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ROUND 2 PREVIEW V EAST PERTH

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 5:53 PM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth has had an extra week's wait to open the 2017 WAFL season and now the Falcons get underway with a derby against East Perth at HBF Arena with the Polly Farmer Shield on the line on Sunday.

West Perth had the opening round bye to prepare for the derby to start its season in 2017 on the back of another finals appearance in 2016.

East Perth, meanwhile, also played finals in 2016 and started the season last Saturday night with a 17-point defeat at the hands of Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval.

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The game will be played for the inaugural Polly Farmer Shield after both clubs made the decision to set up the honour for one of Australian football's greats last year.

Graham Farmer is a legendary figure at both the East Perth and West Perth Football Clubs and it s only fitting the two teams will now play for the Polly Farmer Shield once every season.

Farmer began his career with East Perth in 1956 and went on to play 176 games at the Royals before heading to the VFL to play with Geelong in 1963. HE remained there until 1968 playing 101 matches.

Upon return to WA, Farmer joined West Perth to add a further 69 games as player-coach. 

In all, Farmer played 392 matches at senior level along with representing WA 31 times and Victoria on five occasions. He is a triple Sandover Medal winner and has been inducted as a Legend in both the Australian Football and WA Football Halls of Fame.

Now it's only fitting that his name will continue to live on with one Perth derby per season being played in his honour.

The match itself looms as a tremendous one as well with the Falcons out to start their season on a winning note and the Royals to bounce back from their opening round loss to the Thunder.

West Perth again made the finals last year from third position with a 13-7 record before being eliminated after losses to South Fremantle and Peel.

The Falcons have lost some important players over summer including Rohan Kerr, Max Duffy, Laine Rasmussen, Drew Rohde, Joel Leeson and Luke Tedesco.

But the recruitment of experienced key position player Scott Simpson looks to be a valuable one while Ben King, Luke Meadows, Blake Wilhelm, Corey Chalmers, Tyler Keitel and Trent Manzone all appear ready to go to another level.

Some younger players will also get some opportunities at the Falcons with Scott Nelson and Nathan Alexandre potential debutants in the season-opener for West Perth.

East Perth also made finals last year before also being eliminated by the Thunder. It was then Peel again who beat the Royals last Saturday night.

East Perth struggled in front of goal with just one major in the opening three quarters, and four for the night in a 17-point defeat.

From that team, the Royals will lose reigning fairest and best winner Mitch Fraser due to a knee injury. The availability of Jack Redden, Will Schofield and Tom Barrass will depend on whether they are selection by West Coast or not to play North Melbourne on Sunday.

Co-captain Kyle Anderson will return for the Royals and be vital down back while Tom Hodgson, Lewis Wilson, Callum Hart, Steven Payne, Julian Ameduri, Paddy Brophy and Jack Hick are all in the mix at the selection table after solid form in the reserves last week.

A derby is always quite the occasion already but with the game live on 7mate and with the Polly Farmer Shield at stake with both the Falcons and Royals looking for their first wins of 2017, this one has that little bit extra to make it well worth checking out.

ROUND 2 – POLLY FARMER SHIELD
WEST PERTH v EAST PERTH – HBF ARENA, SUNDAY 1.40PM
Broadcast – 7mate, KIX Digital

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