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Reserves Grand Final Preview v Subiaco

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 12:46 AM by Chris Pike
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SOUTH Fremantle is looking to capitalise on a tremendous season in the Reserves by winning the Grand Final against Subiaco on Sunday for a third flag in five years, and first under new coach Paul Litherland.

South Fremantle and Subiaco do battle in the 2017 WAFL Reserves Grand Final on Sunday at Subiaco Oval with bounce down set for 11.20am.

It will be streamed live by Footy Radio and made available on the WAFL Facebook page as well as through the WAFL App.

South Fremantle's reserves finished as minor premiers with a 16-4 record at the end of the home and away season. 

The Bulldogs lost in the opening round to Subiaco by a point at Fremantle Community Bank Oval before going on to win their next seven matches straight including a 29-point victory over the Lions at Leederville Oval in Round 9.

South Fremantle went on to secure top position to earn the break in the first week of the finals while Subiaco finished the season in third position with an 11-9 record.

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The Lions took on Claremont in the qualifying final winning a thriller by two points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval setting up a second semi-final meeting with South Fremantle.

Despite the Bulldogs having earned home ground advantage, it was the Lions who got the benefit of hosting the clash at Leederville Oval. But South Fremantle proved too good winning by 37 points to move straight into the Grand Final.

That meant Subiaco had to play Claremont in last Sunday's preliminary final at Leederville Oval with the Lions again prevailing by 21 points to book a spot in the Grand Final on Sunday against South Fremantle.

South Fremantle is attempting to win a third reserves premiership in the past five years. Tony Walters was coach for those triumphs in 2013 and 2015, but this year it is Paul Litherland in his first season in charge of the Bulldogs reserves.

Subiaco last won a reserves premiership in 2007 with the Lions' last Grand Final appearance being a loss to West Perth in 2014.

Both teams are going to have some difficult selection decisions to make with South Fremantle now set to have to select a reserves team for the first time in 2017 without their league side in action.

From the South Fremantle league side that lost the preliminary final to Subiaco last week, Jacob Dragovich, Matthew Parker, Tom Vandeleur and Zac Strom are eligible to come back to play in the reserves Grand Final on Sunday.

The wet weather might make it difficult for coach Litherland to play all of Zac Strom, Noah Strom, Jake Solomon, Josh Branchi and Mitch Dzelebdzic as well, but all are deserving of selection.

It is an impressive group of South Fremantle players heading into the reserves Grand Final that not only includes those league players and impressive talls, but also Brandon Donaldson, Jake Florenca, Jarrod Parry, Chad Pearson and Kyle Russell who have played good league football.

A host of Subiaco players will line-up in the reserves Grand Final on Sunday feeling hard done by to be there and not in the league decider later in the day against Peel Thunder. 

That will likely leave them determined to go back to the reserves and prove a point and there will be no one with that attitude more so than Greg Clark. He played 13 games during the season at league level plus both finals but has lost his place for the Grand Final.

Chris Bryan is the other player to drop back after last week's preliminary final at league level that Subiaco won over South Fremantle while on the same day Subiaco's reserves beat Claremont with Chris Phelan earning a recall by getting through that unscathed.

Clark, Bryan and Simon Parry are the emergencies for Subiaco's league side so if all play in the reserves then the Lions won't be making any late changes.

That trio aren’t the only ones who deserve to consider themselves unlucky to not be there in the league side with others including Brayden Ainsworth, Bailey Matera, Dylan Nelson, Adam Creeper, James Garcia and Matt Bogensperger.

With plenty of players in both line-ups who played impressive league football throughout 2017 and two proud playing groups wanting to taste premiership glory in the last ever Grand Final day at Subiaco Oval, the reserves contest shapes as a beauty.

RESERVES GRAND FINAL
SOUTH FREMANTLE v SUBIACO – DOMAIN STADIUM, SUNDAY 11.20AM
Broadcast –
Footy Radio

RESERVES TEAMS, LIVE STATS