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ROUND 18 PREVIEW V PERTH

Saturday, July 22, 2017 - 2:27 AM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth will look to return to the winner's list after the bye this Saturday against Perth at Lathlain Park against a team the Falcons have lost to since 2011 and at a ground they haven’t lost at since 2004.

Perth is back to Lathlain Park to host West Perth but it hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Demons against the Falcons for a long time. 

In fact West Perth has not lost at Lathlain Park since Round 9, 2004 winning 11 of their past 12 trips to the ground with the only hiccup being a draw in Round 9, 2008.

Not only does Perth have that to overcome against West Perth, but the Demons are now also on an eight-game losing streak to only be narrowly avoiding bottom spot on the WAFL ladder courtesy of percentage.

West Perth, meanwhile, is coming off the bye last weekend and before that had lost four straight games against South Fremantle, Claremont, Subiaco and Peel Thunder.

Despite those four successive losses, the Falcons remain in fifth position on the WAFL ladder with a 7-7 record. 

Depending on how East Perth goes on Busselton against South Fremantle on Saturday, West Perth could move potentially two games clear in fifth with a win over Perth and a Royals loss to the Bulldogs.

Perth is attempting its first game since defeating Claremont by eight points in Round 9 at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on neutral turf. Perth's other win so far in 2017 did come on home soil at Lathlain Park against East Fremantle in Round 4.

West Perth's last win was back in Round 12 by eight points against Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval.

But working in West Perth's favour on Saturday is its recent dominance against Perth and in particular at Lathlain Park.

West Perth has won its last 12 games against Perth by an average winning margin of 42.5 points. That included a 19-point win at HBF Arena in Round 7 of this season.

Perth's last win against West Perth came to the tune of 29 points in Round 18, 2011 at HBF Arena.

The Falcons record at Lathlain Park in recent times is even better with them winning their past seven trips to the venue by an average of 37.3 points. West Perth is also undefeated in the last 12 visits to Lathlain with the Round 9, 2008 draw breaking up that run.

The Demons' last win at home over the Falcons was by 22 points back in Round 9, 2004.

There are plenty of changes at West Perth despite having the bye last weekend following the 30-point loss at home to Peel Thunder which was greatly contributed to by the inaccuracy of the Falcons.

West Perth will still be without Michael Lourey, Scott Nelson and Joe Morrow while Dean Munns and Rudy Riddoch go out of the team while 185-game veteran ruckman Chris Keunen remains under a cloud with a sore hamstring.

Max Alexander looks a chance to earn a spot in West Perth's league side for his first league game since Round 5 last year.

Riley Hutchinson is in the mix to make his debut for the Falcons as well with Brayden Antonio, Mitch Peirce and Mitch van Berlo the other players a chance to break into the line-up to take on Perth at Lathlain Park.

Perth's hopes of returning to the winner's list won't be helped with Brad McPhail, Lennon Marlin and Cody Ninyette all going out of the team that lost to East Fremantle by 16 points at East Fremantle Oval last Saturday. Shaun Smith is also out.

Liam McKenna, Brennan Stack, Nelson Ansey, Taran Etto, Andries Mercer, Thomas Gooch and Kurtis Chester are the players vying for a place in the Perth line-up to take on West Perth.

But Sam Garstone, Spencer White, Jarrad Irons, Jared Bell, Cody Leggett, Devin McFarlane, Julian Jacobs, Laine Wilkins and Lachlan Dennis are among those players still missing from what Perth hoped would be its best 22 coming into 2017.

Perth will have some added motivation with 2015 Sandover Medallist Aidan Tropiano to celebrate his 100th WAFL appearance.

ROUND 18
WEST PERTH v PERTH – LATHLAIN PARK, SATURDAY 2.15PM
Broadcast –
720 ABC Perth, KIX Digital, Footy Radio (WAFL App)

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