THERE are four matches this weekend in the WAFL in the final warm up to next week's State Game and all four of them should be fascinating including Claremont attempting to remain undefeated and Subiaco still searching for their first win of 2022.
Saturday's Round 4 WAFL matches present the final chance for players to push their case to take part in next Sunday's State Game against South Australia at Optus Stadium, and while the eight teams involved will also be chasing important victories.
All four Round 4 matches take place on Saturday afternoon at 2.10pm with Swan Districts taking on Claremont at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.
Swans are fresh off their first win of the season last week against Perth and are now looking to build some momentum while Claremont is the last remaining undefeated team this season on the back of a win last week against South Fremantle.
The Leederville Oval co-tenants Subiaco and East Perth also lock horns on Saturday for the first time in 2022, with both coming off losses. The Royals lost their first game of the season last week to East Fremantle while the reigning premier Lions are still yet to taste victory in 2022.
Peel Thunder and Perth also meet on Saturday afternoon at Mandurah's Lane Group Stadium with the Thunder having won two of three matches so far in the 2022 WAFL season, and the Demons one of three.
Then there's two more finalists from last year and two teams on 2-1 records from the first three rounds battling at Joondalup's Pentanet Stadium with West Perth hosting South Fremantle.
It's a big game for both teams and the difference between a 3-1 and 2-2 start will be significant, and just to add to the occasion both teams have lost a key player with Luke Meadows and Jake Florenca travelling with the West Coast Eagles.
The scheduled game between East Fremantle and West Coast at the WACA Ground has been moved to next Saturday.
SWAN DISTRICTS v CLAREMONT
With Swan Districts trying to build some momentum and Claremont out to remain undefeated, it shapes as a fascinating contest on Saturday at Steel Blue Oval.
Swan Districts broke through for its first win of the 2022 WAFL season last Saturday night finishing strongly against Perth, but taking on Claremont now on Saturday at Bassendean is going to be another significant test.
Claremont remains the only undefeated team left in the competition coming into Round 4 to open the 2022 season on the back of handing South Fremantle a first loss last Saturday afternoon at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
Last time the two teams met was in Round 22 last year when Claremont beat Swan Districts by 22 points at Revo Fitness Stadium.
Both teams were on their way to the finals last year with Swans losing in a brave effort to West Perth in the elimination final while the Tigers suffered a heartbreaking preliminary final defeat to South Fremantle.
That win for the Tigers meant they have beaten the Swans in the last nine meetings between the two teams by an average of 37.7 points.
The last win for Swan Districts against Claremont came on Round 7, 2017 to the tune of 17 points also at Steel Blue Oval.
From the Swan Districts team that finished strongly to beat Perth last Saturday night for its first win of the season, they have two strong inclusions to take on Claremont with Jarvis Pina and Aidan Clarke straight back in the line-up.
Young players Jak Watson and Ben Hewett are the ones to make way for Swan Districts.
Claremont has made two changes to the team that beat South Fremantle at the port last week with Tom Baldwin and Alex Manuel straight back into the side.
Marc Boyatzis and co-captain Declan Mountford go out for the Tigers.
EAST PERTH v SUBIACO
The Leederville Oval co-tenants East Perth and Subiaco meet on Saturday with both teams desperate for a win to take into the State Game break next week.
This will be the 47th meeting between the two teams since they started calling Leederville Oval home together back in 2004, and it's the first time in that time Subiaco have been so far into a season yet to taste victory.
Subiaco is coming off another premiership triumph in 2021 but so far in 2022 they are yet to win a game having suffered first up losses to South Fremantle, Subiaco and West Perth.
Those three are opponents were their fellow top four teams from 2021 so it's not quite time to panic for the Lions, but a loss on Saturday to make it a 0-4 start would give them quite the hole to attempt to extricate themselves out of.
East Perth, meanwhile, suffered its first loss of the season last Saturday in Northampton against East Fremantle, but even that was a game with plenty to be positive about with them being on top of the Sharks the last three quarters after conceding 10 goals in the first term.
Prior to that, East Perth opened the 2022 season with wins against Swan Districts and Perth, and if they are able to prevail on Saturday against Subiaco to go 3-1, hopes of returning to finals action this year would be considerably boosted.
Subiaco won both meetings over East Perth last year by 14 and 28 points respectively after the Royals scored a win by nine points back in 2020. Prior to that, the Lions had won 12 straight wins over the Royals by an average of 52.2 points.
The Lions have won 14 of the last 15 games the two teams have played and 38 of the 46 since they have shared Leederville Oval overall.
East Perth has made three changes to the team that lost in Northampton to East Fremantle last Saturday with Shayne Hille, Sebit Kuek and Harley Sparks all returning for the Royals.
Kade Dittmar, Taylor North and Angus Schumacher are the three players to go out for East Perth.
Subiaco has three significant inclusions as they chase that elusive first win of the season with Stefan Giro, Kyle Stainsby and Max Walters all back for the Lions.
Jaimon Alone, Connor Faraone and Jake Stergiou are the players going out for Subiaco.
PEEL THUNDER v PERTH
Peel Thunder have started the season with good momentum and will be looking to keep that going at home to Perth on Saturday.
Peel comes into Saturday's game at Mandurah's Lane Group Stadium having won two of their three matches so far in 2022 while Perth has lost two of its first three matches.
The Thunder opened the season beating East Fremantle at home before a loss to West Perth and then bouncing back to beat the West Coast Eagles by 55 points last week.
Perth, meanwhile, opened the season with a narrow win against the Eagles before a heavy loss to East Perth and then being overrun at home to Swan Districts last Saturday night.
That means coming into Saturday's clash in Mandurah the Thunder have the chance to head into the State Game break with an impressive 3-1 record but the Demons will be determined to not slip to 1-3.
Peel won both meetings between the teams in 2021 by 15 points at Lathlain Round 6 and then 43 points in Mandurah in Round 21.
Perth did win their lone clash in 2020 but the Thunder also won both clashes in 2019 to mean they come into Saturday's game having beaten the Demons in four of the last five match ups.
Peel has a couple of changes from the team that beat West Coast last Saturday with Mitch Crowden and Karl Worner both returning for this week's clash with Perth.
Jye Amiss and Liam Henry go out for Peel from that team that beat the Eagles.
Perth has made four changes as they chase a second win of the 2022 season with Ajang Ajang, Simon Hayward, Chapman Jones and Kasey Nicholas all into the line-up to take on Peel on Saturday.
Nyika John, Denzel More, Connor Sing and Josh Smith are the players going out for the Demons.
WEST PERTH v SOUTH FREMANTLE
West Perth and South Fremantle have played plenty of fascinating battles as contending teams in recent years and they are set for another on Saturday as they chase a third win from the opening four rounds.
Both West Perth and South Fremantle have won two of their first three games of the 2022 season coming into Saturday's contest at Joondalup's Pentanet Stadium.
South Fremantle suffered its first loss of the 2022 WAFL season last Saturday at home to Claremont and now the Bulldogs head to Pentanet Stadium on Saturday looking for a bounce back performance.
The Bulldogs started the season with wins against Subiaco and the West Coast Eagles before that loss to Claremont, and now with the State Game against South Australia next week, they will look to head into the break with a 3-1 record.
It might be a fair trek from Fremantle to Joondalup, but South Fremantle has enjoyed its time heading north dating back to 1994. The Bulldogs have won 20 of their 30 match ups at the venue even though the Falcons did score a six-point win in Round 20 last year.
Prior to that, South Fremantle had beaten West Perth on their home turf the previous five times, and nine of the past 11.
It's hard to know why exactly South Fremantle have such a good record at the ground, and the two longest serving coaches over the nearly 30 years John Dimmer and Todd Curley do have strong links to the Falcons, but whatever it is you can't argue with the record.
Both teams come into the clash with two wins from the opening three games this season as well having each being in the finals last year. West Perth lost in the first semi-final to Claremont and South Fremantle in the Grand Final to Subiaco.
West Perth opened up the 2022 season with a narrow loss to Claremont at home but have since defeated Peel Thunder and Subiaco impressively while South Fremantle won its first two matches over Subiaco and West Coast, but lost at home last Saturday to the Tigers.
So the lone loss of the season for both teams has been to Claremont this season while they've both scored a win against Subiaco.
West Perth has made two changes for Saturday's clash with South Fremantle with the return of ruckman Ben Delaporte and key defender Noah Pegoraro.
Going out of the Falcons team are Alec Johnson and Troy Yukich.
South Fremantle has made a string of changes with Tom Blechynden, Riley Colborne, Caleb Datson, Brandon Donaldson, Steely Green and Toby McQuilkin all coming into the team to take on West Perth at Joondalup.
Along with Jake Florenca going out to play as a top-up player for the West Coast Eagles, Josh Cuneo, Manfred Kelly, Zac Strom, Lachlan Taylor and Steve Verrier go out for South Fremantle.