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Friday, March 22, 2013 - 1:00 PM
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WEST Perth made an ideal start to the 2013 season and so did veteran defender Michael Pettigrew personally as he looks for the Falcons to continue that winning form this Friday night against Subiaco.

Pettigrew began his career with West Perth before being drafted by Port Adelaide in 2003 and going on to play 103 games with the Power before leaving at the end of the 2011 season.

That was a tremendous AFL career for the junior from Whitfords and he was more than happy to return to the Falcons in 2012 and now started the 2013 campaign in impressive fashion holding East Perth's Josh Smith goalless in last Saturday's 75-point win over the Royals at Arena Joondalup.

Pettigrew knows that it's important for West Perth to back up with another good performance against Subiaco this Friday night, and he's glad that it's a night fixture at Leederville's Medibank Stadium.

"I'm looking forward to Friday night footy," Pettigrew said.

"I think there should be a bit more night footy played here in Perth in the WAFL, that would be nice and it's always enjoyable to play in."

Even though Pettigrew knows the Falcons can't afford to get ahead of themselves following last Saturday's thumping of East Perth, he also acknowledges there couldn’t have been a better way to start off the season.

"It's only one game, but it's a good start and we can't complain to start things off with a win like that," Pettigrew said.

"For the team to start off is really good and there are now plenty of good signs for the rest of the year, so hopefully we can have a good season.

"The last quarter especially was a bit of fun and it's good when the boys are up and going like that, and playing well. It's always good to watch."

Pettigrew did feel that Smith got a hold of him a couple of times in the derbies of 2012 so he was glad to hold the former Falcon goalless and just to six kicks last Saturday.

"I think he got me a bit last year so it's good to get one back on him I suppose, but he's probably still up on the win-loss ratio against me. Hopefully I can get another back on him later in the year."

Pettigrew played 14 games for West Perth last year upon returning from Port Adelaide, and acknowledges he didn’t have the impact he hoped. He is feeling better physically coming into this year and either way that's always helped by the fact that the team is playing so well already.

"I've rested over the pre-season a fair bit and my knees are quite a bit better, but in saying that I'm not 100 per cent fixed and I'm getting old so I'm sort of on my way out," he said.

"I've played a lot of footy now and I had an old knee injury that I probably didn’t take care of as well as I should have, but I'm not complaining and it's just good to be part of a team that wins. That's what I'm here for."

West Perth lost plenty of experience from its back-line from 2012 with the retirements of Dion Fleay, Dustin Burns and Brent LeCras, but Pettigrew and Dan Hunt are happy to lead the way for the likes of Kody Manning, Nick Rodda and Laine Rasmussen to help them develop.

"We have some really good young players down back so we are just trying to help those guys come through because I know I will be watching them on from the hill in the future," he said.

"We are trying to fast track them along as much as we can and hopefully we also win a few games along the way."

Pettigrew was always going to return to West Perth once his AFL career was over and after missing Port Adelaide's premiership of 2004 and playing in the record-breaking loss to Geelong in the 2007 grand final, he's hoping for some team success before his career is over.

"I would never have played anywhere else once I left Port Adelaide. I grew up in the area, I have bought a house just next door in Currambine and I was never going too far away from here once my AFL career finished," Pettigrew said.

"I haven’t really got any trophies in my cabinet as a player so I would like to finish my career with something in there. So I'm looking forward to us having a good year as a team this year."