Royal belief remains in flag quest
East Perth defender Stan Wright says confidence at the club is still high despite a recent form slump costing them their finals double chance.
The Royals were on top of the ladder as recently as round 16, but an indifferent end to the regular season saw them slip to fourth, missing out on the top three by a fraction of a percentage point.
Wright told Sports Breakfast the double chance would have been an advantage, but his team were happy to do things the hard way.
“It just means we have to win three games to make it into the big dance,” Wright said.
“We haven’t played too bad the last month, it just hasn’t been up to the standards of early in the year. It doesn’t take much for the momentum to swing.
“We certainly know our best footy’s good enough to beat all teams, we’ve beaten all teams quite comfortably this year. We still have a lot of confidence.”
“We still think we can make it, we’ve got a big challenge this week and we’re all really keen.”
The Royals will face off against Claremont - another side who have spent time atop the ladder this season - in Sunday’s elimination final, with Wright saying he was expecting a fierce battle at the contest.
“They’ve got some big-bodied mids, we do as well, so I think it’s going to be a battle of the midfields,” he said.
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge. Claremont are a tough team, there’s no better team to come up against to see where you’re at.
“It’s going to be a really good and hard game on Sunday. Hoping for a big crowd at Leederville and for all of our Royals fans to get down there and support us.”
Two members of East Perth’s vaunted midfield are racing the clock to overcome injuries, with Sandover Medal fancy Mitch Crowden in the mix to return from an ankle issue and state ruckman Scott Jones considered a chance to feature if the Royals progress deeper into September.
Wright said he had confidence in the club’s coaching department to make the right call on the pair.
“I’m happy I don’t have to make these decisions,” he said.
“We’d love to have Jonesy and Mitch out there with us, but if they’re not 100 per cent, it is a risk.
“You’re damned if you don’t, damned if you do. It really depends on the end result if you made the right decision, I guess.”
The clash between the Royals and the Lions gets underway at 2:10pm on Sunday and is being broadcast live on 91.3 SportFM.
IMAGE: Nick Cambridge/West Australian.