TOP spot in the WAFL goes on the line in Round 8 with a tantalising Saturday match up between West Perth and East Fremantle, but that's only one of five fascinating battles to come this weekend.
Coming off the high of the WA Day long weekend which ended with over 10,000 fans turning out to watch the two traditional derbies on Monday, Round 8 of the WAFL season is split over Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
The early clash on Saturday begins at 11.10am with Claremont at home to the West Coast Eagles at Revo Fitness Stadium.
The Tigers will be looking to build on their win over Perth last week and remain a chance to even finish the round in top spot depending on what happens between the Sharks and Falcons.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are still chasing that elusive first win of 2022 but they are starting to get more players available and are becoming more competitive.
The other three matches on Saturday afternoon all bounce down at 2.10pm highlighted by the top of the table clash at the WACA Ground between East Fremantle and West Perth.
Both teams are coming off playing on WA Day with the Falcons now in first place at 6-1 while the Sharks are second at 5-2.
Unless Claremont does something remarkable to leapfrog East Fremantle's percentage, the winner of the second clash this season at the WACA will finish Round 8 of the 2022 season on top of the WAFL ladder.
Also on Saturday afternoon, Swan Districts will be playing host to Peel Thunder at Steel Blue Oval with a spot in the top five up for grabs. The Thunder currently sit fourth and Swans fifth with both holding 4-3 records and only separated by percentage.
Then as well on Saturday afternoon at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park will see two teams desperate for a win with Perth playing host to Subiaco.
Both teams enter the clash sitting on 2-5 records and another loss on Saturday will see them begin to lose touch with the top five eight rounds into the 2022 season.
The last game of the round then takes place on Sunday afternoon at Leederville Oval with East Perth hosting South Fremantle.
The Royals are looking to stay in touch with the top five to snap a two-game losing run including against West Perth on WA Day while the Bulldogs improved to fourth spot at 4-3 win their 13th consecutive derby win on Monday.
CLAREMONT v WEST COAST EAGLES
Claremont is back home at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday looking to return to the WAFL's top two when they host the winless West Coast Eagles.
The Tigers bounced back from a loss to Peel with a strong performance to beat Perth last Saturday ahead of taking on the Eagles at Tigerland in the early starting clash of Round 8 in the WAFL.
Claremont comes into the game having won five of seven matches of the season and a win will likely see them sit in second position by the end of Round 8.
West Coast might not have won a game yet in 2022 and are on an 11-game losing streak dating back to last year, but they have been more competitive in recent weeks and will put their strongest side on the park of the year on Saturday.
This will be the sixth ever meeting between the two teams and the fifth of the six to take place at Claremont's Revo Fitness Stadium.
West Coast did win the first ever encounter back in 2019 in a four-point thriller but Claremont has won the last four battles including four weeks later from that first clash with a 31-point win at Optus Stadium.
The two teams then met in the first semi-final of 2019 and it was Claremont winning by six points on the way to a preliminary final while the Tigers won both encounters of 2021 by 27 and 96 points respectively.
Claremont will be looking to continue to build some momentum on Saturday with Anthony Davis, Zac Mainwaring and Oliver Sheldrick back into the line-up to take on the Eagles.
From the Tigers team that beat Perth last Saturday, Kieran Gowdie, Alex Manuel and Ronin O'Connor go out.
West Coast are still chasing that elusive first victory of 2022 with plenty of changes to the team once again coming into Saturday's clash with Claremont.
Jai Culley, Josh Edwards, Luke Foley, Mitch Henderson, Patrick Naish, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Willie Rioli, Josh Rotham, Liam Ryan and Isaiah Winder are the players to all come into the West Coast team giving them their strongest looking side of 2022.
Going out from the team that lost to Swan Districts last week are Josh Browne, Josh Burke, Hugh Dixon, Jack Eastough, Lachlan Feeney, Jayden Johnstone, Andries Mercer, Riley Pobjoy, Elliot Yeo and Logan Young.
SWAN DISTRICTS v PEEL THUNDER
Swan Districts hosts Peel Thunder at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon and a victory will see the black-and-whites finish Round 8 of the 2022 WAFL season holding a finals position.
Swan Districts comes into Saturday's clash having won its last two matches of the season against Claremont and the West Coast Eagles as they attempt to now string three wins together.
Swans enters Round 8 in sixth position on the WAFL ladder with a 4-3 record to be just percentage behind the fifth placed Thunder who also have a 4-3 record following a win against Subiaco last Saturday.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since Round 18 of last year when Swan Districts won by 52 points also at Steel Blue Oval. Swans went on to break their finals drought later in the 2022 season while the Thunder missed finals for a fourth consecutive year.
That made it four straight wins for Swan Districts as well against Peel. The Thunder's last win against the Swans came in Round 12, 2019.
Swans have been even more impressive against the Thunder at Steel Blue Oval having won their last five home matches against the boys from Mandurah by an average of 23 points.
Peel's last victory at Bassendean was back in their inaugural premiership season of 2016 in Round 3.
Peel comes into the game as the second best scoring team in the competition with 90.1 points a game but they are ranked just seventh defensively conceding 79.1 points. Swans, meanwhile, are sixth in both categories scoring 74.6 points and giving up 72.3 per game.
Starts have been a strong suit for Swan Districts so far in 2022 with the black-and-whites outscoring their opponents by 50 points in first quarters, while Peel has been outscored by 74 points in theirs.
Swans are then ranked just ninth for second quarters while Peel is fifth while the two teams are the best performing third term teams across the competition. The Thunder have won their third quarters by 95 points and Swans theirs by 74.
Then in last quarters, Peel is ranked second having outscored their opponents by 49 points while Swans come in seventh having been outscored by 14 points.
Swan Districts is out to make it three straight wins to break into the top five on Saturday with Seb Bright, Ben Hewett and Nathan Ireland back into the line-up.
From the team that beat West Coast last Saturday, Greg Ottaviano, Elijah Hewett and Tom Edwards go out for the black-and-whites.
There are once again plenty of changes at the Thunder with Traye Bennell, Connor Blakely, Mitch Crowden, Lachlan Cullen, Neil Erasmus, Liam Henry, Matt Johnson and Lloyd Meek the inclusions to take on Swan Districts.
Going out from the Peel team that beat Subiaco last week are Nat Fyfe, Ryan Bennell, Jaxon Egan, Jacob Hewitt, Jackson Knight, Brad McGowan, Riley Smith and James Sturrock.
PERTH v SUBIACO
Subiaco might have dominated Perth in recent times in the WAFL but it's a different scenario coming into Saturday's meeting at Mineral Resources Park with both teams desperate for a win.
The Lions have been the dominant team of the WAFL this century and that has been emphasised with their record against the Demons.
Subiaco has won 17 of the last 18 meetings with Perth with the Lions having won nine premierships since 2003 while the Demons have played in the one lone final since 1997.
However, coming into Saturday's clash at Lathlain, both teams sit on identical 2-5 records and will be equally desperate to record a win to stay in touch with the top five.
Saturday will be the first time the two teams have met since Round 14 last year when Subiaco beat Perth by 27 points at Leederville Oval.
The Lions have been the dominant team in the WAFL competition for some time now so it's no real surprise that they have won their last 10 encounters with the Demons with an average winning margin of 57.2 points.
Perth's last win against Subiaco came back in Round 16, 2016 when the Demons won by 15 points at Mineral Resources Park.
Even prior to that, the Lions had won seven straight against the Demons so coming into Saturday's clash at Lathlain it's Subiaco who has won 17 of the last 18 over Perth.
Perth is back at home to host Subiaco and will be looking to inflict some more pain on the Lions with Mitch Browne, Jye Clark and Jacob Coniglio all coming back into the line-up, and Harry Quartermaine to make his debut.
Going out of the team for the Demons from the team that lost to Claremont last week includes Brayden Ainsworth who will miss the chance to lead Perth into battle against his original WAFL club.
Also going out are Ajang Ajang, Chapman Jones and Fraser McInnes for the Demons.
Subiaco will be desperate to get the win on Saturday and say in touch with the top five with Josh Robbins and Lachlan Vanirsen coming into the Lions line-up.
Going out for Subiaco from the team that lost to Peel last Saturday are Ben Golding and Jake South.
EAST FREMANTLE v WEST PERTH
It's only fitting that a top of the table WAFL clash on Saturday takes place at the WACA Ground with East Fremantle taking on West Perth.
Both teams are coming off taking part in traditional WA Day derby match ups with West Perth beating East Perth while East Fremantle lost in heartbreaking fashion for a 13th consecutive time to South Fremantle.
That meant that the Falcons replaced the Sharks on top of the WAFL ladder but still the winner of Saturday's encounter at the WACA Ground will hold that position by the end of Round 8.
Both teams lost their first games of the 2022 season but since then the Falcons have gone on an impressive six-game winning streak to now hold top spot.
The Sharks had won five in-a-row before that derby loss on Monday so the two teams are coming into the clash in impressive form.
Then you have the added fascination with West Perth premiership coach and the club's wins leader as coach Bill Monaghan in charge of East Fremantle up against his former team with top spot up for grabs.
This will be the first time that the two teams have met since Round 21 when last year when East Fremantle scored the 46-point win at East Fremantle Oval even though it was the Sharks to miss the finals and the Falcons to again take part.
Prior to that, West Perth had beaten East Fremantle nine consecutive times by an average of 32.6 points. So even taking into account that last meeting, the Falcons have still won nine of the last 10 clashes with the Sharks.
This will be the second home game for the season for East Fremantle at the WACA Ground and it's the first time the Sharks and Falcons have met at the famous venue since the qualifying final of 1994.
On that occasion 28 years ago it was East Fremantle winning by 28 points and from 35 previous meetings between the teams at the WACA Ground, both have won 17 games each with a draw thrown in there.
East Fremantle lost on Monday in heartbreaking fashion but have the chance to reclaim top spot on Saturday at the WACA Ground against West Perth.
Coming into the Sharks team from the one that lost on WA Day to the Bulldogs are Luke English and Finn Gorringe. Going out for the Sharks are Durak Tucker and Sam Medland.
West Perth regained top spot on the WAFL ladder with their own WA Day win against East Perth and the Falcons have made just the one change for Saturday's trip to the WACA.
Co-captain Dean Munns returns to the West Perth line-up while small forward Sasha Kernutt goes out of the team.
EAST PERTH v SOUTH FREMANTLE
East Perth and South Fremantle both back up from the WA Day match ups on Monday by doing battle on Sunday at Leederville Oval to close Round 8 of the 2022 WAFL season.
South Fremantle returned to the WAFL winner's list in style on Monday in the WA Day Derby with a two-point victory against East Fremantle.
That made it 13 straight wins for the Bulldogs against the Sharks, and now they will look to maintain the dominant run against the Royals in recent times.
Both East Perth and South Fremantle come into Sunday's game at Leederville Oval on the back of playing in their traditional derby encounters on WA Day with East Perth losing to West Perth, and South Fremantle beating East Fremantle.
The Bulldogs now come into Sunday's game in fourth position on the WAFL ladder with a 4-3 record while East Perth is in seventh position but only one game further back at 3-4.
A win on Sunday will further consolidate the Bulldogs inside the top five while a win could very well put East Perth inside the top five at the same time depending on how the results on Saturday pan out.
While East Perth did win the last meeting between the two teams with a spirited fightback in Round 10 last year, South Fremantle has had the better of recent history between the two teams.
Prior to that win 12 months ago for the Royals, the Bulldogs had defeated them seven consecutive times by an average of 26 points. Going back further, South Fremantle also won 16 in-a-row against East Perth between 2005 and 2011.
Overall since East Perth moved permanently to Leederville Oval in 2004, South Fremantle has won 27 of the 37 clashes between the two teams including 11 of the 16 meetings at Leederville.
Coming into Sunday's game, South Fremantle is the second best defensive team in the WAFL conceding just 60.9 points a game. But they are seventh in attack with 72.9 points.
East Perth, meanwhile, is third for scoring with 84.1 points a game while fifth for points against, giving up 71.1 a game.
Both teams have been similar starting teams so far this season with South Fremantle ranked fifth in first quarters and East Perth sixth.
The Royals are then the best second quarter team across the competition having outscored their opponents by 93 points. The Bulldogs are ranked fourth in second terms.
The Bulldogs are then ranked third in the third quarters having won those by 57 points in total so far this season while the Royals have been outscored by 18 points in their third terms.
And in fourth quarters, East Perth is ranked third having won theirs by 39 points with South Fremantle fourth having outscored their opponents by 30 points.