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ROUND 8 PREVIEW V EAST FREMANTLE

Friday, May 5, 2017 - 5:39 PM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth is on a three-game winning streak and can close in on a top-three WAFL position with a win against the undefeated East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval on Saturday.

East Fremantle has extra incentive to try and win its first game of the season this Saturday at home to West Perth, but toppling a Falcons team on a three-game appears a big ask.

The Sharks remain the only winless team in the WAFL after seven rounds heading into Saturday's clash with West Perth at East Fremantle Oval.

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Not only will East Fremantle want to win to get on the board in 2017, but to also celebrate the 150th game of Lynn Medallist and four-time state representative Andrew Stephen as he earns life membership at the Sharks.

West Perth is familiar with similar milestones having won last week in the 150th game of captain Jay van Berlo in the win over Perth at HBF Arena.

East Fremantle has opened the season losing to Claremont, Peel Thunder, Perth, Swan Districts and South Fremantle.

While the opening two losses to the Tigers and Thunder were particularly disappointing, the Sharks have put in improved efforts against the Demons, Swans and Bulldogs and been a chance to win all three during the last quarters at one point or another.

While East Fremantle was at least competitive prior to the bye last weekend in that ANZAC Day Derby loss to South Fremantle, getting over the line against West Perth on Saturday is going to take significant further improvement.

West Perth has responded in strong fashion to its 103-point loss to South Fremantle back in Round 4 by beating Peel Thunder, Swan Districts and Perth since to enter Saturday's clash with East Fremantle sitting in fourth position with an impressive 4-2 record.

The meeting is the first between East Fremantle and West Perth in 2017 after they split their clashes in 2016. East Fremantle won by 50 points in Round 4 at East Fremantle Oval before West Perth prevailed by 70 points in Round 15 at HBF Arena.

Both teams have representatives named in the WAFL State squad to take on the VFL later this month at North Port Oval in Melbourne as well.

East Fremantle's Jonathan Marsh and George Hampson were named in the initial 37-man squad as were Kody Manning, Aaron Black, Shane Nelson, Luke Meadows and Andrew Strijk from West Perth.

Not surprisingly given East Fremantle is yet to win a game in 2017, the Sharks are ranked last in both points for (62.6 a game) and against (109.4) this season. 

West Perth has been especially prolific in second quarters this season averaging a league-best 29 points a game.

East Fremantle's fourth terms have been disastrous scoring an average of just 14 points and conceding 38. They have been outscored by 116 points over five last quarters.

East Fremantle had the week off last weekend following the ANZAC Day loss to South Fremantle where they went down by 41 points despite being 19 points up midway through the third term.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan certainly won't be thinking anything will be handed to the Falcons on Saturday despite the Sharks being winless.

"We just know that it doesn’t matter who we play. Perth were 1-4 going into this game and it took a fairly decent effort in the end to shake them off or to hold them off. I think Earl could be sitting in his change rooms thinking we took it up to them and we could’ve easily snatched the game," Monaghan said.

"We don’t disrespect anyone whether we’re playing the top side or someone who may be struggling for a win. We know East Fremantle has got a lot of talent, we’re also fairly confident in the knowledge that if we play our best that we are going to be competitive.

"Does that mean we win every game? No. Does it mean we’re in every game? Take the South game out which is not something that’s normal generally speaking we’re in most games we play."

James Batterham and Mitch van Berlo are two players already named out of the West Perth team from the 22 that beat Perth at HBF Arena last Saturday by 19 points.

Blake Wilhelm comes straight back into the Falcons line-up after missing that game with the Demons while Brayden Antonio, Seva Mozhaev, Jordan Mills and Mitch Peirce are all in contention at the selection table.

East Fremantle should regain some quality and experience in the form of Liam Anthony but captain Jamie McNamara remains sidelined.

Peter Delaney, James Harrold, Alex Montauban and Andrew Stokes are other players in contention for the Sharks at the selection table.

Corey Holmes and Carl Green are the two players out of the team that lost to South Fremantle at this stage.

ROUND 8
WEST PERTH v EAST FREMANTLE – EAST FREMANTLE OVAL, SATURDAY 2.15PM
Broadcast – 91.3 SportFM

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