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FALCONS GET BACK ON WINNER'S LIST

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 10:53 AM by Darrell Kent
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West Perth recorded a much needed victory against Perth at Lathlain Park on Saturday. They led from early in the second quarter and increased their margin at each change from then on to run out fifty three point winners. Tyler Keitel and Nic Rodda both had a big day in front of goals kicking seven and six goals respectively. It was also pleasing to see the players brought into the game make a real contribution. These included Mitch van Berlo, Brayden Antonio, Max Alexander, Conal Lynch, Mitch Peirce and Riley Hutchinson. Conal Lynch came into the side when Steve Potente was a late withdrawal.

In their recent games Perth had been starting very well and Saturday was no exception. They kicked the first of the game through key midfielder Clint Jones at the seven minute mark. Blake Wilhelm scored the first for the Falcons from the square after an unselfish pass by Corey Chalmers. At the fourteen minute mark the scores were all tied up but the Demons kicked the next to take back the advantage. Shane Nelson, who racked up fifty one possessions, kicked the next from forty after taking possession out of a pack. He was dominant all day and used the ball very well. A behind to “Strijky” put the Falcons a point in front before a Liam McKenna goal restored the lead for the home team. The Demons lead was short lived, however, as West Perth took the ball straight out of the middle and Andrew Strijk scored from forty. Perth youngster, Taran Etto, gave the Demons the lead back shortly after. He kicked two for the day and looks a promising player. At the first change Perth led by four; 4.1 (25) to 3.3 (21).

Nic Rodda, who had started the game down back, was moved forward in the second quarter. This was an attempt to stretch a Perth defence that lacked height and it worked. He kicked the first of his six after marking deep in the pocket. This gave West Perth the lead and it was one that they held for the rest of the game. Andrew Strijk then hit Tyler Keitel on the chest fifty out. His straight kick was the first of his seven for the day. Three behinds were scored before Tyler Keitel kicked his second. He received a pass forty out after a Perth kick went out of bounds on the full. The lead was now sixteen but a Perth reply came immediately when they took the ball out of the middle. It was their only major for the term. Brayden Antonio was on the end of an Aaron Black pass and he scored from twenty. More behinds to West Perth took their lead to nineteen before Nic Rodda marked in the pocket, received fifty and kicked his second from the square. As the second term wore on the Falcons took control and as a result led by twenty five at half time; 8.10 (58) to 5.3 (33).

Both teams kicked three goals in the third quarter but it was one that West Perth seemed to have much the better of. Kody Manning was involved in the first for the quarter when he passed to Luke Meadows who finished from fifty. The lead was out to thirty six when Nic Rodda kicked his third after marking forty out and it appeared as though the Falcons were set to run away with the contest but Perth steadied to kick the next two and reduce the margin to twenty seven. Some inaccurate kicking hurt West Perth. The lead was back out to thirty three after a terrific pass from Andrew Strijk helped Nic Rodda score his fourth but the Demons hit back to kick the last of the term and reduce the margin to twenty eight at the final change. West Perth led 11.15 (81) to 8.5 (53).

Play really opened up in the final term and West Perth had by far the best of it scoring seven goals to three. Perth kicked the first to reduce the margin to twenty two but three goals to Tyler Keitel and another to Nic Rodda had the margin out to forty five at the sixteen minute mark. The Falcon midfield had taken complete control and the big forwards did the rest. Perth replied before West Perth once again kicked a run of goals. They went to Tyler Keitel, Nic Rodda and Corey Chalmers who scored a well-deserved major from fifty. The last goal of the game went to the home team but at the final siren West Perth had run out fifty three point winners; 18.18 (126) to 11.7 (73).

The win has West Perth two games clear in fifth spot but the last five games include matches against the top two teams and the two sides, East Perth and Claremont, who are chasing the Falcons spot in the five. There were a number of good players with Shane Nelson having fifty one possessions and Tyler Keitel and Nic Rodda kicking a bag each. Jay van Berlo and Kris Shannon were also very good and the players, mentioned previously, brought into the side also did their job. The Colts had a good win, particularly considering that Oscar Allen and Connor West played Reserves, and the Reserves went down after mounting a challenge in the last quarter. Down to Fremantle Oval to take on the Bulldogs next week. This will be an important measuring stick for the run into finals.

BY DARRELL KENT
PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR ... click here for the weekend's gallery