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ROUND 14 PREVIEW V CLAREMONT

Friday, June 23, 2017 - 6:55 PM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth's last visit to Claremont Oval was the winning 2013 second semi-final and the Falcons look to repeat that against Claremont this Saturday to retail third position in the WAFL.

With Claremont to potentially enter the top five with a victory and West Perth to remain in third spot with the win it sets the scene for a potentially season-defining contest for both clubs on Saturday at Claremont Oval.

Claremont's season had appeared off the rails prior to the opening of its redeveloped home ground. After starting the season with three straight wins, the Tigers had lost six straight before hosting East Fremantle two weeks ago.

They held on for a drought-breaking three-point win and backed it up with a commanding 67-point win over Swan Districts last Saturday to improve to a 5-6 record on the season and to be just a game outside the top five.

A win for Claremont on Saturday and they could end up in the top five providing Swan Districts loses to East Perth at Steel Blue Oval.

West Perth had a chance to move up to second position last week when hosting South Fremantle at HBF Arena, but the Falcons came up 47 points short.

West Perth does remain in third position, though, with a 7-4 record on the season and with a win on Saturday the Falcons will remain third and could again be just percentage behind the second placed South Fremantle with a game in hand.

However, a loss against the Tigers and the Falcons will find themselves right back in the hunt for a spot in the bottom half of the top five and to possibly even be out of the five altogether if Peel Thunder and Swan Districts both win.

Claremont is clearly enjoying its return to Claremont Oval but West Perth will have good memories of its last visit to Tigerland when the Falcons won the second semi-final on the way to winning the 2013 premiership.

Before that, Claremont had won the last three home games against West Perth and six of the last seven.

The two teams have already met once this season with West Perth winning by 32 points back in Round 10 at HBF Arena.

Going back to last year, West Perth won all three meetings over Claremont by seven, three and one points respectively.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan isn’t surprised that Claremont has been able to get back on track the last two weeks and knows the Falcons will need to play well to come away victorious.

"I think most people think Claremont had more ability than probably their early season, take out the first three games where they won easily. But that period where they didn’t win many games I think most people think they have more ability than that," Monaghan said.

"They’ve obviously had a good win last weekend beating East Fremantle albeit narrow and then they got over the line convincingly against Swans. 

"We know they’ll be a challenge, we’re not afraid of that challenge. We know that even like in two and-a-half quarters we played well against South Fremantle so we know we can match it with sides. We just need to make sure that we play the style of footy that we want to."

West Perth has resisted the temptation of bringing in veteran ruckman Chris Keunen for his first league appearance of the season. 

His form has been good the past fortnight in the reserves after an injury ravaged start to 2017, but the Falcons won't be bringing him in against Claremont despite the possibility of him being needed against former teammate and Claremont state ruckman Mitch Andrews.

The three West Perth additions to the squad from the team that lost to South Fremantle last week are Andrew Strijk, Jordan Mills and Brayden Antonio.

Strijk's body was crying out for a rest with him playing a month of football uninterrupted due to the state game. After celebrating his 200th game the previous Sunday against Swan Districts, he didn’t get up to play against South Fremantle but should return Saturday against Claremont.

Brayden Antonio and Jordan Mills are the other two players in the hunt at the selection table for the Falcons to take on the Tigers at Claremont Oval.

Coming off the two wins at Claremont Oval over East Fremantle and Swan Districts leaves little reason for changes at Claremont, but captain Jake Murphy looks set to return for his appearance since the Round 7 loss to Swans.

He returned in the reserves last Saturday and was impressive with 29 possessions, eight marks and a goal.

Jack Richardson also kicked five goals to put himself in the mix for a league return as well with Lachlan Martinis in the mix also following 32 possessions last Saturday against Swans in the reserves.

ROUND 14
WEST PERTH v CLAREMONT – CLAREMONT OVAL, SATURDAY 2.15PM
Broadcast –
Footy Radio (WAFL App)

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