ROUND 17 of the 2012 WAFL season sees East Perth and East Fremantle have the opportunity to take over top spot on the ladder when they do battle while West Perth and Subiaco will just be trying to win to retain some touch with whoever loses.
There are three WAFL games in Round 17 and all will be played on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle takes on East Perth at East Fremantle Oval, South Fremantle hosts West Perth at Fremantle Oval and Subiaco plays Peel Thunder at Leederville's Medibank Stadium.
Swan Districts and Perth has the bye while Claremont takes on VFL league-leader Port Melbourne in a Foxtel Cup semi-final at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.
EAST FREMANTLE (9-4, 4th) v EAST PERTH (9-1-4, 3rd) – EAST FREMANTLE OVAL, SATURDAY 2.10PM
East Fremantle and East Perth are the only teams in the top-four playing this weekend and as a result have the chance to jump up the ladder with a victory on Saturday at East Fremantle Oval.
East Perth is currently just two points behind top-two teams Claremont and Swan Districts so a victory over the Sharks for the Royals on Saturday will see them take over top spot on the ladder.
It has been a rocky month for the Royals. Back in Round 14, they played Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval with top spot on the line but lost by 27 points and then also went down to Subiaco the next week to fall to fourth position on the ladder.
The Royals bounced back, though, with a 29-point win last week over Peel Thunder and now another victory over East Fremantle on Saturday will see them back on top of the ladder with five games of their 2012 campaign to go.
East Fremantle won't quite be able to leapfrog Claremont into top spot with a win over East Perth due to percentage, but could sit in second position in what is the start of a three-week stretch to determine the Sharks' flag potential.
Following the bye last week, East Fremantle now plays East Perth, Swan Districts and Claremont over the next three weeks before a bye in Round 20. By that stage, the Sharks could either be clear on top of the ladder with three wins or stuck fighting for a finals berth.
The two teams met earlier this season back in Round 6 also at East Fremantle Oval with the Royals winning a thriller by just four points.
East Fremantle had the week off following a hard fought win over Perth a fortnight ago, but do lose West Coast's Koby Stevens and Fremantle's Cameron Sutcliffe from that side though.
Depth is a strong suit of East Fremantle this season, though, and that is evidenced by the players pushing for inclusion to take on the Royals including 161-game veteran Leith Teakle, West Coast midfielder Bradd Dalziell, Corey Yeo, Tyler Chalwell and Aiden Tropiano.
East Perth bounced back from two tough losses to beat Peel last Saturday and from that team Fremantle big man Zac Clarke and West Coast veteran Adam Selwood have been named as outs at this stage.
The Royals have some handy replacements, though, and Joe Boys looks set to make his league debut to help out Paul Johnson in the ruck in the absence of Clarke and Tim Martin.
Boys has been in outstanding form in the reserves of late and over the last four games the 23-year-old big man has averaged almost 23 possessions, seven marks and 24 hit outs a game.
Also pushing for selection with East Perth is Boston Williamson, Don Stirling, Tyson Rudd and Stephen Mansfield.
SOUTH FREMANTLE (3-11, 8th) v WEST PERTH (6-1-6, 5th) - FREMANTLE OVAL, SATURDAY 2.10PM
South Fremantle is certainly undergoing a rebuilding year now losing more and more experience all the time, but the Bulldogs will be out to ruin West Perth's finals hopes and move clear of bottom spot when they host the Falcons on Saturday at Fremantle Oval.
Josh Head and Ryan Murphy have retired in recent weeks and with Toby McGrath still out suspended, South Fremantle is an exceptionally youthful team and it has now lost seven straight games to only be percentage off bottom spot on the ladder.
West Perth has had a week off to reflect on a first 13 games that saw them win six, lose six and draw one with East Perth. While the Falcons sit two and-a-half games out of fourth spot at the moment, if they keep winning they remain a chance to sneak in for a finals berth.
While there is hope then the Falcons will certainly still be shooting for that finals berth and they were playing good football before the bye with three wins from their last four games.
South Fremantle has only won three games this season and none since Round 8, but that 26-point victory was at Fremantle Oval and was also against West Perth.
South Fremantle had a fortnight to try and regroup after a tough run of seven losses that not only saw the Bulldogs slip into wooden spoon contention, but lose a host of experienced premiership players either through injury, suspension or retirement along the way.
Former Docker Casey Sibosado injured his ankle in his first league game for South Fremantle back in Round 13, but played in the reserves two weeks ago against Perth and is now back for his second league appearance. Joel Palumbo and Adam Carter are also pushing for selection.
West Perth remained in the top-four race with a win over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval and now needs to keep winning to ensure its season remains alive.
Helping that cause is the return of Fremantle's Josh Mellington, but losing fellow Docker Kepler Bradley, former Port Adelaide 103-gamer Michael Pettigrew and 147-game veteran Anthony Tsalikis won't help the Falcons' cause.
Also pushing for selection to face South Fremantle is Josh Donaldson, Matt Fowler, Kody Manning, Laine Rasmussen and Nick Rodda.
SUBIACO (6-7, 6th) v PEEL THUNDER (3-10, 9th) v – MEDIBANK STADIUM, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Subiaco looks to keep its finals hopes alive hosting Peel Thunder on Saturday at Medibank Stadium but the Thunder are also a chance of getting off the bottom of the ladder with a victory as well.
The Lions remain in the race for the finals thanks to a 37-point win over East Perth a fortnight ago and now a win over Peel on Saturday will ensure they remain a chance to snatch a spot over the last six games of their 2012 campaign.
Peel might be sitting on the bottom of the ladder at present, but has shown some good form at times this year.
That has included wins on the road to top-two teams Claremont and Swan Districts, and then in its last two matches an emphatic win at Fremantle Oval against South Fremantle and then a solid performance against East Perth last week.
Considering all three of their wins have come away this season, travelling to Leederville to try and upset Subiaco will hold no fears for the Thunder.
They have the added knowledge that a win could see them climb above South Fremantle on the ladder and considering they have a game in hand on the Bulldogs as well, they could well stay out of the wooden spoon hunt as a result.
Even though Subiaco loses Fremantle veteran Antoni Grover who has been in outstanding form in the Lions' defence, there are some inclusions led by vice-captain Ben Randall who can help cover the loss of Randall in that back-line.
Alliston 'Buddy' Pickett also ensured he would be considered to add to his X league games with an eight-goal performance in the reserves a fortnight ago against East Perth while Michael Genovese and Justin Joyce are also a chance to come into the Lions side to take on the Thunder.
Peel lost to East Perth at the same ground last week, but put in a competitive performance and from that team, Lee Spurr, Brennan Gillam and Mitch Keddell go out. Pushing to come back in are David Johnston, Liam Hansen, Bryce Thornton and Ryan Mulgrave.