Monday, April 24, 2017 - 8:44 AM by Darrell Kent

THERE is a lot to like about the group of players who represent the West Perth Football Club. They really do play for their jumper, coach and supporters. This was never more evident than at HBF Arena on Saturday when the Falcons beat the previously undefeated Swan Districts.

Early on they looked like being outplayed before taking control in the middle stages and holding on for a hard fought five-point victory. The Reserves also had a win but the Colts went down. After five games all three teams have won three and lost two; a good place to be at this stage of the year.

Corey Chalmers got the ball rolling for the Falcons with the first goal of the game at the three minute mark. He took the ball off hands to score from forty. He continues to grow into his role as a small forward. Swans then settled to kick the next three and take control of the game. Two of these went to Ricky Cary but they were the only ones he kicked for the game. At the nineteen minute mark Shane Nelson hit the scoreboard with a clever snap. Ryan Crowley replied for the Black Ducks before Rudy Riddoch was involved in a score assist with Tyler Keitel. He kicked the ball to position and Tyler Keitel did the rest. Taryce Stewart then bobbed up to kick the first of his three for Swans. He was a danger all day and is a player of the future. The margin was eleven in favour of the visitors at the twenty three minute mark. Tyson Moulton then took a very strong mark just before the siren and scored from twenty.  At the first change Swans led by five; 5.0 (30) to 4.1 (25). It was a very entertaining quarter of football.

West Perth kicked the first two behinds of the second term before Swans kicked the first at the seven minute mark. Three minutes later Mike Lourey marked on fifty. He went back, kicked from fifty five and split the middle. It was the first of three for the game in what was a great return to form. The Falcons then took the lead when the skipper, VB, snapped a clever goal after a throw in. One of the plays of the day occurred shortly after. Kody Manning smothered the ball near the middle of the ground, followed up, took possession and scored from sixty. It was a wonderful effort and Kody is playing career best football at the moment. Another very good passage of play followed shortly after. Tyson Moulton took the ball right on the boundary; a precise left foot pass hit Rudy Riddoch on the chest. He played on with a penetrating fifty metre pass that hit Tyler Keitel on the chest two metres out. His second had the Falcons out to a seventeen point lead. Just before the siren, however, some of the good work was undone when Taryce Stewart got to the back of the pack to kick his second. At half time West Perth had fought hard to take a ten point lead into the main break. They led 8.5 (53) to 7.1 (43).

The tight contest continued in the third quarter. There wasn’t a score until the ten minute mark. It was a major to Andrew Strijk who marked twenty out. He was on the end of a long pass from Corey Chalmers. Chalmers was involved again shortly after when he kicked his second after taking the ball off the back of the pack. At the twenty minute mark the Falcon lead was out to twenty six when Mike Lourey kicked his second after receiving fifty metres. Swans then rallied strongly to have the last four scoring shots of the quarter and as a result they closed the gap to just twelve at the final change. The game was set up for a gripping final quarter with West Perth leading 11.5 (71) to 9.5 (59).

It only took a minute for the game to tighten considerably. Taryce Stewart kicked his third to narrow the margin to one straight kick. Jamie Bennell had started to dominate the clearances for Swans and they seemed to be going the better. The first West Perth goal for the quarter was a terrific individual effort by Mike Lourey. He shrugged a number of tackles and snapped his third on his left foot. After two more behinds the Falcons led by thirteen midway through the term. But the game was far from done. Todd Banfield, who had an impact all day, kicked two to take his tally to three for the day. His last goal was the result of a very good individual effort. At the twenty three minute mark the lead was just one and Swans appeared to be making the running. Four minutes later Tyler Keitel marked forty out but played on with a handball. At the end of a hectic period of play Rudy Riddoch scrambled one home for the home team to take the lead out to seven. Swans had the last two scores for the game but fortunately they both went behind. When the siren finally went at the thirty two minute mark West Perth had held on for a well-deserved five point victory; 13.7(85) to 12.8 (80).

It was a game that had supporters on both sides on the edge of their seats until the final siren. There is no doubt that it is great to be on the right side of the scoreboard in such a tight game. There were a number of players who could have easily received awards. Those to do so were Corey Chalmers, Ben King, Shane Nelson and Aaron Black. Others who could have been included are Kody Manning, Trent Manzone, Scott Simpson, Aidan Lynch and Nic Rodda. An ankle injury to Steve Potente after a strong spoil is the major injury concern. Best for the winning Reserves side were Kael Coleman, James Batterham, Joel Bennett and Mitch Peirce. Back at the Arena next week to take on the Demons. Be there to get the teams over the line.