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Round 17 Preview v Swan Districts

Friday, July 14, 2017 - 7:10 PM by Chris Pike
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SOUTH Fremantle is back to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to take on Swan Districts on Saturday looking for a fourth straight WAFL win and to retain the John Todd Cup.

It looms as a fascinating contest between two clubs who would be expected to be playing finals in 2017 from here.

Both teams come into the game at the port in tremendous form as well with South Fremantle having beaten West Perth, Perth and Claremont the past three games to improve to a 10-4 record and to be solid in second position on the ladder.

The Bulldogs sit a game and percentage clear of the third placed Peel Thunder and fourth placed Swans with a win on Saturday on home turf further consolidating that top two position.

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Swans, meanwhile, have now returned to some strong winning form despite a run mid-season of losing four of five games between Rounds 8 and 13.

The black-and-whites continue to be well below full strength with the absence of the likes of Xavier Ellis, Matt Riggio, Jarrad Blight and Matthew Rogers but they are in some good winning form.

They have beaten East Perth, Perth and East Fremantle over the past three weeks to improve to a 9-5 record to be only percentage out of third spot but more importantly two games and percentage clear of the fifth placed West Perth who has the bye this round.

Not only will the winner of Saturday's game win a fourth straight match and continue their impressive form, but they will also be presented with the annual John Todd Cup.

That is named in honour of the WA football legend who became the youngest ever Sandover Medal winner during his playing career at South Fremantle. He also coached the Bulldogs to the 1997 premiership while also leading Swan Districts to a hat-trick of flags in 1982, 83 and 84.

The two teams have met just the once so far this season and that was back in Round 2 at Steel Blue Oval when Swan Districts shut down the running game of South Fremantle and took advantage of an inaccurate Bulldogs to record the 13.7 (85) to 8.16 (64) victory.

That result came after South Fremantle had defeated Swan Districts on the previous four occasions.

South Fremantle hasn’t named anyone out of its team at this stage from the 22 that all contributed strongly to a 25-point NAIDOC Round victory against Claremont at Claremont Oval last Saturday.

That served as a drought breaking win for the Bulldogs on two fronts with it being their first win at Claremont Oval since 2008 and first in NAIDOC Round since their premiership year of 2009.

Premiership-winning small forward Cory Dell'Olio could return after missing last week's win over Claremont with a sore calf while Chad Pearson and Tom Vandeleur are also in the mix to break into the in-form side.

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley is looking forward to an improved showing against Swans than in Round 2.

"They are well coached and they seem to be really well planned, so that's what we expect. They have some really good senior players who lead well on the ground too," Curley said.

"We just have to come to play and over the last couple of weeks we haven’t had great starts, but we are turning into a really strong and resilient group who believe that what we do is good enough if we stick to it.

"While the last two weeks our starts have been poor, the signs have been good that we've had things not go our way and then to turn it around you probably learn more from that."

Swan Districts could welcome back some key players from the side that had to work hard to overcome East Fremantle by seven points at Steel Blue Oval last Saturday.

The key inclusion will be co-captain Tallan Ames who will be desperately needed down back to help Swans match up on South Fremantle's forwards including Ben Saunders, Mason Shaw and Zac Strom.

Tom Smirk, Laurence Grescos and Josh Cipro are the other Swan Districts players in the chop up at the selection table to break into the side to take on South Fremantle.

ROUND 17 – JOHN TODD CUP
SOUTH FREMANTLE v SWAN DISTRICTS – FREMANTLE COMMUNITY BANK OVAL, SATURDAY 2.15PM
Broadcast –
720 ABC Perth, KIX Digital

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