonathan Freeman and Corey Watts to its squad from last week.

Claremont has made three changes from its team that beat Peel last Saturday with Ben Edwards, Charlie Malone and Rylie Morgan coming in for Isaac Barton, Alex Manuel and Tyron Smallwood.

The seventh-placed East Fremantle has the bye having won one of their opening four matches.


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Live scores, stats
Broadcast – 91.3 SportFM

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Broadcast – Channel 7