FALCONS' PREPARATIONS HEAT UP FOR ROUND 1

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 2:23 AM

WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan has no doubt the Falcons have a squad capable of success as the 2013 pre-season gets underway this Saturday, but he isn’t putting a timeline when he thinks the group will peak.

West Perth's pre-season campaign begins this Saturday at Fremantle Oval with the colts game starting at 9am, the reserves at 4pm and the league at 6.30pm.

Then next Saturday the opponent is Peel with the league game bouncing down at 6pm with the colts and reserves both playing at Richard Guelfi Reserve in Balcatta. The colts start at 9am and the reserves at 11am.
West Perth has lost plenty of experience in recent years including the departures of Brent LeCras, Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Joel Rice coming into 2013 but there is still plenty of quality and exciting youngsters coming through.
Jason Salecic, Ray Bartholomew, Matt Guadagnin, Luke Tedesco, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew remain as senior players.
Andrew Strijk, Jay van Berlo, Shane Nelson and Aaron Black are among a group now gaining more and more experience with Kody Manning, Laine Rasmussen, Marc Crisp, Shayne Zanetti, Joe Morrow, Brayden Antonio and Nick Rodda among those young players expected to keep developing.
That all has Monaghan quite buoyant about the state of West Perth's list combined with the arrival of Rohan Kerr, Shaun Marusic, Trent Manzone, Steve Potente and James Embley.
"As everyone says at this time of year, we have been very happy with the pre-season. Probably the most pleasing aspect even though we have lost a fair bit of experience and quality, but we have seen a noticeable lift from our second and third tier players," Monaghan said.
"People are stepping up to the plate and taking a lot more ownership, and I think some of the younger players are really buoyed by the fact that there are openings in the side.
"We've lost four or five players who have basically been first 18 players for a numbers of years, so seeing guys step up has been pleasing and we've noticed that there has been a lot more communication and enthusiasm amongst the group."
While Monaghan is not quite sure when his group will peak, he has no doubt that things are on track for continued and sustained success at West Perth with the way the squad is developing.
"The great challenge for us is that we are going to be a young squad this year and last year was plagued by some real inconsistency," he said.
"What I can't predict at the moment is how quickly the squad is going to continue to develop, but we have a large number of exceptionally talented youngsters who I think are going to be long-term WAFL players and potentially push up to become AFL players. All I can ask is that the squad continues to learn, listen, develop and improve and there's going to be some fruit at the end of that.
"I don’t know if that will be Round 1 this year or in three years time, but we have a good number of 18 to 21-year-old's at this footy club who are exceptional talents. What our job is to accelerate their development and continue their improvement, and really work on their consistency.
"We as coaches and fans and supporters need to understand that when you play a large number of young kids there are going to be fluctuations in form. That's not an excuse, it's the reality and my job as coach is to make sure that the difference between our best and worst is a lot less than it was last year."
West Perth begins its season at Arena Joondalup against East Perth and with the Royals' upcoming alignment with West Coast that starts next year, it's one of the last three real derbies before that takes place.
Monaghan is looking forward to locking horns with the Royals to start off the season, but when it comes down to it then it really doesn’t matter who it is that the Falcons come up against.
"We will only get a couple more cracks at the real derby before that changes so I guess all those passionate West Perth people should frequent all three games against them this year starting Round 1 before we start having a derby with the East Perth Eagles," Monaghan said.
"They are always great challenges against East Perth, but at the end of the day whether it's East Perth or Claremont or Peel in Round 1, we just need to back our systems into place and we will pick 22 fit players who are eager to play. We will just go out and give it everything and we are confident that will be good enough."WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan has no doubt the Falcons have a squad capable of success as the 2013 pre-season gets underway this Saturday, but he isn’t putting a timeline when he thinks the group will peak.West Perth's pre-season campaign begins this Saturday at Fremantle Oval with the colts game starting at 9am, the reserves at 4pm and the league at 6.30pm.

Then next Saturday the opponent is Peel with the league game bouncing down at 6pm with the colts and reserves both playing at Richard Guelfi Reserve in Balcatta. The colts start at 9am and the reserves at 11am.

West Perth has lost plenty of experience in recent years including the departures of Brent LeCras, Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Joel Rice coming into 2013 but there is still plenty of quality and exciting youngsters coming through.



Jason Salecic, Ray Bartholomew, Matt Guadagnin, Luke Tedesco, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew remain as senior players.

Andrew Strijk, Jay van Berlo, Shane Nelson and Aaron Black are among a group now gaining more and more experience with Kody Manning, Laine Rasmussen, Marc Crisp, Shayne Zanetti, Joe Morrow, Brayden Antonio and Nick Rodda among those young players expected to keep developing.

That all has Monaghan quite buoyant about the state of West Perth's list combined with the arrival of Rohan Kerr, Shaun Marusic, Trent Manzone, Steve Potente and James Embley.

"As everyone says at this time of year, we have been very happy with the pre-season. Probably the most pleasing aspect even though we have lost a fair bit of experience and quality, but we have seen a noticeable lift from our second and third tier players," Monaghan said.

"People are stepping up to the plate and taking a lot more ownership, and I think some of the younger players are really buoyed by the fact that there are openings in the side.



"We've lost four or five players who have basically been first 18 players for a numbers of years, so seeing guys step up has been pleasing and we've noticed that there has been a lot more communication and enthusiasm amongst the group."

While Monaghan is not quite sure when his group will peak, he has no doubt that things are on track for continued and sustained success at West Perth with the way the squad is developing.

"The great challenge for us is that we are going to be a young squad this year and last year was plagued by some real inconsistency," he said.

"What I can't predict at the moment is how quickly the squad is going to continue to develop, but we have a large number of exceptionally talented youngsters who I think are going to be long-term WAFL players and potentially push up to become AFL players. All I can ask is that the squad continues to learn, listen, develop and improve and there's going to be some fruit at the end of that.

"I don’t know if that will be Round 1 this year or in three years time, but we have a good number of 18 to 21-year-old's at this footy club who are exceptional talents. What our job is to accelerate their development and continue their improvement, and really work on their consistency.

"We as coaches and fans and supporters need to understand that when you play a large number of young kids there are going to be fluctuations in form. That's not an excuse, it's the reality and my job as coach is to make sure that the difference between our best and worst is a lot less than it was last year."

West Perth begins its season at Arena Joondalup against East Perth and with the Royals' upcoming alignment with West Coast that starts next year, it's one of the last three real derbies before that takes place.

Monaghan is looking forward to locking horns with the Royals to start off the season, but when it comes down to it then it really doesn’t matter who it is that the Falcons come up against.

"We will only get a couple more cracks at the real derby before that changes so I guess all those passionate West Perth people should frequent all three games against them this year starting Round 1 before we start having a derby with the East Perth Eagles," Monaghan said.

"They are always great challenges against East Perth, but at the end of the day whether it's East Perth or Claremont or Peel in Round 1, we just need to back our systems into place and we will pick 22 fit players who are eager to play. We will just go out and give it everything and we are confident that will be good enough."

BY CHRIS PIKE