The West

Breeding ground for talented Sharks
Aidan Tropiano, Jack Perham and Mitch Boyle are part of East Fremantle's Geraldton connection. Pic: Ben Crabtree

The Mid West has been one of the great WAFL country recruiting zones for East Fremantle over the years and the Sharks hope the region will continue to bear fruit when they host Subiaco at Wonthella Oval today.

It will be the eighth time East Fremantle have played a home league match in Geraldton and first since beating West Perth at the same ground two years ago.

Prominent Mid West products Murray Wrensted, Paul Hasleby, Chris Mainwaring, Andrew Lockyer, Jim Sewell, Daniel Chick and Kevin Taylor will live long in the memory of East Fremantle diehards.

But their attention this week will be on a new wave of talented country players who are looking to play key roles in the Sharks' bid for a record 30th WAFL premiership this season.

At least three Mid West products - Aidan Tropiano (Brigades), Jack Perham (Brigades) and Mitch Boyle (Railways) - will feature in the team against Subiaco today.

Tropiano said the trio were looking forward to playing in front of family and friends.

"It will be a big honour going back and playing in front of our home crowd will be good," Tropiano said.

"Hopefully there's a big crowd and I'm hoping everyone comes down and supports us, and we can get the win on the board, too."

East Fremantle have invested a lot of time and resources into Geraldton and the surrounding areas in recent years.

Players such as West Coast forward Josh Kennedy and 2013 Carlton first-round draft selection Patrick Cripps have come through the club's Mid West Academy and Sharks football manager Darryn Fry said the effort was paying off.

In one round last season, East Fremantle had 18 Mid West products featuring in the league, reserves and colts teams.

"We're under no illusions as to how good that zone is to us," Fry said. "We love getting up there, the players love getting up there and given the support that has already been shown from the city of Geraldton, the GNFL and supporters up there, they want us up there."

East Fremantle produced an impressive performance in their season opener at home against West Perth last week, holding on to win by three points.

Sam Read is available for selection after receiving a nasty cut on his head in an incident that saw Marc Crisp suspended for two weeks for rough conduct, but the Sharks have lost prominent defender Tom Howlett for one week due to personal reasons.

"We're under no illusions as to how good that zone is to us.""East Fremantle football manager *Darryn Fry *

The West Australian

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