SOUTH Fremantle and Claremont renew hostilities in finals once again on Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval remarkably for the fifth time in the past three years with a spot against Subiaco on the line.
The Bulldogs and Tigers have built up quite the rivalry in recent years and that has seen them play two finals each of the past two seasons with all four of them taking place at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
That will be the scene of Saturday's qualifying final once again with a spot in next weekend's second semi-final against Subiaco at Leederville Oval the prize on offer.
The loser will stay alive, though, and will host next week's first semi-final against either West Perth or Swan Districts.
Remarkably little separated the two teams by the end of the home and away season with both finishing with 13-5 records.
South Fremantle only ended up in second position courtesy of a 2.47 percentage advantage over Claremont which is why Saturday's qualifying final will be played at Fremantle Community Bank Oval and not Revo Fitness Stadium.
It's only fitting that the Bulldogs and Tigers meet once again in their fifth final clash of the past three years on the back of splitting the two clashes during 2021 with the home team winning on each occasion.
Going back to 2019 and South Fremantle beat Claremont in the qualifying and preliminary finals to end up playing in the Grand Final only to lose to Subiaco by 96 points.
Then it was Claremont who broke through to win last year's second semi-final by 47 points to be straight into the Grand Final but South Fremantle would join them there and end up winning a classic by three points.
All four of those games were held at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with South Fremantle winning three of the four while winning six of the last eight meetings overall with Claremont.
South Fremantle comes into the finals on the back of winning their last two matches against Swan Districts and the West Coast Eagles after being overrun up at Joondalup in Round 20 against West Perth.
This is a sixth consecutive finals campaign for the Bulldogs under coach Todd Curley on the back of three straight preliminary finals, a Grand Final appearance and then winning the premiership the previous five years.
From the Bulldogs team that beat the Eagles last week by 45 points, Jarrod Salmeri, Matthew Parker, Hamish Free, Blayne Wilson and captain Dylan Main are all included in the extended squad for the qualifying final with Trent Newton the only out at this stage.
Claremont, meanwhile, enters the finals on the back of three consecutive wins against Perth, West Coast and Swan Districts to do enough to finish third and secure a finals double chance.
Despite their growth into being a premiership contender again by winning a final in 2018, reaching the preliminary final in 2019 and the Grand Final in 2020, the Tigers did swap coaches over summer with Ashley Prescott returning at the expense of Darren Harris.
Claremont now has huge expectations of having nowhere up to go except winning the premiership in 2021 but at the least the Tigers have now put themselves back in a position where it's possible.
From the side that beat Swan Districts last Saturday, Claremont has added Bailey Bennett, Jacob Blight, Ben Edwards and Lachlan Martinis to the extended squad with no outs at this stage.
All three qualifying final match ups will be held at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday starting at 9.30am with the reserves contest between Swan Districts and Perth.
The winner will advance to play Claremont in a second semi-final while the loser will face the winner of the elimination final between Subiaco and West Perth in the first semi-final.
The colts qualifying final will then begin at 12pm with Claremont taking on East Perth. The winner will move into the second semi-final next week against Swan Districts while the loser will face the winner out of Sunday's East Fremantle-West Perth clash.
OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – FINALS SERIES
SOUTH FREMANTLE (13-5, 2nd) v CLAREMONT (13-5, 3rd) – FREMANTLE COMMUNITY BANK OVAL, SATURDAY 2.40PM
Live scores, stats
Livestream: Front Row Screens
Radio: 91.3 SportFM, SEN
SWAN DISTRICTS (11-5, 2nd) v PERTH (9-7, 3rd) – FREMANTLE COMMUNITY BANK OVAL, SATURDAY 9.30AM
Live scores, stats
CLAREMONT (12-4, 2nd) v EAST PERTH (11-5, 3rd) – FREMANTLE COMMUNITY BANK OVAL, SATURDAY 12.00PM
Live scores, stats ???????
Livestream: The West Australian