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Round 6 Optus WAFL PreviewFriday, May 7, 2021 - 3:57 PM - by Chris Pike

ROUND 6 in the 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season is looking to be enthralling with five match ups that could all go either way on top of the return of a premiership captain from retirement and a 250-game milestone of a durable warrior.

All five match ups in Round 6 of the WAFL season will take place in the traditional 2.10pm time slot on Saturday afternoon and all 10 teams will be looking for a big performance ahead of the general bye next week for the WAFL State Team's clash with South Australia in Adelaide.

There is so much to look out for in the five matches including Subiaco attempting to end Claremont's winning run, Perth and Peel Thunder fighting over a top five spot, and West Perth trying to get its season revived while Swan Districts look to keep their hot start going.

There's also South Fremantle looking to avoid being the first team to lose to East Perth this season while East Fremantle and the West Coast Eagles look to get back on the winner's list as well.

With all matches in the traditional Saturday afternoon time slow, Round 6 sees Subiaco host Claremont at Leederville Oval along with Perth taking on Peel Thunder at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park.

West Perth returns to Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval as well to host Swan Districts while South Fremantle faces East Perth at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, and East Fremantle plays the West Coast Eagles at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park.

While all games have their own storylines to make them intriguing, there's no doubt a lot of the focus is going to be on Joondalup with West Perth taking on Swan Districts with it being a significant day for an all-time great of either club.

First up, dual West Perth premiership star and 2013 captain Jason Salecic will make his return to league football having been retired ever since being the skipper of the Falcons flag triumph back in 2013.

Up until that point, he had put together one of the best careers in the modern history of the West Perth Football Club playing in the premierships of 2003 and 2013 on top of winning a Breckler Medal and playing for WA on seven occasions in his 213-game WAFL career at the Falcons.

His last act would prove to be holding the premiership cup aloft alongside Bill Monaghan after West Perth's stunning 49-point win against a West Coast-boosted East Perth team in the 2013 Grand Final.

At the time he was content with what he'd achieved and was ready to ride off into the sunset for the next phase of his life with his young family, but he has been back involved coaching at West Perth in recent years and the pull to play was still there.

So Salecic has decided to give it one more crack before it's too late and the 36-year-old has now battled hard through the pre-season and played well enough in the reserves to earn the opportunity for a 214th league appearance, and first since the 2013 Grand Final.

He isn’t the only player who will be having a memorable day on Saturday with Swan Districts' dual fairest and best winner Tony Notte to become just the sixth player in the history of his club to reach the 250-game milestone.

It has been quite the remarkable journey for Notte who came through the ranks of the club in that famous colts team to be drafted to the West Coast Eagles where he'd go on to play two AFL games.

But he has always remained remarkably committed and loyal to Swan Districts, and now is richly deserving of becoming just the sixth player in club's history to reach 250 games.

His longevity, consistency and durability has been remarkable so much so that Saturday's game will mark Notte's 174th consecutive match for Swans.

He was desperately unlucky to lose his spot for the preliminary final and Grand Final of 2010, and then missed five games in 2011, but he has played all 174 games possible for Swans ever since.

Along the way, his flexibility to play at either end of the ground or even in the ruck, and his overhead marking have been a standout as he has racked up a pair of Swan Medals and represented Western Australia on six occasions.

It's also a big game for both West Perth and Swan Districts despite the significant occasions on top of it for both Salecic and Notte.

While Swans come into the game with a 3-1 record and can further consolidate second spot with the win, the Falcons sit near the foot of the table with a 1-3 record so they will be throwing everything at the win on their home turf.

As Swan Districts looks to make it four straight wins for the first time since the start of the 2017 season, there is just the one confirmed change with Matt Riggio going out for Swans injured.

Matthew Germs, Denzel More, Jacob Sideris, Kade Wallrodt and Warrick Wilson are all the players vying for a spot in the team.

Meanwhile as West Perth chase their second win of the season, they have made plenty of changes with Tristan Hobley, Kellen Johnson, Matthew Lloyd, Nathan Murray, Zak Patterson, Mitch Peirce, Troy Yukich and Jason Salecic all added to their extended squad.

At this stage, Ben Delaporte, Tyler Keitel, Trent Manzone and Kris Shannon are the players all out of the Falcons' line-up from the team that lost to Claremont last Saturday.

As for the other Round 6 matches, Subiaco is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season last week to South Fremantle by taking on the undefeated Claremont at Leederville Oval.

The Lions went down to the Bulldogs by 18 points last Saturday while losing Max Walters and Rowen Powell before half-time hurting their chances.

Both those players go out of the Subiaco team along with Bernie Naylor Medallist Ben Sokol, premiership defender Hayden Kennedy and youngsters Isaac Clinch and Liam Hickmott.

Jack Beverley, Ryan Borchet, Koby Fullgrabe, Wil Hickmott, Angus Litherland and Lewis Upton all come in for the Lions.

Claremont kept their undefeated season going last week with a big win over West Perth and from that team, Anton Hamp and Rylie Morgan come into the team to take on Subiaco while Max Minear and Jake Patmore go out.

Perth and Peel Thunder are both coming off wins as they prepare to do battle at Lathlain on Saturday afternoon with a spot in the top five on the line.

Peel's two wins this season have seen them record the club's highest-ever score on both occasions including a 79-point win against the West Coast Eagles last Sunday.

From that side there are a host of changes, though, with Ryan Bennell, Lachlan Cullen, Jackson Knight, Ben Middleton, Jack Sears, James Sturrock and Brandon Walker all into the team.

Bailey Banfield, Connor Blakely, Stefan Giro, Liam Henry, Lloyd Meek, Sam Sturt and Joel Western all go out.

Perth got off to a flying start to set up the win over East Fremantle last week, and from that team Mitch Browne, Austin Davis, Chris Masten and Jayden Quill come in at the expense of Dalton Nichols, Brady Grey, Connor McPartland, Jack Richardson and Michael Sinclair.

Despite the fact that South Fremantle is coming into the game as the reigning premiers and with a 3-1 record so far in defence of that flag and that they are coming up against an East Perth team that 0-4, it's a Royals team the Bulldogs can't afford to take lightly.

The Royals put in a competitive effort back in Round 1 against Subiaco before a solid showing also in their last two games against East Fremantle and Swan Districts, so while winless so far this season it's not as though they have been non-competitive.

South Fremantle has enjoyed life against East Perth in recent times, though, with the Bulldogs having won the last six meetings between the two clubs.

The last win for the Royals against the Bulldogs was by a solitary point when they are boosted by West Coast-listed players back in Round 10, 2017. That game was also at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Even going back further, South Fremantle has had a dominant 15 years against East Perth with the Bulldogs having won 26 of the last 34 games between the two clubs since the start of 2005.

That included a 14-game winning streak for South Fremantle against East Perth from Round 1, 2005 up until Round 9, 2012 when the Royals finally broke through.

Coming off last Saturday's win against Subiaco, big man Hamish Free returns to the South Fremantle line-up to play his second league game while Caleb Datson makes way.

That means that key veterans Dylan Main and Nick Suban will remain on the sidelines for at least another week.

East Perth is coming off a 13-point loss to Swan Districts, and from that team Adam Boules, Jack Cooley, Jack Hindle, Shaquille McKenzie and Angus Schumacher have all been added to the squad.

Kye Willcocks is the only player to go out at this stage for the Royals.
Then there is East Fremantle taking on the West Coast Eagles also as part of Round 6.

The Sharks are back on home soil and looking to bounce back from a loss to Perth last Saturday. Jakob Ah Chee will make his debut with Matthew Burton, Luke English and Josh Schoenfeld into the team.

Milan Murdock, Dillon O'Reilly, Jordan Snadden and Michael Tassone go out for the Sharks.

The Eagles are still searching for their first WAFL win of the season with Jak Cary, Ben Fitzgerald, Chris Paunich, Ty Sears, Zane Trew and Jack Wilson the inclusions.

Brendon Ah Chee, Seb Bentley, Luke Edwards, Luke Foley, Xavier O'Neill and Bailey Williams go out for West Coast.


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