GOOD Friday football is back in the WAFL in 2018 and what better way to open the new season than two massive Round 1 matches as reigning premiers Peel Thunder host big off-season movers East Fremantle and Leederville Oval co-tenants Subiaco and East Perth also lock horns.
There could be no more mouth-watering way for the new season to begin than the two Good Friday clashes as the 2018 WAFL campaign gets underway.
Peel Thunder is coming off winning the past two WAFL premierships so begin their quest for a historic hat-trick with a home opener at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Good Friday against East Fremantle.
IT was an exciting Round 1 of the 2018 AFL season with six players drafted out of the WAFL making their debuts on top of several others playing their first matches at new clubs.
It was the opening round of the 2018 AFL season last weekend and that saw Bailey Banfield, Zac Langdon, Aaron Naughton, Tim Kelly, Liam Ryan and Jake Waterman all make their debuts at the top level.
Meanwhile, Jarrod Garlett, Brandon Matera and Charlie Cameron also made their first appearances at their new clubs.
The 2018 McDonald's WAFL Premiership Season was officially launched at a special event hosted by the WA Football Commission at Optus Stadium on Wednesday March 28.
More than a hundred people filled the Locker Room at the new stadium including representatives of the competition's major broadcast sponsors - Channel 7, McDonald's TABtouch, KIA, and Optus.
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THE 2018 WAFL season begins with a bang this Good Friday with Peel Thunder chasing a third straight premiership but Subiaco and South Fremantle are looking to make up for being so close the last two years while the rest of the competition want to be in the hunt too.
It is shaping as a fascinating WAFL season with an influx of top-class talent right across the board.
Peel Thunder has won the past two WAFL premierships and there's no reason to suggest they won't be around the make in the chase of a third straight flag in 2018.
TABtouch, the wagering arm of Racing and Wagering WA (RWWA) has partnered with the WAFL in an exciting new initiative that will see local clubs directly benefit from the partnership.
As a part of the agreement TABtouch will give a portion of every dollar bet back to WAFL clubs when a new TABtouch account is opened and when any bets are placed at a WAFL game.
WE are now just days away from the opening of the 2018 WAFL season with the final pre-season results seeing wins for Subiaco, Peel Thunder, Swan Districts and South Fremantle – the top four teams from 2017 – across the weekend.
Round 1 of the 2018 WAFL season now begins on Good Friday with Peel Thunder playing East Fremantle at Bendigo Bank Stadium while Subiaco also plays East Perth at Leederville Oval.
Then on Saturday the other two matches in Round 1 sees West Perth take on Claremont at HBF Arena and Perth play Swan Districts at Lathlain Park.
ADDING some AFL Grand Final and WAFL premiership experience in Nick Suban is a boost for South Fremantle but really coach Todd Curley is looking for the Bulldogs to be better against the league's best teams when it matters after reaching the past two preliminary finals.
Having not played finals between 2012 and 2015, South Fremantle became a top team again by 2016 in Curley's second season at the helm as coach.
They finished both the 2016 and 2017 seasons in second position at the end of the home and away campaigns. In 2016, they went on to thrash West Perth in the qualifying final before losing to Subiaco in the second semi-final and then Peel Thunder in the preliminary final.
TWO premierships the past two WAFL seasons have Peel Thunder well and truly the hunted coming into 2018, but for coach Cam Shepherd it also has them a club people want to be part of and he has no reason to think they can't give a hat-trick a real crack.
It's remarkable to think that four years ago Peel Thunder had never played in a WAFL final since entering the competition in 1997.
They first qualified for finals in 2015 and ended up playing in two finals, but lost to West Perth at HBF Arena and then to East Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium to bow out in straight sets.
The 2018 McDonald's WAFL Premiership Season kicks off this Easter long-weekend, and what better way to celebrate the season launch than with the McDonald's WAFL Easter Egg Hunt!
We will hide an easter egg a day (total of five eggs) on our website starting Monday 26 March. Clues on where these eggs are located will be posted daily on our social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help you out.
BEING too successful during the home and away season is something that Subiaco coach Jarrod Schofield felt might have ultimately hurt the Lions in the past two WAFL Grand Finals so some added flexibility with player positions and game style will be a focus coming into 2018.
Subiaco has played in the last four WAFL Grand Finals including finishing on top of the ladder the past three years accumulating a 52-8 win-loss record throughout the home and away seasons.
It started off by winning a second straight premiership in 2015 but despite their home and away season dominance over the past two seasons, they have lost both Grand Finals to Peel Thunder. That has been increasingly difficult for Schofield and his playing group to stomach.
THEY might have lost some quality and experience from their tall brigade, but West Perth coach Bill Monaghan is confident some youth and returning to a stronger defensive mindset will continue to have the Falcons around the mark in 2018.
West Perth again reached finals in 2017 but that was only on the back of a stirring last round victory over Claremont before an unceremonious exit the next week at the hands of Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval.
In some ways, it was the end of an era for a West Perth team that had won a premiership in 2013, made a grand final in 2015 and then also reached finals the previous two seasons – but really that is only on the surface.
THE second round of WAFL pre-season fixtures took place on Saturday with South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Perth and West Perth coming away with victories just two weeks out from Round 1 of the 2018 season.
The opening round of the official pre-season fixtures took place the previous Saturday with wins for Subiaco against West Perth, East Perth over East Fremantle, Peel Thunder against Claremont and South Fremantle over Swan Districts.
Then on Saturday, there were four more matches with South Fremantle beating East Perth 15.7 (97) to 6.3 (39), Peel Thunder defeating Subiaco 14.8 (92) to 6.7 (43), Perth downing Claremont 10.2 (62) to 7.11 (53) and West Perth prevailing over East Fremantle 14.12 (96) to 6.8 (44).
Optus has committed to supporting football in Western Australia as a new premier partner of the West Australian Football Commission and an official broadcast partner of the West Australian Football League.
The partnership will see Optus launch the ‘Optus Club Hero of the Week’ initiative aimed at rewarding volunteers from grassroots football clubs with unique experiences at Optus Stadium.
The partnership will also include naming rights to the official WAFL App and the 7 Network’s WAFL half time segment.
Kia Motors has formed a new partnership with the West Australian Football Commission to support community football at all levels throughout the State.
The partnership will feature benefits that extend from junior football through to the West Australian Football League, including branding across community football, vehicles for WAFC development staff, and supporting the 7 Network’s television coverage of the WAFL.
Kia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said the partnership was a great opportunity to drive growth for both football and Kia in Western Australia.
EAST Perth missed finals for the first time in six years in 2017 but a couple of players back from the AFL along with emerging colts and players from within the Royals' zone is giving coach Luke Webster plenty of confidence of bouncing back in 2018.
Following five straight years of playing finals, which included Grand Final appearances in 2013 and 2014, East Perth was in the mix again in 2017 until losing the last two games of the season to Perth and Subiaco to end up finishing sixth with a 9-11 record.
As an East Perth premiership player and former captain himself, Webster is passionate about ensuring the Royals are back to being a force in the WAFL in 2018 while also acknowledging they need to keep doing the right thing in terms of helping develop the West Coast AFL-listed players.