Monday, May 8, 2017 - 9:24 AM by Darrell Kent

West Perth prevailed against East Fremantle in a high scoring encounter at Shark Park on Saturday. It was a contest that West Perth led from the nine minute mark of the first quarter but supporters were never able to completely relax as the Sharks kept coming all day. In the last quarter they twice closed to within ten points before the Falcons managed to pull away and record a thirty four point victory.

East Fremantle key forward Matthew Watson kicked the first goal of the match at the four minute mark. The reply came shortly afterwards when Andrew Strijk passed to Brayden Antonio in the pocket thirty out. In his league first game for the year, he calmly went back and slotted it. When Corey Chalmers ran onto a kick scrambled forward by Tyler Keitel to kick the first of his three the Falcons took the lead; one that they didn’t relinquish for the rest of the afternoon. Two behinds followed for West Perth before the dangerous George Hampson nailed one for the Sharks to reduce the lead to two. At the twenty two minute mark Trent Manzone showed real class when he took possession fifty out on the boundary and nailed it. The lead was out to sixteen when Andrew Strijk scored the first of his three. He marked fifty out on the boundary, ran around and split the middle. East Fremantle scored the last of the quarter and the result was a ten point quarter time lead to West Perth; 4.4 (28) to 3.0 (18).

Play really opened up in the last three quarters with twenty seven goals being scored. The Sharks scored the first of the second quarter before a reply came for West Perth courtesy of Tyler Keitel. He was on the end of an Andrew Strijk pass and kicked the first of his four from forty five. Brock O’Brien then hit the scoreboard for the home team with the first of his five. The ball was moving quickly from one end of the ground to the other and the ten point quarter time lead was restored at the fourteen minute mark. Dean Munns ran off the interchange bench to be on the end of a long kick forward by Luke Meadows. He ran into an open goal. The lead was out to sixteen when Andrew Strijk kicked his second after receiving a free sixty out. “Strijky” had a great day and really stepped up when needed. Watson then kicked his second before Mike Lourey hit the scoreboard. It was a clever snap from thirty and was the first of three for the day. It occurred while a large scuffle was taking place in the middle of the ground; it was one of a number that occurred during the course of the day as West Perth held their ground in response to some physical encounters. At the twenty five minute mark the lead was reduced to just eleven when Matthew Watson scored his third. From here, however, West Perth took control for the last ten minutes of the quarter. A second to Tyler Keitel, a very good goal from deep in the pocket by Aidan Lynch after a terrific smother by Tyson Moulton and a first to Tyson Moulton that sailed through as the siren went saw West Perth take a very handy thirty point lead into the main break; 11.8 (74) to 7.2 (44).

The third quarter tightened up after the free scoring previous quarter. The Sharks had the best of it and attacked consistently. By the sixteen minute mark the lead had been reduced to seventeen. West Perth extended this when Corey Chalmers scored his second on an angle from thirty. An East Fremantle reply followed shortly after and they worked hard to reduce the margin to just sixteen at the twenty seven minute mark. At the thirty minute mark West Perth scored an important goal. Jordan Mills, who was a late call up after playing a quarter in the Reserves was involved. A very clever kick sent Aidan Lynch away. His long kick was taken by Mike Lourey who scored his second. Jordan Mills’ use of the football was very good. At the final change West Perth led by twenty two; 13.11 (89) to 10.7 (67).

It was an eleven goal last quarter and the Sharks scored two of them within three minutes to reduce the margin to just ten and it was game on. A West Perth steadier came at the seven minute mark when Mike Lourey kicked his third; the lead was now eighteen. East Fremantle got one back before the Falcons attacked consistently but only managed four behinds. So when Brock O’Brien scored his fourth at the nineteen minute mark the lead was back to ten. West Perth attacked straight out of the middle and a strong Andrew Strijk tackle saw the ball fall free. Rudy Riddoch, who had tried hard all day without much success, swung his boot at the ball and soccered a miraculous steadier from forty. Andrew Strijk continued to show his class when needed when he scored his third after marking forty out. His accurate kick took the lead out to twenty three at the twenty one minute mark. Five minutes later the Sharks reduced the lead to seventeen. West Perth finished the game strongly, however, kicking the last three majors of the match. Corey Chalmers showed his class with his third on the run from fifty five and Tyler Keitel kicked the last two of the game to take his match tally to four. His last goal was a monster from well outside fifty. At the final siren West Perth had won an entertaining encounter 19.18 (132) to 15.8 (98).

The Falcons now sit on a 5-2 record leading into the bye next week. It is an understatement to say that it is a very good start to the season. West Perth had a number of good players. They included Andrew Strijk, Corey Chalmers, Luke Meadows, Dean Munns, Blake Wilhelm, Scott Simpson, Trent Manzone, Jay van Berlo and Aidan Lynch. Unfortunately the Colts and Reserves went down but now all three sides have two weeks to recover before the next game against Claremont. It will be a more interesting game than usual due to the strong West Perth flavour at the Tigers.