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ROUND 7 PREVIEW V PERTH

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 6:16 PM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth is back home at HBF Arena to take on Perth on Saturday looking for a third straight WAFL victory and to celebrate the 150th game of captain Jay van Berlo.

The Falcons were rocked three weeks ago with a 103-point defeat at the hands of South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, but how they responded would tell the story of their season.

And to West Perth's credit, it has hit back impressively to beat Peel Thunder in Mandurah by 35 points and then last Saturday handing Swan Districts its first loss of the season with a five-point triumph at HBF Arena.

That improves West Perth to a 3-2 record on the season and a win on Saturday to move to 4-2 would make it a tremendous start from the Falcons with the losses to only come at the hands of the top two teams, Subiaco and South Fremantle.

VAN BERLO ADDS LIFE MEMBERSHIP TO GROWING LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS 
BILL MONAGHAN ROUND 6 Q & A 
VAN BERLO PROUD OF HONOUR TO BECOME WEST PERTH LIFE MEMBER 
FALCONS DELIVER TO HAND SWANS FIRST LOSS 

West Perth can't afford to take Perth lightly, though, even if the Demons have recorded just the one victory so far in 2017.

Perth started the season with losses to Swan Districts, Subiaco and Claremont before breaking through for a 13-point victory over East Fremantle. The Demons then went down to East Perth by 20 points last Saturday following the Round 5 bye.

Not only have West Perth won its past two games this season, but also have dominated recent clashes with Perth. 

The Falcons have won the last 11 games over the Demons by an average of 46.1 points.

Perth's last win over West Perth came back in Round 18, 2011 and that did just happen to be at HBF Arena. But there is nobody from that 22 that will be playing for Perth on Saturday. 

Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk and Jay van Berlo are the only three remaining players from the West Perth team that day.

Speaking of van Berlo, the West Perth captain will play his 150th game on Saturday at HBF Arena to earn life membership at the Falcons.

Perth is actually the strongest starting team in the competition having scored 27 points over their opening terms so far this season. The problem is they also conceded 25 points per first quarters.

West Perth is the second highest-scoring second quarter team across the league but also concede the third most points in the third terms.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan was understandably happy with last week's win over Swans but knows they have to reload and be ready to go again on Saturday against Perth.

"It was great to win, tough day, good opposition and I felt we controlled large parts of the game without taking the advantage on the scoreboard. We did a lot wrong in the last two or three minutes in particular the upside of that was we didn’t lose the game," Monaghan said.

"Not only did we have the opportunity to learn we banked four points. It doesn’t get any easier you look at the ladder and Perth are 1-4 but they gave us a big touch up in a pre-season game earlier this year. 

"All wins should be enjoyed whether you scrape in, whether you’re lucky or unlucky whatever. We won and enjoy the evening, then front up to prepare well for next week's opponent which happens to be Perth."

West Perth delivered an impressive performance last Saturday to give Swan Districts its first defeat of the season, but the Falcons do lose Ben King, Steve Potente and Blake Wilhelm from that line-up.

Mark Hamilton comes straight back in and will pick up his role in the back-line again while Mitch van Berlo looms as the most likely choice to replace King in defence. That would be fitting so he can play alongside older brother Jay in his milestone game.

Nathan Alexandre, Brayden Antonio and Mitch Peirce are the other players in contention to come into the West Perth side to take on Perth on Saturday at HBF Arena. Peirce was especially impressive last week in the reserves for the Falcons with 38 possessions, nine marks and three goals.

Perth's hopes of recording its second victory of the season won't be helped with the absence of key forward Spencer White. He has kicked 12 goals in five games so far in 2017.

Brent Edmonds is also out of the Demons side that lost to East Perth last Saturday at Leederville Oval.

Brant Colledge, Taran Etto, Marshall Jones, Callum Walley and Jayden Johnstone are the players all vying to come into the Demons line-up.

ROUND 7
WEST PERTH v PERTH – HBF ARENA, SATURDAY 2.15PM
Broadcast –
91.3 SportFM, KIX Digital

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