Preview | WAFLW R13a: Perth Derby the Sunday special
A STANDALONE Perth Derby takes place in the WAFL Women’s competition tomorrow as Round 13 has a later start, and a smaller fixture than usual. Just the one game takes place on Sunday, with the Fremantle Derby on Monday before the four teams have a rest next weekend.
West Perth’s form has been up and down at times this season, but is far stronger than its 2022 season, already tallying up four wins from 11 games after a winless inaugural year. Victories over Subiaco and Peel Thunder (twice) show the Falcons are on the improve, while being expected to move three games clear of the Thunder with a win against the Royals. East Perth has shown competitiveness at times this season, but has also shown signs of fatigue, with next week’s bye coming at a good time.
West Perth has made the three changes with winger Jeevna Heer returning to the side along with Georgia Cowman and Keeley Oakes. Co-captain and defender Brooke Hongell will be a huge loss, with Natasha Spurr and Harriet Jones named as emergencies this week.
East Perth has wheeled out the four changes with skipper Jess Valvasori back into the team for Round 13, while Holly Gill, Bianca Glanville and Shannon De Bari also return. The Royals lose Sarah Madden for the clash, with Kelsey Lang dropping back to be an emergency.
The Falcons midfield of Emily Bennett, Taylor Ferguson and Bianca Webb are critical to the team’s success, with Heer and Elissa Price also taking a step up in 2023. Jess Roper and Grace Betti have found some nice form over the past month, while Kayla Van Den Heever is stringing together consistency as an inside midfielder.
East Perth has various players that step up on different days, but Matilda Bennett through the ruck, Madeleine Goodman in the middle and Julia Uhe in defence have been important. Ex-Tiger Jorja Elisseou has quickly become a strong mid-season inclusion, while Mel Hardy played well against her ex-Swans side last week.
West Perth has too much experience to drop this game, even with the loss of Hongell and missing the classy Megan Norbury, and should win the match fairly comfortably. Last season the Falcons were in the position the Royals are now, and will be looking to win each quarter by a couple of goals at least, while the visitors will focus on keeping competitive and restricting the opposition from scoring.