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Round 15 Preview v South Fremantle

Friday, July 16, 2021 - 2:32 PM by Chris Pike

SWAN Districts is at home to South Fremantle for the first time in more than two years on Saturday and it's a real chance for the black-and-whites to signal their intentions for this season against the reigning premiers.

Swans host the Bulldogs on Saturday in what shapes as a fascinating contest and if the black-and-whites can snap their seven-game losing run against the reigning premiers, their stocks in 2021 really go on the rise heading towards a return to the finals.

Swans come into the clash at home on the back of winning their past two matches to Subiaco and the West Coast Eagles by a combined three points, but the two thrilling victories have them solid inside the top five with a 7-4 record.

South Fremantle has also won its past two matches against Perth and Claremont to still be in third spot but with an 8-3 record they are only percentage off top spot and the Bulldogs could very well end the round in top spot should other results go their way.

It looms as a fascinating battle on Saturday afternoon especially considering both teams haven’t played another at all since Round 5 last year when South Fremantle beat Swan Districts by 20 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

From there, the Bulldogs went on to win the premiership in 2020 while Swans missed out on playing finals and now they haven’t met yet in 2021 with their scheduled game for earlier in the season cancelled thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Not only is this the first meeting between the two teams since August 15 last year, it's the first time they've played at the Bassendean venue since Round 1, 2019.

South Fremantle has also enjoyed life against Swan Districts in recent times with the Bulldogs coming into Saturday's game on a seven-game winning streak against Swans with an average winning margin of 38.9 points.

South Fremantle has also won on its last two visits to Steel Blue Oval winning by four points in Round 1 last year and then by 30 points back in Round 19, 2018.

The last win for Swan Districts against South Fremantle came on home soil way back in Round 2, 2017 when the black-and-whites prevailed by 21 points.

That 2017 season was the last time Swans have reached the finals as well and the Bulldogs ended up ending their campaign with an 80-point first semi-final hammering at Fremantle Community Bank Oval later in the year.

Saturday's game could be a significant one for both clubs though. A win for Swan Districts would put them right in the hunt for a top three finish while a loss will make that job significantly harder especially given their percentage.
South Fremantle will enhance their top two prospects with a win on Saturday while a loss will have the Bulldogs just fighting to cling to third position.

Swan Districts consolidated fourth position with their tight win over West Coast last week and now their defence gets a significant boost to take on South Fremantle with the return of 167-game veteran Alex Howard.

Jake Dugan, Nathan Ireland and Greg Ottaviano are the other players that the black-and-whites have added to their extended squad at this stage ahead of the clash with the Bulldogs.

Swan Districts coach Adam Pickering is looking forward to the challenge against South Fremantle.

"I think we can get the win. In my time here I think we've lost a game with a kick after the siren to them and even last year we were in front down at South with four minutes to go so we've had some really good games against where I felt like we could or should have come away with the win," Pickering told 6PR during the week.

"And I feel like the group has a little bit more maturity about them this year and they are handling pressure situations better against good teams. If we bring our best I know we are going to be in it with a chance by the end of the game."

South Fremantle got over Claremont by a point last week and did so without captain Dylan Main, vice-captain Mason Shaw and premiership ruckman Brock Higgins.

Only Bernie Naylor Medallist Shaw will be right to return this Saturday to take on Swan Districts while exciting young forward Jesse Motlop will also make his league debut after earning a taste of senior football in the reserves last week.

Jaxon Bellchambers and Matthew Ward have both been included into the squad for the Bulldogs as well after good form recently in the reserves.




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