South Fremantle key defender Dylan Ross has extra incentive to perform well against likely Subiaco opponent Matt Boland in tonight's game at Fremantle Oval.

Ross will look to build on his own good season and improve the chances of teammate Ben Saunders winning the Bernie Naylor Medal for the second time in three years.

Saunders has 49 goals, two more than Boland and seven clear of Swan Districts full- forward Ricky Cary in the race for the WAFL's leading goal kicker award.

Ross has lined up on Victorian recruit Boland in each of the games between the teams this year, the Lions' spearhead kicking four goals in round one and two in round 18.

"Matt's had a great year coming over from Melbourne," Ross said yesterday.

"Hopefully I can negate his influence on the game, keep him to as few goals as possible and give Ben Saunders a hand there as well and get him across the line for the Bernie Naylor.

"He got the better of me in round one and kicked four and I think I probably beat him last time we played them."

Ross said it was important the Bulldogs, winners of four of their past five matches, continued their strong finish to 2014 by beating Subiaco.

South Fremantle outclassed Swan Districts by 46 points in the last round, following on from victories over Perth, East Fremantle and Peel and a loss to the Lions in round 18.

"This season hasn't been fantastic so hopefully we can finish off with wins against Subi and then Peel next week," he said.

"It has been a frustrating year for everyone involved.

"In saying that we are quite a young group so we are going to have ups and downs from week to week and game to game.

"It's really about learning from that. You can see that's come to fruition in the last four or five weeks and we have started to play some good, consistent football.

"Hopefully we can take something from this year and look towards the future which looks bright for the Doggies."

Ross notched eight games with Claremont in 2009 and 2010 before switching to the Bulldogs in the hope of becoming a regular league player.

Forced to earn his place in the South Fremantle senior side, Ross added three league games in 2011 and 10 in 2012 before cementing his spot.

The 24-year-old was used mostly in attack for the Tigers and in his early days with the Bulldogs before establishing himself as one of the league's premier defenders.

Ross, who hasn't missed a game in the past two seasons, said outgoing South Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby had played a big part in his development.

"I've got to thank South Fremantle for the opportunity to come across (from Claremont)," he said.

"The development I've got under Paul Hasleby, Patrick Bowden and all the coaches there has been fantastic.

"Even though Hase is moving on, he has to be thanked for the development and the attitude of playing the young kids … getting 30, 40, 50 games into guys like myself."

Ross said he was confident new coach Todd Curley would build on the platform Hasleby had provided for the Bulldogs in the past three seasons.

"I'm glad Todd Curley has jumped on board," he said.

"From what I've heard he's a very good coach and has had a lot of experience as a player and coach.

"I'm sure he will bring a lot of experience and knowledge and hopefully he will develop the group we've got."

South Fremantle have recalled Steven Verrier and Paul Mugam- bwa. At Subiaco, forward Shane Yarran has won back his place.

The West Australian

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