FALCONS FINISH STRONG TO CLAIM POLLY FARMER SHIELD

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 2:23 PM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth has claimed the inaugural Polly Farmer Cup opening its 2017 WAFL season with a 21-point win over East Perth at HBF Arena on Sunday.

Following the bye in the opening round, West Perth made its first appearance for 2017 and it was up against arch-rivals East Perth on home turn at HBF Arena with the Polly Farmer Shield on the line named in honour of one of Australian football's legendary figures who played with both clubs.

Little separated the two teams all day either in a typically spirited contest between the two clubs. There were nine lead changes along the way but the last one went West Perth's favour 17 minutes into the third term with a goal to Steve Potente.

East Perth did manage to get back within four points by three quarter-time, but West Perth kicked the opening three goals of the last term to set up the eventual 14.15 (99) to 12.6 (78) victory.

It was a good win for West Perth in its first game of the season with defenders Joe Morrow and Ben King likely to return next week, and veteran premiership players Matt Guadagnin and Steven Browne hoping to be back available sooner rather than later.

It was West Perth's day to celebrate on home turf and the move of state defender Luke Meadows into the midfield proved a masterstroke. He finished with 29 possessions, 13 inside-50 entries, five marks, four tackles and a goal in a best on ground performance.

Shane Nelson also racked up 34 disposals for the Falcons while his partner in crime Aaron Black compiled 29 disposals.

Corey Chalmers showed he's ready to go to another level in 2017 with a strong performance with 20 possessions and two goals. Trent Manzone also worked hard for 19 disposals and he kicked two goals both on his non-preferred left boot.

Michael Lourey kicked three goals for West Perth and Tyson Moulton and Steve Potente both added two. Andrew Strijk might have gone goalless but he had a good impact in the forward-line with 22 possessions and eight marks.

Seva Mozhaev worked hard in the ruck as well for West Perth with 36 hit outs.

It took more than 15 minutes for the game's first goal and that went West Perth's way thanks to Chalmers. The Falcons then soon added another with a strong juggled mark to Moulton who then slotted a good goal on his left boot.

East Perth hit back, though, with a good set shot from Kurt Mutimer before Will Maginness kicked truly soon after and Tom Lamb booted his first on the siren to give the Royals a four-point advantage.

West Perth regained the lead just a minute into the second quarter when Moulton kicked his second, but the trend of rapid lead changes was just getting started with East Perth responded through Lamb just two minutes later.

The Royals then went nine points up when Lewis Wilson kicked the first goal of his four-game league career. However, West Perth answered with the next two majors through Lourey and Manzone to regain a four-point advantage.

Again East Perth answered through Luke Partington before West Perth had the last say prior to half-time with James Batterham taking a good mark and kicking the goal.

The Falcons led by three points at half-time but Lamb's third goal to start the third quarter gave the Royals the lead once more.

It was goal for goal with little between the two sides as Lourey put West Perth back in front, Lamb's fourth had East Perth on top again and then the Falcons made their move.

A good goal from Potente gave them the lead 17 minutes into the third term and they would never again surrender it.

West Perth's advantage was out to 12 points before three quarter-time but Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls did claw one back for the Royals just before the siren.

But the Falcons made sure of the win to start the final quarter with goals to Tyler Keitel, Chalmers and Manzone in the opening seven minutes. That took the lead out to 25 points and the Falcons held on comfortably enough in the finish to win by 21.

The day began at HBF Arena with West Perth's colts defeating East Perth 11.6 (72) to 8.7 (55).

Kurt Monaghan was the star for the Falcons kicking six goals from 10 kicks and six marks. Daniel Rowe also booted two majors.

Connor West racked up 29 possessions for West Perth, Dylan Yem 25, Josh Hunter 25, Bailey Chalmers 22 and Alec Johnson 19.

Then in the reserves contest, West Perth also got the better of East Perth winning 10.9 (69) to 8.3 (51).

Brayden Antonio was tremendous for the Falcons with 27 possessions and three goals with Chris Keunen making quite the statement in the ruck with 27 disposals, seven marks, 52 hit outs and a goal.

Mitch Peirce amassed 30 possessions for West Perth, Aidan Lynch 28 (14 tackles), Alexander Coe 25, Conal Lynch 21 (12 tackles), Mitch van Berlo 20 and Kael Coleman 19.

Ben McGillivray also kicked two goals for the Falcons.

West Perth remains at home next Saturday to play Subiaco at HBF Arena. 

WEST PERTH        2.3    6.5    9.8    14.15    (99)
EAST PERTH        3.1    6.2    9.4    12.6    (78)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Lourey 3; Chalmers, Manzone, Potente, Moulton 2; Meadows, Batterham, Keitel.
Best: Meadows, Shane Nelson, Black, Manzone, Chalmers, Potente, Moulton.
EAST PERTH – Goals: Lamb 5; Maginness, Oakley-Nicholls 2; Partington, Wilson, Mutimer.
Best: Lamb, Mutimer, Partington, McInnes, Snadden, McGinnity.