Round 2 Preview v Subiaco

Saturday, April 7, 2018 - 8:58 AM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle has had to wait an extra week but will look to begin its 2018 WAFL season in style on Saturday against Subiaco at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

South Fremantle has reached preliminary finals the past two years and the Bulldogs are looking to further improve on that now in 2018.

After the opening round bye, the quest to do that begins on Saturday against Subiaco at the port with the twilight bouncedown time of 4.15pm.

The colts match between the Bulldogs and Lions begins at 11am with the reserves contest to begin at 1.30pm.

South Fremantle had the bye in Round 1 with an extra week to finalise preparations for the 2018 season.

Over the pre-season, the Bulldogs looked good recording a two-point victory against Swan Districts, a 58-point win against East Perth and then an 80-point win over Perth.

That built some confidence for South Fremantle ahead of the week off last weekend and now preparing to take on Subiaco at Fremantle Community Bank Oval this Saturday.

That's a Subiaco team that is going to take some stopping. The Lions have reached the past four WAFL Grand Finals and made quite the statement in Round 1 with the huge win against Leederville Oval co-tenants East Perth.

There was plenty to like from a Subiaco perspective with the forward-line looking especially potent with Brad Stevenson kicking seven goals, Rhys Waters five, Ben Sokol three, Ryan Borchet three, Daniel Perkins two, Lachlan Delahunty two and Kyle Halligan two.

Kyal Horsley also racked up 27 possessions, Josh Deluca 23 and Ben Newton 20 in the midfield with Leigh Kitchin contributing 17 as well.

The Subiaco back-line got the job done too as the Lions showed they are not lacking any motivation in an attempt to make up for the Grand Final losses of the previous two seasons.

While South Fremantle did beat Subiaco impressively by 39 points in Round 1 last year at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, the Lions bounced back to beat the Bulldogs by 39 points in Round 9 at Leederville Oval and then by 32 points in the preliminary final.

South Fremantle had started that preliminary final on fire with the first three goals but Subiaco responded with eight of the next 10 majors to take control and then book a spot in a fourth straight Grand Final.

Subiaco has certainly had the wood over South Fremantle in recent times having won eight of the past nine meetings. Those eight victories have come at an average of 38.5 points.

Going back even further, since South Fremantle beat Subiaco in the 2009 Grand Final, the Lions have won 17 of the past 23 meetings between the two teams.

Most tellingly, despite South Fremantle's improvement over the past two years to reach consecutive preliminary finals, Subiaco beat them in last year's preliminary final and in the second semi-final of 2016.

There was little reason for South Fremantle to change too much in terms of personnel following the 2017 season. The major change for the Bulldogs is the loss of Tim Kelly to Geelong in the AFL while the recruitment of Nick Suban from Fremantle will help offset that.

Suban played 156 matches in the AFL for the Dockers, including the 2013 Grand Final, while also is a triple premiership player in the WAFL from Claremont in 2012, and Peel Thunder the past two years.

Other new faces in the Bulldogs squad for Round 1 include potential debutants Josh Collard and Noah Strom while Jarrod Parry looks set to play his first league game since Round 23, 2015.

Cory Dell'Olio is missing for South Fremantle having suffered a four-week suspension during the pre-season.

There was little reason for change at Subiaco following the 118-point win against East Perth to open the season, but Michael Braut, Ethan Burnett, Jordan Lockyer, Chris Phelan, Mckenzie Lawrence and Braden Fimmano have all been added to the squad.

Max Walters, Daniel Perkins and Greg Clark are three players to go out of the Lions line-up.

Broadcast –
91.3 SportFM, Footy Radio (WAFL App)