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FALCONS THRASH ROYALS TO OPEN SEASON

Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 12:57 PM
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WEST Perth could not have possibly made a more emphatic or exciting start to the 2013 WAFL season than beating East Perth by 75 points in the derby at Arena Joondalup on Saturday.

After an even first half that saw the Falcons lead by just four points at the main break, West Perth put on a remarkable display of football in the second half to kick 11 goals to just one from its fierce rivals to run out massive 19.18 (132) to 9.3 (57) winners.

The 75-point win is the biggest in a Perth derby since East Perth beat West Perth by 76 points back in Round 1, 2002 at Leederville Oval.

West Perth came into the 2013 season confident after a big campaign over summer and with strong practice match form with good wins over South Fremantle and Peel, and that buoyant feeling translated into Saturday's incredible performance at Arena Joondalup.

It was an even opening half with East Perth kicking four goals to three in the first quarter to lead by three points at quarter-time, and then the Falcons kicked five goals to four in the second term to hold a narrow four-point lead at the half-time break.

However, it was all West Perth after the interval with the Falcons piling on six goals to one in the third quarter to lead by 38 points at the last change, and then another five goals nil in the final term to end up winning by 75 points.

The margin could have actually been much closer to 100 points had West Perth not also kicked nine behinds in the final quarter, but no doubt everyone at the Falcons would have been more than happy with the 75-point winning margin over the old enemy.

The star of the day without a doubt for West Perth was debutant Matthew Johnson. The 18-year-old did play one Foxtel Cup match last year, but Saturday's derby was his official WAFL debut and what an impact he made.

Johnson kicked six goals from 18 possessions and five marks to set the Falcons faithful alight.

He received good support up forward as well with Fremantle's Josh Mellington kicking three goals and Anthony Tsalikis two while Marc Crisp and Ray Bartholomew also chipped in with two apiece.

Emerging midfielder Shane Nelson continued on his form from last year to rack up 30 possessions, but he didn’t enjoy his time in front of goal kicking 1.5.

There were plenty more strong ball winners for the Falcons as well with Steven Browne gathering 24 possessions, Aaron Black 23, Jay van Berlo 20, Bartholomew 19, Jordan Jones 19 and Andrew Strijk 19.

Two of West Perth's recruits Rohan Kerr and Trent Manzone also had good debuts in the red-and-blue with 19 disposals apiece. Both showed that they look set to be more than handy pick ups throughout 2013.

Chris Keunen had a good battle in the ruck with East Perth's Paul Johnson and finished with 17 possessions, six marks and 25 hit outs.

While it was youngsters like Black, Johnson and Nelson who might have received all the accolades, veteran defenders Michael Pettigrew and Dan Hunt were outstanding with Jason Salecic and Matt Guadagnin chipping in when needed to help the young side shine. 

Earlier, the reserves lost a thriller by two points to East Perth with Anton Saylor kicking three goals and Max Alexander two. Corey Chalmers picked up 22 possessions, Aidan Lynch 22, Broderick Walton 20, James Embley 18 and Joe Morrow 17. Frank Stockley had 32 hit outs in the ruck.

The colts, though, started the day off on a winning note for West Perth with a 6.7 (43) to 5.12 (42) win over the Royals.

Nicholas Robertson was brilliant for West Perth with 36 possessions and two goals. Blake Acres also picked up 32 disposals, Jesse Kirwen 21, Luke Meadows 19 and William Michell 19.

 

WEST PERTH                                      3.4          8.5          14.9        19.18     (132)

EAST PERTH                                        4.1          8.1          9.1          9.3          (57)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Johnson 6; Mellington 3; Crisp, Tsalikis, Bartholomew 2; Salecic, Fowler, Rodda, Nelson.

Best: Johnson, Nelson, Black, Pettigrew, Browne, Kerr, Black, Hunt, Keunen.

EAST PERTH – Goals: Johnson, Cadwallader 2; Seal, Moss, Maldenis, Wulff, Swan.

Best: Wulff, Moss, Lee, Wilson, Johnson, Chartres.

 

BY CHRIS PIKE