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ROUND 8 PREVIEW V EAST FREMANTLE

Friday, May 3, 2013 - 12:45 AM
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WEST Perth takes on last year's grand finalist East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval this Saturday with the Falcons out to win for the first time in three weeks in what will be their last game for three weeks.

The Falcons started the season so impressively with wins over East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder before the last two weeks losing hotly contested battles to reigning premiers Claremont and last year's preliminary finalists Swan Districts.

That has seen the Falcons fall from being 4-0 to 4-2 and now they will be desperate to enter a two-week break 5-2 rather than 4-3.

West Perth will not play again until taking on the improved Perth at Arena Joondalup on Saturday May 25 thanks to next week's state game and then the bye the following week.

This week's opponent East Fremantle is also on a 4-2 record making Saturday's clash take on even greater significance.

The Falcons lose Kody Manning to a season-ending knee injury that happened this week at training with James Batterham, James Embley and Trent Manzone pushing for a call up in the line-up.

Veteran defender Michael Pettigrew will return to strengthen the back-line further, though, after missing last week due to work commitments in the Pilbara.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan is in his fifth year in charge and has enjoyed some mixed results at East Fremantle Oval over that time.

There was a 25-point loss in Round 5, 2009, a terrific 34-point win in Round 12, 2010, a 23-point win in Round 4, 2011 and then a forgettable 103-point hammering in Round 22 last year with the Sharks heading for the finals and the Falcons just out of the race.

Monaghan knows that East Fremantle will be a huge challenge this Saturday, but is fully aware that it's a crucial game in the context of the Falcons' season and despite the losses the last two weeks, still has seen enough good signs from his side to suggest they can get the job done.

"We've had mixed success down at East Fremantle Oval but it doesn’t hold any fears for us. We have played some really good footy there and the one that sticks out was Jason's 150th there when we were outstanding, but last year we had a terrible game there," Monaghan said.

"We don't think it's an issue playing East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval. We just believe that if we can put 100 per cent of effort 100 per cent of the time that we can match it with any side. We showed that against Claremont who are still the trendsetters and Swans are around the money too.

"To be competitive against three and-a-half quarters is disappointing, but most sides are competitive and I would expect Swans to push for a spot in the four.

"The two losses we've had haven’t been against poor position, we have lost to quality teams and we have done well enough to be in both games and a winning chance. We are confident that what we are doing is right, we just need to finish off better especially with our foot skills."

BY CHRIS PIKE