Steve Malaxos. Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian.
Steve Malaxos. Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian.

East Fremantle are in a good position to claim a finals berth ahead of reigning premiers West Perth, but can't afford to rest on their laurels ahead of today's game against an improved Peel Thunder at East Fremantle Oval.

The Sharks sit in fourth spot, three wins clear of the Falcons, and a win would further strengthen their chances of returning to the finals, which they missed last year after playing in the 2012 grand final.

But coach Steve Malaxos wants his players to focus on the immediate task at hand - beating Peel - rather than looking towards September.

"We haven't made the finals yet," Malaxos said.

"We haven't won enough games, so we've got to strive to win enough games to make the finals.

"We're on nine wins and that's not going to be enough."

Peel suffered a major blow when they lost influential ruckman Jon Griffin, who was called into the Dockers squad to replace injured big man Aaron Sandilands.

Griffin has averaged 29 hit-outs in 13 games for Peel this season, more than any other regular ruckman in the competition.

The Thunder's lead ruck role will fall to Dockers youngster Jack Hannath, who ranks 12th in the WAFL for hit-outs this season while playing second fiddle to Griffin for most of the year.

"They've still got pretty good ruckmen," Malaxos said.

"Hannath has played AFL footy and I'd imagine that he's chomping at the bit to be the No.1 ruckman there.

"The people who get a go are as hungry as hell."

East Fremantle have relied on a combination of ruckmen this season, rather than an established No.1 big man.

It has served the team well, with former Peel big man James Bristow, Rob Young and Danny Chartres shouldering the bulk of the load.

"I've been quite pleased with how they've gone in the ruck really," Malaxos said.

"How we go in the ruck needs to be looked at as a combination of all those three guys at the end of the day."

Subiaco have lost mobile tall Lachlan Delahunty to a medial ligament strain, which will keep him sidelined for a month, but will regain the services of leading goal kicker Matt Boland for today's game against Perth at Medibank Stadium after a hamstring injury.

Mark Deaves has been called up by Perth after kicking eight goals in the reserves last week.

The Demons will be out to end an eight-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, two patches of turf have been relaid at Claremont Showground after the surface deteriorated over the past few weeks.

Claremont will look to bounce back from last week's loss to Peel when they host finals-bound Swan Districts today.

The Tigers have named Luke Blackwell and Jake Murphy to return.

The West Australian

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