Inspirational co-captain Craig Wulff made a successful return from injury when East Perth beat South Fremantle by 61 points at Medibank Stadium today.
Wulff needed surgery after breaking and dislocating a finger in the round eight game against Claremont at the same ground.
The veteran midfielder slotted back into the Royals line-up seamlessly, finishing the match with 27 possessions, 12 marks and two goals.
East Perth’s other skipper, Brendan Lee, was the best player afield with 37 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances and six inside 50s in the 21.17 (143) to 12.10 (82) victory.
Others to play important roles for the winners were full back Kyle Anderson, West Coast squad members Callum Sinclair, Simon Tunbridge and Will Maginness, forwards Garry Moss and Josh Smith and wingman Freddie Clutterbuck.
Bulldogs captain Ryan Cook tried hard to lift his side with support from Ashton Hams, Haiden Schloithe, Tim Kelly, Anthony Collica and Adam Guglielmana.
The first half ended in controversial circumstances with a goal awarded to South Fremantle full forward Ben Saunders which clearly came after the siren for the long break.
Umpires claimed they had not heard the siren before Saunders kicked the ball.
East Perth led by 30 points at half time and only inaccurate kicking on goal prevented a greater difference on the scoreboard.
The match ebbed and flowed in the third term, the Royals extending their lead to 40 points at the last change.
South Fremantle won the colts by 15 points with the two sides fighting out a draw in the reserves.
The Royals finished with 16.5 (101) and the Bulldogs 15.11 (101).
Mitchell Howlett maintained his strong push for inclusion in the East Perth league team and teammate Dean Cadwallader also featured prominently.
Howlett, an emergency for the past two weeks, finished with 27 possessions, five marks and five inside 50s while Cadwallader had 27 disposals, 12 marks, six inside 50s and kicked two goals.