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Saturday, June 1, 2024 - 6:00 AM by Chris Pike

WITH both teams having won premierships in the last four years, third position by the end of the long weekend going on the line and so much at stake, the 2024 edition of the ISC WA Day Derby is looming as a classic.

South Fremantle will play host to East Fremantle for the historic and traditional encounter this Monday afternoon on WA Day at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

For so many reasons it is shaping as a memorable occasion including the fact that East Fremantle is fresh off a premiership in 2023 to end a 25-year drought and South Fremantle's last triumph of 2020 is still fresh in the memory.

Then also coming into the WA Day round and South Fremantle is currently sitting in third position on the WAFL ladder with a 5-2 record on the season and attempting to bounce back from last week's loss to Peel Thunder.

East Fremantle also comes into the encounter just behind in fourth place on the WAFL ladder having won four of seven games for the season including three of the past four to now be starting to build some momentum.

That all sets the stage for a terrific encounter on an occasion where plenty is planned to make it a memorable day for everyone attending at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Even though East Fremantle snapped the overall longest ever 15-game derby winning run of South Fremantle in the Round 16 meeting last year, the Bulldogs' streak on WA Day continues coming into the 2024 encounter.

The two proud clubs have met 61 times previously on what was once Foundation Day and now is WA Day dating back to 1907, and since 1978 it has been a locked in annual event aside from the COVID year of 2000.

Overall, South Fremantle has won 36 of the 61 holiday Monday encounters including the past six with the last win on the occasion for East Fremantle coming all the way back in 2016 with the 39-point win in front of over 5000 fans at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Monday's game will be the 11th WA Day Derby held at Fremantle Community Bank Oval this century as well with South Fremantle winning five of those including the historic 157-point hammering with the record score of 35.13 (223) to 9.12 (66) in 2006.

The biggest crowd for a WA Day Derby at Fremantle Community Bank Oval this century was the 8251 that attended the 2010 edition when the Bulldogs were reigning premiers and had a team featuring Cory Dell'Olio, Kris Miller, Ryan Murphy, Craig White, Jaymie Graham, Scott Thornton, Kyle and Ashton Hams, Sam Hunt, Toby McGrath and Josh Head.

However, there is every chance for a biggest crowd for the occasion this century this Monday should the weather fine up and with the way both teams are travelling so far in 2024 to currently be sitting third and fourth respectively.

South Fremantle defender, and sometimes, forward Noah Strom has now played in five WA Day Derby match ups against East Fremantle and is yet to taste a defeat on the historic occasion.

Overall, he has played against the Sharks 12 times for 11 wins across his 112-game career and he will be looking to keep that streak going this Monday even though he'll have a new opponent with Jono Marsh not available for East Fremantle.

"I think the rivalry is still pretty strong for sure," Strom said.

"With both teams obviously located in Fremantle and then even with East Fremantle having some success last year, that was awesome for them and only helps build up to this game.

"It's a game that a lot of people talk about in the build up and obviously it's been a massive rivalry for a long time, and it definitely feels like it still is.

"You have to give props anytime someone else does so congratulations to them for what they did last year, but hopefully we have their number again this weekend."

The action on Monday will begin with the reserves encounter on WA Day from 10.25am between South Fremantle and East Fremantle. The league match will begin at 1.10pm with the colts contest to then follow at 4pm.