FALCONS GET THE JOB DONE

Monday, August 29, 2016 - 10:53 AM by Darrell Kent

SWAN Districts had only won two games going into the last fixture of the year but it didn’t stop them from giving West Perth a real run for their money. It might have been the last game for Swan Districts captain Tallan Ames who is weighing up his future for 2017, but a calf injury ended his day early.

At the end of the day it was the class of the Falcons that got them over the line but it wasn’t until midway through the last quarter that West Perth had the game under control. Coach Bill Monaghan used the game to experiment with a few positional changes leading into the finals and it will be interesting to see what impact this will have in the weeks ahead.

The game went to script for the first part of the quarter with West Perth dominating possession but they were only able to kick four behinds. At the nine minute mark Swans had their first inside 50 and it resulted in a goal to Justin Simpson. It was the first of four for the quarter and five for the match.

The visitors were all over West Perth from this point in time and they raced to a 29-point lead at the 26-minute mark. Their use of the football was good while the Falcons turned it over regularly. It looked as though West Perth was going to go goalless for the term but just before the siren Max Duffy marked 30 out. He converted and the Falcons went into the first change trailing by 23; 5.4 (34) to 1.5 (11)..

The Falcons commenced the second term with plenty of endeavour. The teams traded behinds before a long kick forward by Corey Chalmers was marked at the top of the square by Michael Lourey. He kicked the first of his three for the game. A number of inside-50 kicks by Chalmers resulted in scores for West Perth. The deficit was reduced to 11 shortly after when a clever tap by Chris Keunen enabled Chalmers to pass to Jay van Berlo 15 out on a sharp angle. He ran around to convert.

But Swans rallied and kicked the next two, including a fifth to Simpson, and at the 18-minute mark the difference between the two teams was the quarter-time margin. It was then time for Andrew Strijk to exert his influence on the game and he kicked two just before half-time to reduce the margin to 10 at the main break. The Falcons were back in it but the challenge still lay ahead as they trailed 7.6 (48) to 5.8 (38).

West Perth continued their improved form into the third quarter outscoring Swans three goals to one. Chalmers hit up Lourey for his second at the nine-minute mark before Swans replied to take the margin back to nine. Midway through the term a terrific spoil by Jordan Mills saved a certain goal and enabled the Falcons to surge forward but the Lourey kick went behind. Just into time on Chalmers was once again involved when he passed to Lourey who kicked his third from 40. West Perth regained the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter when Joe Morrow converted from 20 out after marking strongly.

The Falcons had a one-point lead and they extended this to five at the final break after attacking consistently but only scoring behinds. Heading into the last quarter West Perth led 8.14 (62) to 8.9 (57).

Not to be outdone Swans rallied in the final quarter thanks to a purple patch by second gamer Taryce Stewart. He took two clever marks and converted on both occasions to give Swans a seven point lead. Steven Browne then received a free and 50 to narrow the margin and the lead was back in West Perth hands at the 10-minute mark when Strijk soccered to the square and Joel Leeson scored when he did likewise. The five point lead was extended by two with consecutive behinds before Aaron Black scored from 40 after receiving a free for a push in the back while kicking for goal. His first kick had gone behind.

At the 18-minute mark a very good pass by Blake Wilhelm was marked by Nick Rodda who was having a stint up forward. His accurate kick gave West Perth a 19-point lead and Falcons supporters were able to relax as the four points seemed to be in the bag. Shortly after, though,  Alex Howard got one back for Swans but Aidan Lynch had the last say for the Falcons when he took a strong mark 50 out and converted. At the final siren West Perth had recorded a hard fought 20-point victory; 13.18 (96) to 11.10 (76).

At the end of the game it was great to see West Perth players led by Jay van Berlo, Chris Keunen and Andrew Strijk shake hands with Ames who wasn’t able to complete the game because of injury.

The colts and reserves finished their season with a loss and won’t play finals football. Best players for the reserves included Luke Tedesco who will finish his career as a premiership player and club captain, Alexander Coe, Nathan Alexandre and best was Keegan Knott. Best for the league were Corey Chalmers, Michael Lourey, Aaron Black and skipper Jay van Berlo who continues to lead by example.

A big game next Saturday in the qualifying final against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. With four players to come into the side for this game I wouldn’t like to be a selector as any player who misses out would have to be considered very unlucky.  Be there to help get the boys over the line.

BY DARRELL KENT
PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR