Saturday, April 7, 2018 - 8:49 AM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth started the 2018 WAFL season impressively last Saturday and will look to keep that going this Saturday against East Perth at Leederville Oval.

The Falcons started 2018 with an 18-point victory over Claremont last Saturday at HBF Arena. East Perth struggled, meanwhile, losing on Good Friday to Subiaco by 118 points.

West Perth will now head to Leederville Oval full of confidence on Saturday looking to improve to 2-0 and inflict some more pain on East Perth.

The day's action gets underway at Leederville Oval with the colts contest at 9am. West Perth's colts narrowly lost to Claremont by 17 points last Friday afternoon.

Then the reserves match gets underway at 11.30am with West Perth coming off a 61-point loss to Claremont last Saturday at HBF Arena.

The league fixture gets underway from 2.15pm and will be broadcast live both digitally on KIX Digital and Footy Radio.

East Perth missed out on finals action last year for the first time since 2011 and were hoping to bounce back strongly in 2018. The Royals still might do that, but things couldn’t have got off to a worse start on Good Friday with the 118-point loss at the hands of Subiaco.

It was a Royals team that appeared lacking too much in size, experience and leadership. Fraser McInnes did the best he could but couldn't be everywhere as an experienced big man while defensively they struggled in the absence of Kyle Anderson and Tom Gorter.

Losing Jackson Ramsay to a knee injury didn’t help their cause either and it was just an afternoon to forget for the Royals.

But they have a chance to bounce back strongly and put that behind them at Leederville Oval on Saturday against West Perth.

That's a Falcons team that showed some encouraging signs in their own season-opener last Saturday beating Claremont by 18 points at HBF Arena on the back of dominant midfield performances from Aaron Black, Shane Nelson, Trent Manzone and Luke Meadows, and a strong debut from Liam Tedesco.

If West Perth is able to back that impressive performance up and win over East Perth on Saturday, it will be a terrific way for the Falcons to begin the new season on the back of another finals appearance in 2017 but disappointing elimination final exit at the hands of Swan Districts.

This will be the 344th meeting in history between the Perth derby rivals with East Perth narrowly leading the way with 172 wins to 165 from West Perth. They have played out six draws.

They did battle three times in 2017 with West Perth winning by 21 points in Round 2 at HBF Arena before East Perth prevailed by 46 points on WA Day at Leederville Oval. The Royals then scored a thumping 84-point triumph at HBF Arena in Round 20.

It was a strong showing by West Perth on home turf last Saturday to beat Claremont and as a result there was little reason for coach Bill Monaghan to look to make too many changes.

Forwards Rudy Riddoch and Michael Lourey appear to have shaken off injury concerns to have proven their fitness to be right to take their place in the team to take on the Royals at Leederville Oval on Saturday as well.

There is just the one change to the West Perth team from last week too with tagger Dean Munns going out of the team with Corey Chalmers making his return.

Chalmers had a tremendous 2017 season with the Falcons, the best of his career, where he played 21 games and averaged 18.7 possessions while kicking 25 goals.

He delivered 24 possessions, six tackles, five marks and a goal in the reserves against Claremont last Saturday to earn his spot back in the line-up this week against the Royals.

East Perth will gladly welcome back Tom Gorter to strengthen its back-line to take on West Perth on Saturday. Tarir Bayok, Ben Miller, Nelson Waite, Ajang Ajang, Jaxon Cahill and Callan England all come into the squad as well for the Royals.

They are still expected to have the services of Brayden Ainsworth, Tom Cole and Mark Hutchings who weren’t quite able to break into the West Coast 22 to take on Geelong at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

But Jackson Ramsay is out of the Royals team with his knee injury.

Broadcast –
KIX Digital, Footy Radio (WAFL App)