Second-placed Swan Districts hosts likely minor premier Claremont at Steel Blue Oval with fourth-placed East Perth also taking on third-placed East Fremantle at Leederville's Medibank Stadium.
The other two matches see West Perth play South Fremantle at Arena Joondalup and Peel Thunder face Subiaco at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium. All four matches are at 2.10pm on Saturday afternoon with Perth having the bye.
SWAN DISTRICTS (13-5, 2nd) v CLAREMONT (14-4, 1st) – STEEL BLUE OVAL, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Swan Districts faces the enviable task of trying to take on an incredibly on fire Claremont this Saturday at Claremont Oval, but a win would well and truly set up the black-and-whites assault on the 2012 premiership.
Swan Districts and Claremont have built up quite a rivalry in recent seasons as the last two WAFL premiers.
Back in 2010, there was some cracking battles including a 33-point Swan Districts win, a draw, massive Claremont wins in Round 21 and the second semi-final and then the incredible grand final that Swans won by a point.
Claremont won all three games last season on its way to the premiership, but in 2012 Swans won the opening game at Claremont Oval by a goal before the Tigers made the most of an undermanned Swan Districts in Round 16 to win by 97 points.
Claremont's form coming into Saturday's game is simply incredible though as they appear almost certain of claiming a third successive minor premiership.
With two Foxtel Cup wins thrown in amongst it, Claremont's last five WAFL wins have been amazing with a 97-point win over Swans, 119-point thrashing of West Perth, 92-point hammering of East Fremantle, 81-point victory over Peel and then last week's 149-point demolition of Perth.
That is daunting for any side to look at before taking them on, but Swan Districts can go a long way to securing a top-two position with a win on Saturday and even maintain a slight hope of finishing as minor premiers.
However, Swans have an inferior percentage to third-placed East Fremantle so a loss on Saturday and win by the Sharks will see them swap spots leaving Swan Districts unlikely to climb back into second and indeed a chance to still end up finishing in fourth spot.
To be any chance of a win, Swan Districts will need to start quickly. Claremont has been totally dominant in first halves in 2012 outscoring its opponents by 85 goals this season compared to just 51 in second halves.
On the other hand, Swans have only managed to break even in first halves throughout this season while in second halves have outscored their opposition by 43 goals.
It's a massive task for Swan Districts to knock off Claremont on Saturday. Coach Greg Harding has not named any outs from last Friday night's team that beat South Fremantle yet, but premiership star Wayde Twomey does return after having a tight hamstring last week.
Simon Parry and Brent Latch are also pushing to come into the side, but Ryan Davis, Michael Walters, Murray Newman and Jarrhan Jacky remain out.
Pressure is incredibly high for spots in Claremont's team leading into the finals and it's far from an ideal time for prolific ball winner Jake Murphy to go out of the side injured, but that is the case following last week's 149-point win over Perth.
There are some stars returning with Sandover Medallist Luke Blackwell, veteran Paul Medhurst and premiership defenders Lewis Stevenson and Brandon Franz all back to take on Swans.
Franz has played just three league games this season, but could very well come in on Saturday to take on the huge task of trying to keep Ash Hansen quiet.
EAST PERTH (11-1-6, 4th) v EAST FREMANTLE (12-6, 3rd) – MEDIBANK STADIUM, SATURDAY 2.10PM
East Perth and East Fremantle booked in finals spots with wins last weekend, but now a victory when they clash this Saturday will keep the winner a chance of finishing in second spot and leave the loser likely to end up finishing fourth with an away first semi-final to deal with.
East Fremantle bounced back from a surprise derby loss to South Fremantle last week with a 103-point hammering of West Perth while East Perth also responded to a loss to Perth with a comfortable 40-point victory over Subiaco.
The Sharks now sit in third spot to be a game behind second-placed Swan Districts but with a better percentage so a win on Saturday and Swans' loss will see them move into second with a chance to secure that second position with a final round win over Peel.
East Perth currently sits in fourth spot but will move into third with a win on Saturday and then could still finish second with another win over West Perth next week and if Swan Districts lose to Perth and Claremont in its last two games.
East Fremantle will also have to overcome its troubles at Leederville's Medibank Stadium since East Perth and Subiaco took over the venue as co-tenants.
There's no doubt the Sharks also would like to avoid having to play a first semi-final or ultimately preliminary final at the ground having won just four of 12 games against East Perth, and only one of 13 against Subiaco.
Having won five of 25 at Leederville hardly inspires confidence, but the Sharks will be out to turn that around this Saturday.
The first two meetings this season between the clubs were at East Fremantle Oval with East Perth winning in Round 6 by four points and then East Fremantle bounced back to win by 64 points in Round 17.
East Perth's hopes of what would be a crucial victory aren’t helped at selection. Fremantle's Zac Clarke and Dylan Roberton, and important forwards Michael Swan and Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls are all named out of the team that beat Subiaco by 40 points last Saturday.
The only good news out of that is that Clarke is still likely to play unless he gets a surprise call up to play for Fremantle against North Melbourne.
There will be some big jobs for those coming into the Royals side with Tim Martin to play his first game since Round 15 if Clarke doesn’t end up taking his place in the side.
Joe Boys could also come in to play his second game, Tyson Rudd his second, Shaquille McKenzie his first of the season and Rob Macaulay his first of 2012 as well. Rowan Brookes and Brett Dobson are pressing for a return also.
As expected, Josh Kennedy goes straight up into the West Coast team after one game back with East Fremantle in last Sunday's 103-point win over West Perth. Fremantle's Cameron Sutcliffe could also go out of the Sharks' team.
There are some more than handy inclusions, though, with Bradd Dalziell and Jacob Brennan a chance to come back from the Eagles and experienced campaigners Richard Hadley and Leith Teakle a chance to return. Russell Gabriel and Corey Yeo could also take their place for the Sharks.
WEST PERTH (8-1-9, 5th) v SOUTH FREMANTLE (6-13, 7th) – ARENA JOONDALUP, SATURDAY 2.10PM
West Perth and South Fremantle might be out of finals contention for 2012, but both sides have plenty of reasons to win on Saturday at Arena Joondalup.
The Falcons and Bulldogs both played finals in 2011, but haven’t been able to back that up this year and without doubt will be disappointed to be out of contention.
However, West Perth will be desperate to bounce back from a 103-point loss to East Fremantle last Sunday and to also win for the 200th game milestone of captain Jason Salecic.
The game will be South Fremantle's last in 2012 with the Bulldogs having the bye in Round 24. While just recording six wins for the season, three of those wins for South Fremantle has come in the last month and one of them was against the team that beat West Perth last Sunday.
There have been encouraging signs with the youth at South Fremantle that coach Paul Hasleby has been forced to play and now they would love to end the season with a win. Seven wins in a rebuilding year would be a reasonable result for the Bulldogs.
Darcy Barden has had an encouraging first season with West Perth having kicked 16 goals and done well in a variety of roles, but he was terribly quiet last Sunday against East Fremantle and has paid the price by going out of the side this week.
On the other hand, Andrew Strijk was outstanding against the Sharks and joins Barden out of the team. Veterans Dion Fleay and Michael Pettigrew don't return, though, with Joel Rice, Joseph Morrow and Jay Tindall pushing to come back, and James Batterham and Drew Rhode looking to debut.
South Fremantle will play its last game for the season after an encouraging finish to 2012 and an upset win over the Falcons would be the ideal way to end.
There are no outs from last week's team that lost to Swan Districts at this stage with Lewis Harvey, Kingsley Smith and Jason Maskos pressing to come in.
PEEL THUNDER (4-14, 9th) v SUBIACO (7-11, 6th) – BENDIGO BANK STADIUM, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Peel Thunder and Subiaco don't have finals to play for either but both will be equally determined to come away from Bendigo Bank Stadium with a victory.
Peel sits on the bottom of the ladder with just four victories, but remarkably none of those have come at home in Mandurah and without question the Thunder will be looking at this Saturday's as a real chance to change that.
Peel did beat Subiaco well by 38 points at Medibank Stadium back in Round 17 so the Thunder will be looking to repeat that performance, while the Lions will be desperate to bounce back from.
Since that win, Peel has lost to Perth by 34 points, West Perth by 100, Swan Districts by 99 and Claremont by 81 before the bye last week.
Subiaco has now lost four of its last five games only broken up by a two-point win over West Perth at Arena Joondalup in Round 21.
Peel loses some experience from the team that lost to Claremont by 81 points a fortnight ago. James Flaherty and Brendan Hancock go out of the line-up with Devin McFarlane, Rhett Mason, Liam McKenna, Ryan Herring and Jay Collard pushing to come into the side.
Prolific ball-winning midfielder Jason Bristow and last week's debutant Michael Genovese go out of Subiaco's team after last Saturday's loss to East Perth.
Now for the trip to Mandurah, Matthew Cullen, Abe Davey, Alliston 'Buddy' Pickett and Dominic Sheed could all return with Dylan Clarke looking to make his debut as coach Chris Waterman continues to look to the youth at the Lions.
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