ALL four matches of Round 20 of the 2013 WAFL season are on Saturday afternoon highlighted by two massive clashes featuring teams in the top-four or trying to get back in there.
Top-of-the-table Claremont hosts an East Perth team at Claremont Oval looking to break back into the top-four while East Fremantle must beat Perth at East Fremantle Oval to keep its season alive as well.
The other two matches sees Subiaco take on South Fremantle at Leederville's Medibank Stadium and West Perth hosting Peel Thunder at Arena Joondalup. The third-placed Swan Districts has the bye but could finish the weekend out of the four.
CLAREMONT (14-2, 1st) v EAST PERTH (9-6, 5th) – CLAREMONT OVAL, SATURDAY 2.05PM
Claremont might be well and truly safe atop the WAFL ladder but the Tigers do want to reach their best form ahead of the finals but for East Perth the Royals simply need to win in order to return to the top-four.
Claremont sits on a 14-2 record to be three games on top of the ladder, but it has been some time since the Tigers have been able to field what they would consider anything near their best 22 or play at their best.
The minor premiership is still theirs for the fourth straight season as they hunt out a third successive premiership, but best form heading into the finals is now coach Marc Webb's focus and he will want to see a strong performance against East Perth on Saturday.
East Perth, though, simply just needs to win.
The Royals had won five straight matches heading into last Saturday's derby with West Perth which they went on to lose by 30 points having not scored a goal in the second half.
That saw East Perth slip outside of the top-four behind Swan Districts and Perth so the Royals must win this Saturday to return to the four and avoid potentially slipping a game and percentage behind Perth.
Claremont and East Perth have met just the once this season back in Round 4 at Medibank Stadium in Leederville with the Tigers prevailing that day by 54 points, but the Royals have been a vastly improved side since then.
Claremont might lose key forward Anton Hamp to an ankle injury from last week's win in the mud over Subiaco, but four star players are set to return for the Tigers as they look to gear up for their assault on a third straight WAFL premiership.
Fremantle's Alex Silvagni is set to return after being overlooked by the Dockers and he will likely play down back and will be especially welcome with veteran David Crawford to miss another game.
Captain Andrew Browne has likely been in career-best form this season averaging 23 possessions a game and after missing just the one game with a quad injury suffered in the Round 17 loss to Swan Districts, the skipper is set to return to take on the Royals on Saturday.
Premiership half-back Aaron Holt is also due to return to the side after one game in the reserves last week after missing a month with injury while West Coast midfielder Patrick McGinnity is also to return so that is four pretty handy inclusions for the Tigers.
East Perth lost its first match since Round 10 last week against West Perth at Arena Joondalup, but came through the derby with a clean bill of health.
This week to take on the Tigers, only Rowan Brookes is out of the Royals line-up at this stage with West Coast's Matt Rosa set to return with Callum Hart, Julian Locantro and Steven Wityk all pressing a case for selection as well.
EAST FREMANTLE (8-8, 6th) v PERTH (9-6, 4th) – EAST FREMANTLE OVAL, SATURDAY 2.05PM
East Fremantle and Perth meet with plenty on the line on Saturday at East Fremantle Oval with the Sharks needing to keep their season alive and the Demons to stay in the top-four.
East Fremantle is just clinging to hopes of playing finals again in 2013 after making last year's grand final currently sitting on an 8-8 record to be a game behind third-placed Swan Districts, fourth-placed Perth and fifth-placed East Perth.
The Sharks do have a strong percentage but has played an extra game than both Perth and East Perth so will need to win all four of their remaining matches to be a chance to still play finals and that means Saturday's clash against Perth is a must-win affair.
And beating Perth is not going to be any easy task with the Demons currently sitting in fourth position on the ladder and a victory over East Fremantle will see them improve to third and go a long way to helping to secure a first finals appearance for the club since 1997.
Perth started the season so well winning five of its first seven games before somewhat of a mid-season form slump but the Demons regained some terrific form before last weekend's bye to have won four of their last five games to be back in the top-four.
The Sharks and Demons have met just the once so far this season and it was a terrific contest at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium back in Round 5 with East Fremantle snatching a two-point win with the last kick of the day in a controversial finish.
East Fremantle must-win against Perth to remain in finals contention in 2013 and has some mixed news at the selection table.
There are some big outs with leading goalkicker Ryan Lester-Smith going out injured despite having kicked four goals last week against South Fremantle and having booted 43 majors in his breakout season.
Veteran midfielder Richard Hadley is also out with a fractured cheekbone while Brad Sheppard returned last week and had 30 possessions against the Bulldogs but that has only seen him instantly recalled by the struggling West Coast Eagles.
There some impressive inclusions for the Sharks, though, headlined by star West Coast midfielder Daniel Kerr.
Wingman Sean Henson is also right to return from a hamstring injury with ruckman Fraser MacDougall back with former Demon Michael Edwards a chance to make his East Fremantle debut against his former team.
Jayden Schofield and Adrian Ricciardello are the others pressing for selection with Ricciardello a chance to play and take the spot of Lester-Smith in the forward-line.
Mitch Brown is also likely to return for East Fremantle and strengthen the back-line further after being left out of the West Coast team to take on the Gold Coast Suns.
There are no outs of the Perth team at this stage that did well to thump Peel Thunder by 74 points two weeks ago prior to the bye last weekend.
Alistair Smith has been trying to find form and fitness in the reserves but the prime mover is likely to come in and further strengthen Perth's midfield against the Sharks with Kyle Reimers, Matthew Hunt and Jarrad Irons in the mix to play as well.
SUBIACO (5-11, 7th) v SOUTH FREMANTLE (3-13, 8th) – MEDIBANK STADIUM, SATURDAY 2.05PM
South Fremantle and Subiaco might not be playing for a finals spot in their clash at Medibank Stadium but both teams will be determined to finish a disappointing season strongly starting with a win on Saturday.
For some reason despite little separating the Lions and Bulldogs on the ladder this season, Subiaco seems to have saved its best for the previous two clashes and South Fremantle some of its worst form.
Subiaco beat South Fremantle by 41 points in a dominant second half performance at Fremantle Oval in Round 6 and then in the return clash at Medibank Stadium in Leederville, the Lions also won by 53 points in Round 12.
On that occasion, South Fremantle completely dominated the third quarter of the contest but was unable to put a score on the board and then Subiaco went on a run of kicking nine straight goals to eventually end up winning by 53 points.
However, things haven’t gone to plan for Subiaco since that day with the Lions not having recorded a victory since with losses to Swan Districts, West Perth, East Fremantle, Perth, the Sharks again and then last week Claremont.
The only one of those six games where Subiaco was a realistic chance of winning was against West Perth in Round 14 so the Lions haven’t been in good form for some time.
South Fremantle might have shown some good signs since that last loss to Subiaco with tight losses to Perth and Claremont, and a good win over West Perth but the Bulldogs took a step backwards last Saturday with a disappointing 83-point loss to East Fremantle at Fremantle Oval.
Young small men Simon Moore and Ryan Wade go out of the Subiaco team that lost in the mud last Saturday against Claremont.
Small forwards Alliston 'Buddy' Pickett and Michael Wood look the obvious replacements for those two players out with Joey Daye, Michael Genovese and Ryan Herring also pressing to come into the Subiaco side that has now not won a game since Round 12.
John Sgherza is a likely inclusion for South Fremantle after three goals and 17 possessions in the reserves last week while James Laurino could be in line for his league debut after continued solid good form.
Jarrod Parry has been building solidly on return from his horror run of knee injuries and had another 20 possessions last week to put himself in the mix to take on Subiaco this week.
Warrick Andreoli, Alex Grima and Kingsley Smith have all played some league football this season and have been doing reasonably well in the reserves to remain in contention for a spot in the Bulldogs line-up as well.
Toby Bairstow will miss his first game of the season after averaging over 21 possessions a game so far this season with Jarrad Winter and Kaiden Matera also out of the South Fremantle team to take on Subiaco on Saturday.
WEST PERTH (11-5, 2nd) v PEEL THUNDER (3-13, 9th) – ARENA JOONDALUP, SATURDAY 2.05PM
West Perth and Peel might seem a mismatch on paper with it being second against last on the ladder but with some big outs for the Falcons and big inclusions for the Thunder, the clash significantly tightens up.
West Perth might be looking good in second position on the ladder at present with an 11-5 record to be two games clear of the chasing Swan Districts, Perth and East Perth but the Falcons do need to keep winning to secure that double-chance come finals time.
The Falcons suffered a disappointing loss a fortnight ago to South Fremantle at home but also at Arena Joondalup bounced back to beat East Perth in the derby last Saturday by 30 points while doing particularly well to hold the Royals goalless after half-time.
Peel might be on the bottom of the ladder with just three wins for the season with all three of them coming in Mandurah against Swan Districts, East Perth and Subiaco, but the Thunder will be confident of causing an upset at Arena Joondalup on Saturday.
Peel came flying home three games ago against West Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium to only lose by 16 points and showed some good form last week only losing to the in-form Swan Districts by 11 points at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.
West Perth has three big outs for the clash with Peel with full-back Michael Pettigrew out for the rest of the season with a serious hamstring injury while Jay van Berlo is out with a knee injury and experienced centre half-back Dan Hunt also goes out of the side.
Young big man Nick Rodda returns to the side after a week in the reserves and he will slot right back into one of the key defensive slots for the Falcons.
James Batterham, Drew Rohde, Kris Shannon, Frank Stockley and Jack Thrum are all pressing for selection for West Perth as well with all looking to fill roles left vacant at both ends of the ground.
Peel already had a stronger team after last week with Fremantle's Hayden Crozier and former AFL pair James Hawksley and Kristin Thornton, back in its line-up and now the Thunder is further strengthened this week.
Two Fremantle ruckmen Jack Hannath and Craig Moller are both into the Peel side giving the Thunder plenty of height to play one in the ruck and one up forward at all times to strength a West Perth back-line without Pettigrew and Hunt.
Laine Wilkins and Aiden Field are also a chance to come in and play for Peel while Jesse Hockings is the only out at this stage.
Surprisingly, former North Melbourne midfielder Cruize Garlett has not been recalled to the league side despite having a game back in the reserves last week against Swan Districts.