Monday, March 18, 2013 - 9:00 AM

A well drilled and hard running West Perth team were far too good for East Perth at the Arena on Saturday.

Their attack on the football, fierce tackling and four quarter effort was a reflection of the planning and preparation that has gone into the pre-season. The Falcons presented as a committed group of players with a specific game plan and a desire to be a competitive team in 2013.

The first five minutes of the game announced the arrival of youngster Matt Johnson. He was in everything and kicked the first of his six goals at the two minute mark. It was the result of carrying the ball from the wing, handballing it off to Matt Fowler, receiving it back and kicking from twenty out. Johnson also kicked the next two behinds and was responsible for the eight point Falcon lead at the six minute mark. The Royals kicked the next two courtesy of Ryan Maldenis and Gary Moss and they led by three midway through the term. Another youngster who was impressive was Nick Rodda and he combined with new recruit Rohan Kerr to get the ball into the hands of Matt Johnson for his second. The West Perth lead was out to nine after a long bomb from Ray Bartholomew bounced over the pack for a major. East Perth steadied to kick the last two of the term. One went to dangerous big man Paul Johnson. The Royals led by three at the first change; 4.1 (25) to 3.4 (22).

After five minutes of the second term East Perth led by fifteen thanks to a second for Paul Johnson and a first to Michael Swan. West Perth quickly settled and the lead was narrowed thanks to a strong Nick Rodda mark forty out. He kicked accurately. Shortly after Dean Cadwallader kicked his second to extend the lead but soon after Matt Johnson was once again back in the action. He kicked his third after he took advantage of a kick scrambled forward by Andrew Strijk. The margin was back to two when Anthony Tsalikis kicked the ball to the advantage of Marc Crisp who ran into an open goal. The Royals then took advantage of an umpiring non decision that should have seen a West Perth mark paid in their goal square to scramble a major. West Perth shrugged this aside to kick the last two goals of the half. The first was to Josh Mellington from twenty and a terrific chase and tackle saw Matt Johnson kick his fourth. It was a wonderful effort by West Perth to recover and regain the lead to be four points in front. They led; 8.5 (53) to 8.1 (49).

It would be fair to say that the Falcons dominated the second half. They continued to run in waves to support each other and set up scoring opportunities. Their attack on the ball was first class and the Royals wilted under the tremendous pressure. By the twenty minute mark the lead was out to thirty eight. Ray Bartholomew took the ball after an East Perth kick in to score his second, Josh Mellington snapped out of the pack from thirty to add to his total, a terrific passage of play that featured a number of players saw Rohan Kerr get the ball into the hands of Anthony Tsalikis who finished accurately, the new recruits in Trent Manzone and Rohan Kerr were involved when they assisted “Slick” to kick his second and the sequence concluded when a clever tap from Rohan Kerr enabled Matt Johnson to kick his fifth. It was a dominant period of football by West Perth and it was a pleasure to watch. The only East Perth goal for the term was a long kick from Craig Wulff. The Falcon lead of thirty eight was restored after the siren when busy forward Matt Fowler kicked accurately from forty. Going into the last quarter West Perth led 14.9 (93) to 9.1 (55).

The West Perth dominance continued in the final term and the final margin of seventy six could have been much higher as they kicked five goals ten to the Royals two behinds. The running in waves by the Falcons continued unabated for the term and it was a tribute to their fitness levels. The goal scorers for West Perth were the hard running Shane Nelson, Matt Johnson who showed another touch of class when he weaved between East Perth defenders to kick his sixth, Marc Crisp finished accurately for his second, Josh Mellington showed his class with a clever snap for his third and the skipper, Jason Salecic, received his reward for hard running with the final goal of the game. An impressive West Perth thoroughly deserved their 19.19 (133) to 9.3 (57) victory.

It was a consistent team performance by West Perth and any number of players could have been chosen for awards. Those to be recognised were Aaron Black, Jay Van Berlo, Steven Browne, Michael Pettigrew and best was Matthew Johnson. Dan Hunt would be considered unlucky as he hardly lost a contest all day. Two of the recruits, Rohan Kerr and Trent Manzone, certainly showed enough to suggest that they are going to be valuable acquisitions as they are both hard at the ball and use it very well. The Reserves were unlucky to lose by two points as they led until the last minute of the game. Best players were Mitch Van Berlo, Frank Stockley, James Embley and Joe Morrow. The Colts won by a solitary behind and have started the season well. Next week the Falcons take on Subiaco in a Friday night game at Medibank Stadium. See you there.