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FALCONS ACKNOWLEDGE MILESTONES, DEBUTANT

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 2:58 PM by Chris Pike
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WHILE individual achievements might get lost in the big picture when a season is on the line like is the case with West Perth entering Saturday's clash with Claremont, but coach Bill Monaghan has paid tribute to the milestones of two premiership players and for another debutant.

West Perth's season goes on the line this Saturday against Claremont at Claremont Oval with the Falcons needing to beat the Tigers to remain a chance of still playing finals in 2017.

But there have been some significant achievements along the way this season that shouldn’t go without being paid proper acknowledgement to.

Earlier in the season, Shane Nelson played his 100th game for West Perth, captain Jay van Berlo earned life membership by playing his 150th and Andrew Strijk notched up his 200th appearance.

Then last Saturday in the loss to Subiaco at Leederville Oval, 2013 premiership hard man Kody Manning played his 100th game for West Perth and Mitch Antonio made his league debut.

Continuing that trend, premiership player, Sandover Medallist and Breckler Medal winner Aaron Black earns life membership this Saturday by playing his 150th game when the Falcons take on the Tigers in the cut-throat contest at Claremont Oval.

FALCONS FAVOURITE HARD MAN REACHES 100 GAMES 
STRIJK REACHES DOUBLE TON IN STYLE FOR FALCONS 
VAN BERLO ADDS LIFE MEMBERSHIP TO GROWING LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS 
VAN BERLO PROUD OF HONOUR TO BECOME WEST PERTH LIFE MEMBER 
ACCOLADES CONTINUE TO RACK UP FOR CENTURION NELSON 

While the result last Saturday against Subiaco wasn’t what West Perth was after, Monaghan doesn’t want the accomplishment of Manning to play his 100th game to be forgotten or the fact that another future great career with that of Mitch Antonio began.

"It was nice of Kody to say some nice things about me as his coach leading into the game but I'm an unashamed Kody Manning fan. His attack on the footy and desire to do everything for the team is outstanding," Monaghan said.

"In a long list of good players I've been lucky enough to coach, and you don’t like to single them out, but I'm not sure I've seen anyone attack the contest harder than him. As long as I'm here I am rapt to have Kody play in the side. 

"He will be gutted by this result like Mitch Antonio would be on debut, but sometimes you remember things for good reasons and other times bad reasons. Hopefully there's a heap more games left in Kody and whilst Mitch didn’t the world on fire, I think he showed some good signs and we think he's going to be a long-term player for the club as well."

Now this Saturday against Claremont, Black reaches 150 games to become a life member at West Perth and Monaghan can't speak more highly of the 24-year-old.

"Every now and again you come across really good people with a good skill set, and the drive and motivation to succeed and we got hold of him as a 17-year-old and he has pretty much been a permanent fixture since then," Monaghan said.

"He's an extremely hard worker, he's a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and sometimes that can be construed from afar that he can be a bit petulant or disrespectful. But one thing I've learned about Blacky is that he is somewhat of a perfectionist and he just wants to be very good all the time.

"He gets angry with himself at times and to his credit, he has learned some things over the last couple of years and he's bringing things into the game to deal with those things. He is a great player and it has been a pleasure to coach him."