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Friday, July 5, 2024 - 2:10 PM by Chris Pike

ONE of the highlights of every WAFL season is the traditional NAIDOC Round match up for South Fremantle against Claremont with the Bulldogs looking to bounce back on Saturday at Revo Fitness Stadium.

South Fremantle and Claremont will play for the Jimmy Melbourne Cup in NAIDOC Week for the 18th year on Saturday when they do battle in what is a fascinating match up featuring two teams now in the top five.

The Bulldogs remain in third position on the WAFL ladder with a 7-4 record despite last week's narrow loss at Leederville to East Perth.

A win on Saturday against the Tigers and South Fremantle will retain that third position but also could have a chance to move up into a top two spot depending on other results.

It won't be easy against a Claremont team who comes into the match up on a four-game winning streak, though, with the Tigers now in fifth position with a 6-5 record on the season.

South Fremantle and Claremont began the NAIDOC Week concept in the WAFL back in 2007 by playing off for the Jimmy Melbourne Cup and with both teams wearing specially designed Indigenous themed jumpers to mark the occasions.

They have continued to do it every year since and will clash for the 18th time in NAIDOC Week this Saturday at Revo Fitness Stadium.

Claremont has won 11 of the previous 17 battles over the Jimmy Melbourne Cup since 2007 but South Fremantle has won last three of the last four only losing last year in a four-point thriller at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

From the South Fremantle team that lost narrowly to East Perth last week, Robbie Turnbull, Mitchell Sinnott and Chase Bourne come into the side to face Claremont on Saturday at Tigerland.

Going out for the Bulldogs are Ashton Ferreira, Manfred Kelly and Brandon Donaldson.

Claremont has won four straight games and as a result has no reason to change a winning team with no changes from last week's win against East Fremantle with Ashton Bryant, Sam Gilbey, Menno Inverarity and Jasper Peace the four emergencies.

Star South Fremantle midfielder Matthew Parker is in some scintillating form and he is excited for Saturday's occasion on a number of fronts.

"Being Indigenous, it's always a big week and for myself and the Brothers here as well, we love this round and the club stands strong with us," Parker said.

"They've supported us not only this round, but throughout the whole season and off-season. There can be a lot of challenges that nobody sees behind closed door or away from the footy, so it's good to have myself and the club and all the Brothers, and everyone here supporting us.

"That includes the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community all coming together when it comes to this round, which is good."

NAIDOC Round or not and Parker is fully aware of how big of a challenge Saturday's game with Claremont will be so he knows the Bulldogs can't afford another slow start.

"The whole WAFL is such a tight competition now and every team has lifted, which is good and what we want, but we know what we can do. We just need to bring that in the first quarter and play it out for the whole game," Parker said.

"If we can do that then I think it will be challenging for teams up against us, but we know they will be coming as well. We just need to stick to what we know and keep playing our game, and not being too safe."

The day's action at Revo Fitness Stadium gets underway on Saturday morning at 8.45am with the colts match up between South Fremantle and Claremont.

The Bulldogs come into the match up with a 3-6 record in the colts to be just a game outside of the top five following last week's 38-point victory against East Perth.

The reserves clash will then take place at 11.15am with South Fremantle currently sitting in fourth position with a 5-4 record coming off beating East Perth by six points last Saturday at Leederville.