Sharks add bite for Royals clash
Brock O'Brien

A cherry ripe East Fremantle are confident they are getting league leaders East Perth at the right time as they aim to extend their best winning streak in 16 years.

The Sharks will field one of their strongest sides for the year in tomorrow's match of the round at Medibank Stadium, with defender Brock O'Brien and captain Mark McGough both returning after one-match lay-offs.

The inclusions come with the league side targeting a seventh successive win.

Fourth-placed East Fremantle have not matched that run since 1998 - the year they won 16 matches in a row en route to the club's 29th and last premiership.

The Royals are on their own hot streak, having posted eight consecutive victories since stumbling against Subiaco in round five.

However, the West Coast-aligned club is set to be weakened by injuries and suspensions at the Eagles.

Callum Sinclair, Simon Tunbridge, Ash Smith and Dom Sheed were all recalled by the Eagles, while Brant Colledge will miss up to a month with an ankle injury.

Sharks football manager Darr-yn Fry said the club was mindful of sustaining the form that has put it firmly in finals calculations.

"It's probably not a bad time to get them given they've got a few out," Fry said.

"But we know it's going to be a big challenge. The boys have been up for six weeks now. We'll see what happens.

"We're close to full strength. We haven't got too many on the injury list, so that's obviously ideal."

McGough will return after missing last Saturday's 10-point win over Perth at East Fremantle Oval to attend a wedding.

O'Brien, one of the team's most consistent performers this year, has also been named after being given a week off to recover from hamstring tightness.

"He was actually training at full tilt last week," Fry said.

"We could have potentially taken the risk, but we'd rather not and have him ready to go."

Ruckman James Bristow is free to play after escaping with a reprimand after fronting the WAFL Tribunal on Tuesday night on a rough conduct charge in a significant win for the Sharks given the potency of East Perth's talls.

While Sinclair won't be available for the Royals due to AFL duties, one of the WAFL's best ruckmen, veteran Paul Johnson, will still be a formidable opponent.

East Fremantle have also received a better-than-expected diagnosis on Jamie McNamara's knee injury.

He could play in a fortnight after scans revealed only minor medial ligament damage.

"It's probably not a bad time to get them given they've got a few out.""Sharks football manager *Darryn Fry *

The West Australian

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