SFC 2015: Round 23 Preview
Friday, 28 August 2015
Two of the WAFL’s in form teams will meet on the last game of the regular season as Subi battle East Perth in Round 23.
The Lions have already locked up first position but are fine-tuning their starting line-up on the eve of September. East Perth have locked in a finals position but could finish anywhere from third to fifth.
A healthy percentage of 115.6 help the Royals but they will be hunting for a win to give them the best opportunity in finals.
The two sides have developed an interesting rivalry since becoming co-tenants at Leederville Oval in 2005, which reached a narrative climax in last year’s grand final.
The over-whelming favourites East Perth had a strong contingent of West Coast players but couldn’t get it done against a gritty Lions side, Subi winning by 16 points on a waterlogged Domain Stadium surface.
Consecutive grand final losses would undoubtedly still burn for the Royals and they’ll be out to exact revenge on Saturday.
Subiaco are likely to field on of their strongest sides of the year with no time to rest. The Lions selected a near full-strength side against East Fremantle last week and comprehensively over-powered the lowly Sharks.
Midfielders Kyal Horsley, Sam Menegola, Leigh Kitchin, Brett Mahoney, Brett Robinson, Chris Phelan and Scott Hancock are simultaneously healthy for the first time this year and it spells ominous signs for the rest of the league.
The full strength Lions midfield group ran rings around East Fremantle in Round 22 and will look to do the same against the Royals.
On form the Lions would be the favourites winning six of their last seven including a 23-point triumph over the Royals in Round 16. The Royals have won five of their last six.
OUTTA THE BLOCKS
The Lions will need to be switched on against the Royals who are one of the fastest starting teams in the WAFL. East Perth blew alignment rivals Peel out of the water in the first quarter of Round 21; making the Thunder pay for their poor kicking. Subi will have to hit their targets and kick straight to stave off the hungry Royals early.
Although Subi have one of the strongest midfield groups in the competition the Royals would argue they’re equally as stocked. Steven Payne has had an incredible year for the black and blue and sits 11th with 458 total disposals. Brendan Lee, Kane Lucas, Craig Wulff and Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls have also been playing well in the back half of the year.
JUMPING FOR JOY
Subi will prepare for another bout with Royals ruck veteran Paul Johnson this weekend with a different look ruck outfit. Lions youngster Dave Madut faced Johnson last time but is on the sideline with an ankle injury. Utilities Lachlan Delahunty and Clancy Wheeler manned the ruck against the Sharks last week but Subi make look towards the maturing Jordan Bestry to add extra height.