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Bulldogs confirm second position and home qualifying final

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 6:08 PM by Chris Pike
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SOUTH Fremantle is guaranteed of finishing in second position on the WAFL ladder for a second straight season but there's no danger of complacency as coach Todd Curley looks to ensure the Bulldogs are firing come finals time.

The Bulldogs have now won their past seven matches since a one-goal loss to reigning premiers Peel Thunder to be guaranteed of finishing in second spot.

Those wins against West Perth, Perth, Claremont, Swan Districts, East Perth, West Perth and East Fremantle have come at an average of 49.1 points to see South Fremantle currently sit on a 14-4 record.

The Bulldogs have games to come against Claremont at Claremont Oval this Saturday and then against Peel Thunder at Bendigo Bank Stadium in the final round following a bye.

By finishing second, South Fremantle is guaranteed of hosting a qualifying final in the opening week of the finals. That appears likely to be either against Peel Thunder or Swan Districts at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Win that and South Fremantle will be into the second semi-final to play minor premiers Subiaco at Leederville Oval. A loss and the Bulldogs will be back at Fremantle Community Bank Oval to play in a first semi-final against the winner of the elimination final from the opening week.

That second semi-final would have a grand final position at stake for the winner and South Fremantle would be straight into the big dance with a win over Subiaco. While a loss would mean a home preliminary final.

On a seven-game winning and guaranteed of finishing in second spot with three rounds and two games to go might look from the outside that things couldn’t get too much better for South Fremantle. 

But coach Todd Curley does see plenty of areas to improve in terms of the way they are playing and their consistency across the full four quarters.

Then on top of that, Ashton Hams, Jacob Dragovich and Brock Higgins will need to work their way back into the team.

Brendan Verrier, Jarrod Parry, Jake Florenca, Chris Luff, Brandon Donaldson, Zac Strom, Kyle Russell and Matthew Gundry are all currently in-form players in the reserves too who sit on top of the ladder desperate to get back into the league side.

While happy to be in winning form, Curley is looking forward to using the next three weeks to get things fine turned in time for that qualifying final.

"Sometimes results can gloss over areas of your game you need to get better at. While we are really pleased to be winning and continuing to play well in patches we aren’t glossing over where we need to improve. We'll keep working to get better," Curley said.

"The challenge for us I suppose over the next few weeks is to prepare well and improve each week to get ready for the games that matter. I don’t think our ladder position can change regardless of results but we want to be at our best come finals time. The last couple of weeks have been a bit sluggish even though we've won both games. There are definitely some areas we can get better in which is good because we will be striving to improve.

"We are guaranteed of finishing second now and if you told us in November at the first night of training that you would qualify second and have the double chance we would certainly take that. We have been really good for a long period of time but probably not at our best the last couple of weeks. We think we can get better."