QUEENSLANDER MANZONE READY FOR DERBY DEBUT

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 12:36 PM

TRENT Manzone was instantly impressed with what he saw at West Perth in the derby win late last year and now the Queensland recruit can't wait to run out there to make his debut for the Falcons this Saturday against the Royals.
Manzone arrives from Queensland where he most recently played in the new North Eastern Australian Football League with Apsley as a talented and hard-running wingman/half-back with good kicking skills.
He saw firsthand what a Perth derby was like in Round 24 last year and now can't wait to play in one himself when he lines up for West Perth against East Perth at Arena Joondalup this Saturday.
"Everyone has been telling me not only that there's a rivalry, but about the amount of people that come and watch the game. Even last year when we played East Perth and there wasn’t much riding on it, there was a lot of excitement with that many people at the game," Manzone said.
"It's good to have that rivalry and back home there were only little rivalries because the competition isn’t really old enough. It's good being here having those cross-town rivals and I've got my parents coming across for my first game, so they are pretty excited to see me run out of the first time and so am I."
West Perth did welcome Manzone into its nest late last year for the derby with East Perth which the Falcons won in the final round. He was impressed with everything he saw as a spectator that day and from that day on he always knew he wanted to be part of the club.
"They did bring me over at the end of last year to watch them play East Perth in the last round so I got to know the blokes then and they were really inviting, so that was pretty good," he said.
"Anything and everything I have needed in the move, the club has had answers or got me to the right people and they have done everything they can to help me settle in. It's only been training that has been the hard part really and that's to be expected."
While perhaps best suited to a role running off half-back where he can show his kicking and running abilities, Manzone is happy to play where coach Bill Monaghan wants him to in the side, but he does feel the running style of WAFL football will suit him down to the tee.
He also is fitter than he's ever been after the pre-season session under strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley.
"Last year I played the last three quarters of the year across half-back and played really well. I was pretty happy with the way I was at with it, but other than that I've always played through the midfield or when I was even younger, forward," he said.
"But I've told Bill I will play wherever they need me whether it half-back, forward, midfield or wing. I will just be happy if I'm getting a game and playing to my standards. I think it's just the load of training that I've had to adjust to.
"At home we would train Monday, Tuesday and Thursday but Monday was a recovery session, and Tuesday and Thursday was always tough for me to get to all the time because it was an hour's drive from the sunshine coast and the training is on a different level here.
"Soles is our strength and conditioning coach here and he's the best one I've had so far and the intensity and level of training is a bit better. There are grounds here twice the size of back home but it's just the load and time spent training is a step up here.
"Ross Parker is one of the reasons I came across and he always let me know that the speed was one thing with WAFL footy, but the fitness really is the thing I had to get on top. Blokes here aren’t really focused on being big and strong, it's all about fitness and that long distance running."
Even though Manzone had some distant family living in WA who he has connected up with, he essentially made the move along with his girlfriend while knowing nobody in the entire state.
That didn’t scare him off, though, in fact he was looking forward to that challenge and has enjoyed the whole pre-season.
"I have some family as such over here on my dad's side and I have got to know them to help me settle in, but I didn’t really know anyone at all when I got here. It wasn’t so much daunting, it was more the unknown of not being at home with the family and in your home state, but it's been good so far and has helped me grow up a little bit," Manzone said.
"I have really enjoyed the move so far. Even the last couple of years playing in the NEAFL it has always been an option to come across, and I was lucky enough to get offered a contract by West Perth.
"I have settled in well and the club has been pretty good, and the coaches are really good and the personnel are all great around the club. It probably has helped that I brought my girlfriend across too to help settle in and it's all been good so far."
Manzone has had one experience of playing in WA before when he represented Queensland back in 2011. He was one of the Maroons better players in a narrow six-point loss in Mandurah. He enjoyed that experience of playing against WA and now is glad to be part of the WAFL. 
"I was pretty glad I was lucky enough to play in that game and to come over here to play was a real eye-opener of what the new standard of footy is like," he said.
"We have a pretty good standard back home with Brisbane and the Gold Coast combined with the new conference, but to come across to WA and play against the best of the best from WAFL was good, and a real eye-opener to play against some ex-AFL players.
"I really enjoyed it and it was a good experience, and I played alright. The whole time our attitude was not to give up and play our style of footy, and the conditions went our way and we were lucky that Dayne Zorko kicked a few last quarter goals that got us back into it.
"We were pretty rapt to get within a goal considering two years before when we played them two years ago in Townville they did us pretty easily. All the boys were pretty happy in that aspect and it was good to see that the gap is starting to close between the two states."
While he still has no doubt that WAFL football will be a step up for him, Manzone has been impressed with the improved standard back home since the inception of the NEAFL to include teams from Sydney, Canberra, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
"The standard has really improved and you can see that by the quality of players starting to come into the league," Manzone said.
"My old team Apsley from last year have got Cheynee Stiller from the Brisbane Lions and have brought in another guy from SANFL, and are starting to get either ex-AFL players or players from other leagues like the SANFL or WAFL.
"The crossover of the northern and eastern conference gives you the ability to play that elite level with the travel, and it gives you the opportunity to go down and play in Canberra or Sydney, or up in the Northern Territory. It gives it that extra dimension and I have noticed since we went to the NEAFL there has been a lot more exposure and the play has been on a lot higher level."
BY CHRIS PIKE

TRENT Manzone was instantly impressed with what he saw at West Perth in the derby win late last year and now the Queensland recruit can't wait to run out there to make his debut for the Falcons this Saturday against the Royals.

Manzone arrives from Queensland where he most recently played in the new North Eastern Australian Football League with Apsley as a talented and hard-running wingman/half-back with good kicking skills.

He saw firsthand what a Perth derby was like in Round 24 last year and now can't wait to play in one himself when he lines up for West Perth against East Perth at Arena Joondalup this Saturday.

"Everyone has been telling me not only that there's a rivalry, but about the amount of people that come and watch the game. Even last year when we played East Perth and there wasn’t much riding on it, there was a lot of excitement with that many people at the game," Manzone said.

"It's good to have that rivalry and back home there were only little rivalries because the competition isn’t really old enough. It's good being here having those cross-town rivals and I've got my parents coming across for my first game, so they are pretty excited to see me run out of the first time and so am I."

West Perth did welcome Manzone into its nest late last year for the derby with East Perth which the Falcons won in the final round. He was impressed with everything he saw as a spectator that day and from that day on he always knew he wanted to be part of the club.

"They did bring me over at the end of last year to watch them play East Perth in the last round so I got to know the blokes then and they were really inviting, so that was pretty good," he said.

"Anything and everything I have needed in the move, the club has had answers or got me to the right people and they have done everything they can to help me settle in. It's only been training that has been the hard part really and that's to be expected."

While perhaps best suited to a role running off half-back where he can show his kicking and running abilities, Manzone is happy to play where coach Bill Monaghan wants him to in the side, but he does feel the running style of WAFL football will suit him down to the tee.

He also is fitter than he's ever been after the pre-season session under strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley.

"Last year I played the last three quarters of the year across half-back and played really well. I was pretty happy with the way I was at with it, but other than that I've always played through the midfield or when I was even younger, forward," he said.

"But I've told Bill I will play wherever they need me whether it half-back, forward, midfield or wing. I will just be happy if I'm getting a game and playing to my standards. I think it's just the load of training that I've had to adjust to.

"At home we would train Monday, Tuesday and Thursday but Monday was a recovery session, and Tuesday and Thursday was always tough for me to get to all the time because it was an hour's drive from the sunshine coast and the training is on a different level here.

"Soles is our strength and conditioning coach here and he's the best one I've had so far and the intensity and level of training is a bit better. There are grounds here twice the size of back home but it's just the load and time spent training is a step up here.

"Ross Parker is one of the reasons I came across and he always let me know that the speed was one thing with WAFL footy, but the fitness really is the thing I had to get on top. Blokes here aren’t really focused on being big and strong, it's all about fitness and that long distance running."

Even though Manzone had some distant family living in WA who he has connected up with, he essentially made the move along with his girlfriend while knowing nobody in the entire state.

That didn’t scare him off, though, in fact he was looking forward to that challenge and has enjoyed the whole pre-season.

"I have some family as such over here on my dad's side and I have got to know them to help me settle in, but I didn’t really know anyone at all when I got here. It wasn’t so much daunting, it was more the unknown of not being at home with the family and in your home state, but it's been good so far and has helped me grow up a little bit," Manzone said.

"I have really enjoyed the move so far. Even the last couple of years playing in the NEAFL it has always been an option to come across, and I was lucky enough to get offered a contract by West Perth.

"I have settled in well and the club has been pretty good, and the coaches are really good and the personnel are all great around the club. It probably has helped that I brought my girlfriend across too to help settle in and it's all been good so far."

Manzone has had one experience of playing in WA before when he represented Queensland back in 2011. He was one of the Maroons better players in a narrow six-point loss in Mandurah. He enjoyed that experience of playing against WA and now is glad to be part of the WAFL. 

"I was pretty glad I was lucky enough to play in that game and to come over here to play was a real eye-opener of what the new standard of footy is like," he said.

"We have a pretty good standard back home with Brisbane and the Gold Coast combined with the new conference, but to come across to WA and play against the best of the best from WAFL was good, and a real eye-opener to play against some ex-AFL players.

"I really enjoyed it and it was a good experience, and I played alright. The whole time our attitude was not to give up and play our style of footy, and the conditions went our way and we were lucky that Dayne Zorko kicked a few last quarter goals that got us back into it.

"We were pretty rapt to get within a goal considering two years before when we played them two years ago in Townville they did us pretty easily. All the boys were pretty happy in that aspect and it was good to see that the gap is starting to close between the two states."

While he still has no doubt that WAFL football will be a step up for him, Manzone has been impressed with the improved standard back home since the inception of the NEAFL to include teams from Sydney, Canberra, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

"The standard has really improved and you can see that by the quality of players starting to come into the league," Manzone said.

"My old team Apsley from last year have got Cheynee Stiller from the Brisbane Lions and have brought in another guy from SANFL, and are starting to get either ex-AFL players or players from other leagues like the SANFL or WAFL.

"The crossover of the northern and eastern conference gives you the ability to play that elite level with the travel, and it gives you the opportunity to go down and play in Canberra or Sydney, or up in the Northern Territory. It gives it that extra dimension and I have noticed since we went to the NEAFL there has been a lot more exposure and the play has been on a lot higher level."

BY CHRIS PIKE