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ROUND 20 PREVIEW V EAST PERTH

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 4:26 PM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth might not have the personnel available it would like but the Falcons will throw everything at East Perth at HBF Arena on Saturday with the goal being moving clear once more in fifth position on the WAFL ladder.

The winner of Saturday's Round 20 clash at HBF Arena will take a significant leap towards playing finals in 2017 setting the stage for a terrific contest for those in attendance and then those watching also live on 7mate from 2.30pm.

West Perth comes into the game currently occupying fifth position on the WAFL ladder with an 8-8 record but following last week's 47-point loss to South Fremantle, the Falcons are now vulnerable inside the top five.

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East Perth returned to the winner's list after two straight losses to beat Claremont by four points last Saturday at Claremont Oval to keep the Royals right in the hunt for a finals position still.

That sets the stage for a crucial match on Saturday. 

A win for West Perth and the Falcons will move two games clear again of East Perth and with games to finish the season against East Fremantle, Subiaco and Claremont, they will be in a good position to end up playing finals again in 2017.

However, a victory for East Perth and the Royals will be in fifth position on the ladder come Saturday night and it will be their spot to lose. East Perth will then finish the season against Swan Districts, Perth and Subiaco.

The game continues the trend in recent years of not only the rivalry between East Perth and West Perth remaining strong, but the games they play having plenty on the line as well.

That has included the 2013 grand final won by West Perth and 2015 preliminary final also won by the Falcons.

The first two derbies of 2017 have seen the results split with West Perth prevailing by 21 points in Round 2 at HBF Arena before East Perth won by 46 points on WA Day at Leederville Oval.

West Perth comes into the game having lost more players to injury following last week's 47-point loss to South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Kody Manning and Andrew Strijk are already named out of the Falcons team for Saturday's game while Rudy Riddoch and Nick Rodda will need to prove their fitness to take the field at HBF Arena against the Royals.

Mitch van Berlo is also out of the line-up that lost to the Bulldogs last Saturday.

They join Dean Munns, Scott Nelson, Joe Morrow, Steve Potente, Tyson Moulton and Mark Hamilton as players currently out of the West Perth side.

West Perth could unveil two more debutants on Saturday with WA State 18s star Oscar Allen and 19-year-old Zac Guadagnin in line to make their first league appearance against East Perth.

Key forward Michael Lourey and important defender Ben King will also return for the Falcons while Nathan Alexandre and Conal Lynch could also be back in the side to take on the Royals.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan knows what is at stake come Saturday.

"We are a game ahead of them so in a lot of ways we control our own destiny, but it's a huge game especially given they beat Claremont to be just a game behind us," Monaghan said.

"But all we can do is go out to play our very best football and hope that's good enough."

East Perth put itself right back in the finals hunt beating Claremont last Saturday and the Royals look to have some strength added to its team to take on West Perth this week as well.

While Chris Masten goes out following his 38-possession effort against the Tigers, Kurt Mutimer is a welcome return to add some ball-winning and goalkicking ability.

West Coast big man Nathan Vardy could very well play his first WAFL game too having lost his place in the Eagles team to take on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Jake Waterman could make his league debut for East Perth and play his first senior appearance since being drafted by West Coast from Claremont last season. 

Will Maginness was in outstanding form this season for East Perth up until getting hurt in Round 15 against East Fremantle, but he'll return against West Perth as well.

Callum Hart, Willie Rioli and Mark Longbottom are the other players in contention at the selection table for the Royals.

ROUND 20
WEST PERTH v EAST PERTH – HBF ARENA, SATURDAY 2.40PM
Broadcast – 7mate, Footy Radio (WAFL App)

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