AFL: Fremantle and West Coast JLT Series clash a first test for Arena upgrades

David Mundy looks to thwart Elliot Yeo in the sides' last pre-season clash at HBF Arena in 2014. Picture: Getty Images
David Mundy looks to thwart Elliot Yeo in the sides' last pre-season clash at HBF Arena in 2014. Picture: Getty Images

IT’S the first test for a new multi-million-dollar WAFL facility and the final pre-season audition for WA’s two AFL teams on Sunday.

Fremantle and West Coast clash at HBF Arena in the JLT Series in the first major event at West Perth’s home ground since completion of the $8.5 million headquarters in Joondalup.

The Falcons and the AFL will be hoping to eclipse the 10,737 spectators who witnessed the last pre-season derby at the arena in 2014.

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The lead-up to the game hasn’t all been smooth sailing for West Perth, with a major plumbing leak on the second level last week flooding through to the bottom floor.

There were concerns that damage could remain for the AFL pre-season clash, but it has since been rectified.

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The event will also mark West Perth chief executive Linda Hamersley’s first big event as Falcons boss.

Hamersley, who began last week, was looking to “hit the ground running” as she prepared for the occasion.

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For Eagles and Dockers fans, the match is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the players who are pressing for a round one spot.

West Coast defender Will Schofield said on Tuesday the side was particularly strong in the backline this year, putting pressure on spots for the Eagles’ opening game against Sydney on March 25.

“We’ve got three, four or five blokes pushing for that couple of spots, which is terrific… and it motivates me as well,” he said.

West Coast revealed this morning headliner Nic Naitanui would likely be playing in a practice match for East Perth against South Fremantle on Saturday at 11.30am, rather than the JLT match.

Dockers forward Matt Taberner spoke to media yesterday.

Taberner will be looking to secure a round one berth for Fremantle’s opener against Port Adelaide on March 24 having been unable to hold a regular position last season.

“Going back to Peel… I was still confident I could play good AFL football because I’ve done it in glimpses in the past,” he said.

Spectators are advised to take public transport to HBF Arena, but can purchase pre-paid parking for $8 through Ticketmaster.

No other parking will be available.

Bouncedown is at 4.05pm.

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