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ROUND 12 PREVIEW V SWAN DISTRICTS

Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 11:21 AM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth can zone in on second place in the WAFL with a win on Sunday against Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval in what is also the 200th appearance for the Falcons of favourite son Andrew Strijk.

Swan Districts and West Perth do battle in a standalone WAFL Round 12 fixture on Sunday and all signs point to it being an afternoon to remember with plenty on the line.

Coming off the best attended round of the season last weekend, a good crowd is expected to turn out to Steel Blue Oval to watch the Swans and Falcons in action as well.

For those not in attendance, the game will be telecast live on Channel 7 from 2pm.

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It's shaping as a season-defining contest for both clubs with each of them coming into the round with 6-3 records.

Swans are only narrowly ahead on percentage at the moment but the winner of Sunday's contest will improve to 7-3 and be only percentage behind the second placed South Fremantle, but will have a game in hand over the Bulldogs.

In the case of West Perth, it would open the door to move into second spot next Saturday if they can also knock off South Fremantle. But getting past Swan Districts is the first task.

The loss for either team will also leave them vulnerable in the bottom part of the top five as well locked in a fight with Peel and East Perth for those remaining finals places.

There's also significant individual milestones for both clubs to celebrate on the day just to add to the occasion.

Hard-working Swan Districts midfielder Adam Faulkner never had anything handed to him, but he just banged down the door and earned himself a permanent spot in Swans midfield. Now he will reach his 100th game with the black-and-whites on Sunday.

His midfielder partner Matt Riggio will also notch his 150th appearance in the WAFL. He began his career at Peel Thunder in 2005 where he played one league match before being drafted by North Melbourne in the AFL. 

He returned home in 2010 and joined Swan Districts, and has remained ever since playing in a premiership and winning two fairest and best awards to now reach 150 games in the league on Sunday.

Meanwhile, West Perth star Andrew Strijk also becomes the 20th player in the history of his club to reach 200 games when he runs out for the Falcons on Sunday.

"It's a massive game. Swans supporters and West Perth supporters are probably the best in the WAFL so we should get some good numbers down there at Bassendean, Strijk said.

"It's massive for ladder positions and also for finals, it's a team we could potentially come up against in September so we want to put our best foot forward. It's a must-win really."

It has been a remarkable career for Strijk who made his debut in 2006 and has gone on to be a premiership player, fairest and best winner, life member and six-time state representative on top of his 13 appearances in the AFL for the West Coast Eagles.

Swan Districts started its season in stunning fashion winning its opening four games before then losing three of its next four. But Swans bounced back solidly last week to beat Perth by 33 points at Lathlain Park to improve to the 6-3 record.

West Perth's impressive five-game winning streak came to an end on WA Day with a 46-point defeat to East Perth. Prior to that, the Falcons had been in terrific form leading into the state game with wins over Peel Thunder, Swan Districts, Perth, East Fremantle and Claremont.

That win over Swans was a thriller in Round 6 at HBF Arena with West Perth holding on in the end to win a thriller by five points.

West Perth has won its last four games over Swan Districts, with the last loss coming back in Round 17, 2005 at Steel Blue Oval.

Steven Wityk, Tom Smirk, Warrick Wilson and Josh Kirkup have all been added to the Swans squad from the team that beat Perth last Saturday, but Ryan Crowley and Xavier Ellis remain unavailable.

West Perth defenders Joe Morrow and Ben King both made solid returns from injury in the reserves on Monday against East Perth and have subsequently been added to the squad to take on Swan Districts on Sunday.

Hard man Kody Manning comes straight back in after missing the WA Day Derby following a key role in the WAFL's state game win over the VFL with Mitch Peirce also continuing to push for a spot with his outstanding ball-winning form in the reserves.

COUNT ME IN ROUND 12
WEST PERTH v SWAN DISTRICTS – STEEL BLUE OVAL, SUNDAY 2.10PM
Broadcast – Channel 7, Footy Radio (WAFL App)

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