FALCONS VICTORY A TRIBUTE TO FIRST PREMIERSHIP

Monday, May 22, 2017 - 1:01 PM by Darrell Kent

WESTPerth continued on its winning way against Claremont at HBF Arena on Saturday. The team wore a heritage jumper with a picture of the 1897 premiership team on the front and did themselves and the original premiers proud with a strong display in difficult conditions.

The Falcons led all day and impressed with their attack on the football that they maintained for the whole day. All players contributed and the result sees West Perth sit with a 6-2 record at the end of the first full round of fixtures.

The conditions were relatively fine for the first quarter and West Perth took advantage. Andrew Strijk got the ball rolling for the Falcons at the two-minute mark. He took control of the football 50m out on the boundary and nailed it. The major was the first of a career-high five goals. Two behinds followed before Corey Chalmers was rewarded for a terrific tackle 30m out. He split the middle and scored the first of his three for the game.

At the seven-minute mark Claremont scored its only goal for the quarter courtesy of Jack Bradshaw. The visitors scored another eight behinds for the term but a lot of this was due to the strong pressure of the West Perth backs. Kody Manning continued his good form taking some strong defensive marks during. The margin was now eight but from here the Falcons had the best of the term.

Chalmers kicked his second on the run from 40 and Strijk followed with his second. It was the result of a skilful snap from deep in the pocket. The lead was now 18 points at the 15-minute mark. Another major wasn’t scored until nearly 10 minutes later as the next four scores went behind. Some good work by Tyson Moulton saw the ball end up in the hands on Michael Lourey 40 out on an angle. He kicked the first of his three in what was a good day for the Falcons forwards. Strijk kicked his third after a free close to goal and when the quarter-time siren went West Perth held a handy 25-point lead; 6.3 (39) to 1.8 (14).

The weather looked threatening and it arrived in the second quarter. There wasn’t a goal until the 14-minute mark and it went to Claremont’s Matt Guelfi. His kick reduced the margin to 18 points. The West Perth reply came straight away, though. Jay van Berlo was involved with some good work on the wing and the ball ended up in the hands of Luke Meadows who finished from 30.

The Tigers replied before Lourey scored his second after a clever tap by Strijk set up Scott Simpson whose precise kick hit him on the chest. At the main break the Tigers had reduced the lead by one and as a result West Perth still led by 24; 8.5 (53) to 3.11 (29). The conditions made it a real war of attrition.

It was during the third quarter that the Falcons put the game safely in their grasp. Strijk kicked his fourth and he was involved in the next when he intercepted a pass out of defence. The ball spilled but Lourey took possession, side stepped an opponent, ala Brent Lecras, and kicked his third from 30. At the mid-point of the term Simpson showed his class with a clever goal. He ran onto the ball and scored from deep in the pocket 20m out. The run of four goals that cemented the victory was completed by Tyler Keitel. A Nathan Alexandre kick forward was marked 30m out, on an angle. Keitel duly converted to set up a 49-point lead. The Falcons continued to attack scoring two behinds before Claremont first gamer Eddie Simpson kicked the first of his two. At the final change West Perth led by 45; 12.10 (82) to 4.13 (37). The West Perth defence had done a very good job to limit the dangerous Claremont forwards to just four majors at this point of the game.

Claremont kicked the first two goals of the final quarter and by the 12-minute mark had reduced the margin to 36 points. The only West Perth major for the term came at the 18-minute mark and it was the much celebrated Strijk fifth. A bullet like pass from Meadows hit 'Strijky' on the chest 45m out. His straight kick gave the Falcons a 42-point lead. At the final siren the visitors had whittled this lead down to 32 but the 13.14 (92) to 7.18 (60) victory was a well-earned one by West Perth.

It is hard not to be impressed with the efforts of this West Perth outfit. They play a very good combination of defence and attack and run the football at all costs. A 6-2 record has been a very good start to the season. Players to receive awards included Dean Munns, Shane Nelson, Scott Nelson and Andrew Strijk. A number of other players including Luke Meadows, Kody Manning, Corey Chalmers, Scott Simpson, Aidan Lynch and Rudy Riddoch were key contributors in an even team performance.

Unfortunately the Reserves and Colts went down. Players to be recognised in the Reserves were Brayden Antonio, Conal Lynch and Mitch Peirce. All of these players are pressing for a League game but it is proving to be a very hard team to break into. A bye next week for the State game. Good luck to the West Perth players who will make the trip to Victoria. They certainly didn’t do their chances any harm. The WA Day Derby at Leederville follows. That will be a game to look forward to.

BY DARRELL KENT
PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR