ALL four WAFL games this weekend will be on Saturday afternoon at 2.10pm across Western Australia with Round 8 action seeing a grand final rematch between Subiaco and Claremont with East Perth playing Swan Districts, Perth taking on East Fremantle and South Fremantle hosting West Perth.
The Lions and Tigers will meet in the first grand final rematch of 2012 at Leederville's Medibank Stadium. In-form teams East Perth and Swan Districts both travel down to Manjimup to look to keep their winning form going.
Perth hosts East Fremantle at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium with South Fremantle looking to bounce back against West Perth at Fremantle Oval. Peel Thunder has the bye.
SUBIACO v CLAREMONT – MEDIBANK STADIUM, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Subiaco is looking not only for revenge from last year's grand final when it takes on Claremont at Medibank Stadium, but the Lions also need to bounce back from two losses over the past fortnight.
Claremont won last year's grand final over Subiaco by an emphatic 56 points, but it was a tremendous performance by the Lions to virtually come from nowhere mid-season just to make it at all.
That never makes losing a grand final easier, though, so the Lions will certainly be looking for a measure of revenge over Claremont this Saturday, but more importantly to rebound from losses over the last fortnight to Perth and East Perth.
Subiaco started the 2012 so well with wins over West Perth, Peel, South Fremantle and East Fremantle.
That was intercepted by a Foxtel Cup loss in Adelaide to the Port Adelaide Magpies, but the Lions looked on track most of the day in Round 6 to beat Perth before being overrun, and then were outplayed by East Perth last Saturday in wet conditions to lose by 31 points.
The task of hitting back against Claremont won't be easy though. Even though the reigning premiers have lost to East Fremantle and Swan Districts this season, the Tigers have looked good in wins over East Perth, Perth, South Fremantle and West Perth.
Then last Saturday they dominated an admittedly second-rate West Adelaide team in the Foxtel Cup clash at Patersons Stadium.
West Adelaide had 11 players making their senior debut, but Claremont wasn’t at full strength either with the likes of Luke Blackwell, Chad Jones, Mitch Andrews and David Crawford sitting out of the game.
The Tigers still smashed the Bloods by 101 points, though, to take some strong momentum into Saturday's clash with Subiaco.
The grand final rematch certainly looms as a fascinating battle, though, with Claremont acknowledged as having the dominant midfield in the competition and Subiaco possessing a potentially lethal forward-line.
If the Tigers can dominate through the middle thanks to ruckman Andrews, Sandover Medallist Blackwell and the likes of Kane Mitchell, Tom Swift, Byron Schammer and Murphy then Subiaco's forward-line might not get enough service.
However, if Subiaco can win enough of the ball then a forward set-up comprising Brant Chambers, Blake Broadhurst, Callum Sinclair and Des Headland, with Rhett Kerr, Rhys Waters and George Hampson helping out has the potential to kick some massive scores.
There's also the distinct possibility that the Lions forward-line could receive Jack Anthony from Fremantle after he was subbed out of last Friday night's loss to Carlton after a lacklustre display.
That will put Claremont's defence under enormous pressure and it has already lost Simon Starling for the season with a knee injury on top of Brett Jones' retirement after last year's grand final.
The Tigers' back-line of Brandon Franz, James Thomson, Crawford, Tom Lee and Jess Laurie will have their work cut out.
Ironically, it was Subiaco's forward-line that many felt would be their weak link this season following the loss of Danny Hughes and Allistair Pickett at the end of last season, and with it originally appearing that Headland and Broadhurst wouldn’t be available either.
On top of the loss of Brad Smith, David Mapleston and Trent Dennis-Lane in the preceding years as well, Subiaco's forward-line has undertaken a huge makeover but it could now very well be the reason why it can challenge Claremont and put itself back in the mix as a premiership fancy.
Subiaco has some important inclusions to take on the Tigers. George Hampson had 33 possessions a fortnight ago against Perth, but missed last week's loss to East Perth. He is back as is vice-captain Ben Randall.
Chris Deluca and Ryan Wade are also pushing for selection with Justin Joyce the only out at this stage.
Full-forward Chad Jones and Fremantle's Alex Silvagni go out of the Claremont team that lost to Swan Districts a fortnight ago before last week's big Foxtel Cup win over West Adelaide.
Alistair Gillespie, Nick Suban, Lewis Stevenson and Brandon Franz are due back for the Tigers after all played in the Foxtel Cup victory last Saturday.
EAST PERTH v SWAN DISTRICTS – MANJIMUP, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Swan Districts and East Perth met in the 2010 preliminary final but both fell away to miss finals in 2011. However, the two teams have started this season impressively and will be looking to make a statement as premiership contenders down in Manjimup.
It is the first country fixture of the season at the picturesque south-west town that last hosted a game between East Perth and Peel in Round 9, 2006, that saw the Royals win by 63 points with Troy Wilson kicking nine goals in Paul Peos' first game as coach after he took over from Warren Mahoney.
Swan Districts won that preliminary final meeting at Steel Blue Oval in 2010 and went on to win the premiership, but both Swans and the Royals had disappointing 2011 campaigns that saw them miss finals.
They have started off the 2012 season on the right foot, though, and will be looking to keep that momentum going on Saturday in Manjimup.
Swan Districts lacked pace and skill last season, but so far in 2012 that has been their strongest asset as they have ran their opponents off their legs in impressive wins over West Perth, South Fremantle, Claremont and then last week Perth.
Tom Roach, Shaun Hildebrandt, Marlon Motlop and Murray Newman are among the players in tremendous running form through the middle, Josh Roberts is still leading the way on the ball and Swans' forward-line and back-line is outstanding also.
The defence last week featuring Tallan Ames, Kyle Hams, Justin Simpson, Graham Jetta, Wayde Twomey and Alex Howard is in good form, as are Ashley Hansen, Tim Geappen, Michael Walters and Tony Notte up forward.
East Perth lost its first two games of the season to Claremont and West Perth, but had good chances to win both and now have gone on to impressively win their last three against Perth, East Fremantle and Subiaco.
With veterans Craig Wulff, Paul Johnson and Josh Smith leading the way, Garry Moss in outstanding form in the middle and a strong brigade of youngsters, the Royals have been in outstanding form and will be looking to keep that going against Swans this Saturday.
East Perth co-captain Michael Swan goes out of the side after copping a one-week suspension out of last week's win over Subiaco. Fremantle's Dylan Roberton has also received a call-up from the Dockers to take on the Gold Coast Suns.
Luke Sampey could come in for his first game of 2012 and the key defender would be the likely match-up for Ashley Hansen who kicked five goals for Swans last week in their win over Perth.
Don Stirling, Jayden Pitt, Cameron Grover and Shaquille McKenzie are others pushing for selection with the Royals.
Swan Districts loses young defender Jarrad Blight after he injured his hamstring in the third quarter of last Saturday's win over Perth. Matthew Outridge, Brett van Groningen and Brent Latch are putting a strong case forward for selection though.
PERTH v EAST FREMANTLE – BROWNES STADIUM, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Perth has its last chance to notch up a crucial victory before its bye next week hosting East Fremantle on Saturday, but the Sharks are coming in off dominant form last week themselves.
Perth promised so much coming into the season, but with two wins now from seven games the start has certainly not gone to plan and the Demons have not been able to take a trick.
While the likes of Ross Young, Leon Davis, Alistair Smith, Matt Tedesco and even Paul Bevan are in good form, the Demons have not been able to get anything like their best side out on the park.
Jarrod Kayler-Thomson, Daniel O'Sullivan, Chris Vidot, Haydn Busher, Scott Siekierka, Nick Lower, Sam Butler, Rob de Jongh, Seamus Young, Dene White and Joel Houghton are among those not in the league side right now either through injury, AFL selection, suspension or trying to find form coming back from injuries.
That has made things difficult for coach Damien McMahon, but a fortnight ago they were impressive handing Subiaco its first loss of the season in the WAFL.
Even last week despite losing to Swan Districts by 37, they did show some good signs and will be desperate to take a win over the Sharks into a bye next week.
East Fremantle won its first two games of the season against Claremont and Peel but then lost their next two to Subiaco and East Perth heading into last week's Fremantle derby with South Fremantle.
The Sharks made a massive statement at East Fremantle Oval with an 85-point victory giving them some huge momentum to take into this week's game with Perth.
Perth can't take a trick with fitness or form though. Ruckman Llane Spaanderman was hampered by a calf injury last week against Swan Districts and goes out of the side this week.
Rob de Jongh was in solid form in the reserves last week and would have been the replacement for Spaanderman, but he received a two-week ban leaving the Demons short in the big men department to take on the Sharks who themselves are still without Jonathon Griffin.
Young West Coast forward Fraser McInnes also goes out of Perth's line-up as does former Western Bulldog Brennan Stack.
Simon Donovan was outstanding with four goals in the win two weeks ago over Subiaco. He comes back into the team this week with Michael Edwards, Liam Smith and Reece Richardson pushing for selection too.
East Fremantle had a massive win last Saturday over South Fremantle and Jacob Brennan could be rewarded for his form by making his debut with West Coast on Sunday against North Melbourne. Brad Sheppard and Leith Teakle also go out of the side.
West Coast's Koby Stevens does return, though, as does Luke Weller. Justin Monaco, Lewis Fasolo, Scott Jansen and Cameron Symonds are others pushing for selection.
SOUTH FREMANTLE v WEST PERTH – FREMANTLE OVAL, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Losing a derby is never a nice thing for either Fremantle WAFL club, but when it's by 85 points it's embarrassing and South Fremantle will be looking to bounce back immediately this Saturday at home to West Perth.
The task of hitting back with a win over the Falcons won't be easy, though, with West Perth finding some good form over the last month.
West Perth started the 2012 season slowly with losses to Subiaco and Swan Districts, but responded with a come from behind win over East Perth before a big loss on Easter Monday to Claremont.
That left the Falcons teetering at 1-3 four rounds into the campaign, but since they have won a Foxtel Cup game against Ainslie and won their last two WAFL games as well against Perth and Peel Thunder to have improved to a 3-3 record coming into Saturday's game with the Bulldogs.
South Fremantle has been a tough team to read this season so far.
The Bulldogs started the season with a disappointing first three quarters against Perth under lights at Fremantle Oval, but then kicked 11 goals in the last quarter to come back from being 50 points down to win.
However, they couldn’t keep that form going with losses to Subiaco, Swan Districts and Claremont. They did bounce back with a terrific 73-point Round 6 win over Peel, though, but then came back to earth with a thud last week losing to East Fremantle by the 85 points.
South Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby is rewarding some players for good reserves form. Matthew Olivieri had 34 possessions last week, Adam McIntosh 27 and Haiden Schloithe 27. All are pushing for selection this week against the Falcons as is Jesse Maiorana.
Shannon Burnett is the only out at this stage for the Bulldogs team that was disappointing in the derby last Saturday.
West Perth loses veteran key defender Dan Hunt with Joel Rice and Fremantle's Jay van Berlo also going out of the team.
Matt Fowler kicked seven goals in the reserves last week against Peel and could come into the line-up but Anthony Tsalikis is also due to come back into the forward-line. Kris Shannon, Josh Donaldson, Laine Rasmussen and Marc Crisp are also pushing for selection.
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