ANZAC ROUND PREVIEW V SWAN DISTRICTS
WEST Perth bounced back impressively last week to beat Peel Thunder and will look to make it two wins in-a-row hosting the undefeated Swan Districts in the annual ANZAC Round clash at HBF Arena on Saturday.
The two teams do battle in the ANZAC Round for the sixth straight time with Swans having won the first three of those meetings and the Falcons the last two.
Two weeks ago West Perth was rocked with a 103-point loss to South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
But the Falcons bounced back impressively on Good Friday to beat reigning premiers Peel Thunder by 35 points at Bendigo Bank Stadium to improve to a 2-2 record on the season.
Swan Districts is yet to taste defeat in 2017 after winning just two games in all of 2016.
The black-and-whites had a solid 32-point victory over East Fremantle last Saturday on the back of victories against Perth, South Fremantle and East Perth.
West Perth will move into the top five with a victory while Swan Districts will go to the top of the ladder if they win with South Fremantle still to play on Tuesday.
The game is the sixth straight year that West Peth and Swan Districts have met as part of ANZAC Round in the WAFL with the annual contest beginning back in 2012.
On that occasion it was Swans winning at HBF Arena by 36 points with Tim Geappen kicking five goals.
A year later Swans prevailed by 28 points again at the Joondalup venue and this time it was Dayle Garlett delivering a stunning performance with 29 possessions and two goals as the black-and-whites took out the win with six goals to one in the final term.
The 2014 contest at Steel Blue Oval was another fascinating one with Andrew Krakouer playing against his former side for West Perth. He kicked 3.4 from seven kicks as well but Swans held on to win by seven points.
West Perth broke through after losing the previous three meetings to win in 2015 by seven points at HBF Arena in front of well over 3000 fans.
It was back to Steel Blue Oval for the ANZAC Round game last year and it was West Perth who won by 23 points with Aaron Black and Shane Nelson combining for 60 possessions.
There is also the added interest in the contest with former Swans forward Rudy Riddoch playing his second game since moving to West Perth and the first against his former club.
West Perth made some big changes last week that paid off against the Thunder and none more so than throwing Scott Simpson into the ruck at the expense of Seva Mozhaev.
The only way that could work was with Mark Hamilton standing tall in defence and having a good battle with Matt Taberner.
But Hamilton is out this week against Swan Districts meaning that Simpson will likely be needed in defence with West Perth needing match ups for Swans' tall forwards Ricky Cary, Brayden Noble and resting ruckman either Corey Gault or Jake Nuich.
That means that Mozhaev likely returns to play in the ruck for West Perth on Saturday.
However, there remains a chance that Sam Rotham replaces Hamilton in a straight swap of key defenders to allow Simpson to remain in the ruck.
Brayden Antonio had another 24 possessions and six goals in the reserves last week for West Perth as he tries to force his way into the team.
Ben McGillivray is also a chance to come in and play his first league game of the season for the Falcons.
There's little reason for change at Swan Districts following four straight wins to start the season but Hawthorn premiership player and former Eagle Xavier Ellis looks set to return to add further quality after he missed last week's win over East Fremantle.
Levi Ridley, Jacob Coniglio and Josh Cipro are the other three Swans players who have put themselves in contention for selection with some solid reserves form.
Powerful half-forward Matthew Rogers is the only out of the Swans team at this stage from the 22 that beat the Sharks last Saturday.
WEST PERTH v SWAN DISTRICTS – HBF ARENA, SATURDAY 2.15PM
Broadcast – Footy Radio (WAFL App)