Gazette Sport Preview: Fremantle Hockey Club enter last round in fair shape, Bulldogs prepare for WAFL showdown with West Perth, and Cockburn Cougars ready for grand final

Fremantle’s League Men will be hoping a win will get them into the finals.
Fremantle’s League Men will be hoping a win will get them into the finals.


IT is the last round of the season and both of Fremantle Hockey Club’s top teams have something big to play for.

For the Promotion 1 women, a win last weekend would have seen them lock up top spot heading into the finals, but a shock 5-0 loss against Whitford now has them teetering on the edge of losing that spot to Hale.

Standing in the Magpies’ way is their bogey team this season Southern River, whom they have lost to both times the teams have faced each other this season.

Fremantle’s Erin Hall said the team had learnt from the last two games and were ready for them.

“As a team and individuals we have had the opportunity to refocus on some areas since our last encounter and in general we are working harder,” she said.

“I won’t give our game plan away but the outcome will speak to the success of our efforts on game day.”

A win would see Fremantle finish on top of the ladder, while a draw or a loss would see it slip to second if Hale beat the winless Rockingham.

For Fremantle’s League Men, only a win can keep them playing beyond this weekend.

Currently in sixth, with only the top five progressing to the finals, the men need to notch up a win against the second placed WASPS if they want a chance to leapfrog Hale and take fifth position.

Fremantle’s League Men play WASPS from 5pm tomorrow at the Perth Hockey Stadium, while the Promotion 1 women play Southern River from 4pm on Sunday at the same venue.

Football (WAFL)

The South Fremantle Bulldogs have found considerable form over the last month and now finds itself in a qualifying final with West Perth.

The Bulldogs finished second after the home and away matches and will host the Falcons at Fremantle Oval tomorrow.

The Bulldogs have won both clashes between the sides this year.

In round one Ben Saunders booted three goals and Brendan Verrier gathered 29 disposals to lead the Bulldogs to a 14.14 (98) to 9.9 (63) win at Fremantle Oval.

In the reverse fixture at Arena Joondalup in round 14, Saunders and Mason Shaw combined for 10 goals as the Bulldogs got the better of the hosts 16.6 (102) to 9.13 (67).

Saunders has had another productive season, leading the competition with 51 goals from 19 games.

He has kicked four goals in three of his last four games.

Shane Hockey sits as the Bulldogs’ best ball-winner for the season, averaging 24 disposals per game.

West Perth’s best ball winner for the season has been Aaron Black.

The 2014 Sandover Medallist and 2015 club best and fairest winner has averaged 28 disposals across 20 games.

He is averaging four tackles a game and has kicked 13 goals.

Michael Lourey has been West Perth’s biggest threat up forward.

Lourey has 36 goals from 20 games this season but he does have the potential to kick big bags.

Four times this season he has kicked four or more goals.

South Fremantle has won 93 of 155 clashes between the two teams at Fremantle Oval.

West Perth has 61 wins and the teams have tied once.

Bounce down is 2.10pm.

Peel Thunder will host East Perth in an elimination final at Rushton Park on Sunday.

Basketball (SBL)

The Cockburn Cougars is aiming to claim its first State Basketball League championship since 2012.

After finishing the season in top spot and making its way through the knockout stages, the number one seeds are just a day out from a grand final with Joondalup at the State Basketball Arena.

As with most grand finals, there is a hard-luck story.

This year that is Cougars captain Gavin Field.

Field injured his elbow in game one of the quarter-final series with Perry Lakes and faces six months on the sidelines.

Despite the heartbreak, he told the SBL website he believed his team could claim the championship.

“I believe our guys can do it,” he said.

“(Cougars Coach) Matt (Parsons) praises our depth and we have guys for example like Jaarod Holmes who started every game last year for Kalamunda and is only playing 10 minutes a game for us.

“We were 12 deep and now with me out, we go 11 deep so there’s plenty of scoring, defence and everything out there for our team.”

Tip-off 7.30pm tomorrow night.