FALCONS TRIO HELP LEAD WA TO VICTORY

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 3:58 AM

WEST Perth trio Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk and Jay van Berlo all played key roles in Western Australia's first win over Victoria in 22 years in Saturday's State Game in Northam.

While Shane Nelson, Rohan Kerr and Steven Browne could consider themselves unlucky to not have made the WA team after impressive starts to the season, Black and van Berlo were picked for their State debuts and Strijk to make his third appearance in a Black Swans jumper.

Black was one of the stars of the day for the home side. The 20-year-old West Perth wingman has gained good experience with 48 games already with the Falcons despite being the youngest player in WA's team, and he stood up tremendously.

He kicked a good long goal just over a minute in to record the game's first six-pointer and added another crucial one midway through the last quarter to put the Black Swans 11 points up. He finished with 21 possessions to go with the two goals.

Strijk, the West Perth veteran of 119 games and former Eagle, was making his third appearance for WA but has been playing a new role with the Falcons this season across half-back and continued that for the Black Swans where he could use his strong running and kicking ability.

He played a strong game as well finishing with 20 possessions, two clearances, one inside-50 entry and three rebounds from the defensive 50.

Van Berlo is in his first season back full-time with West Perth after 32 games in four years with Fremantle and made his debut for WA and spent much of the game on the ball in the midfield.

He made a solid contribution with 13 disposals and worked hard to lay five tackles and drive the ball inside-50 on three occasions. He kicked a crucial third quarter goal as well to keep WA in the contest.

Victoria dominated an inaccurate WA in the first half and led by a game-high 31 points midway through the third quarter, but the Black Swans managed to wrest back some momentum just before three quarter-time.

The margin was just 14 points by the last break and WA went on to kick the only five goals in the final quarter to run 17.16 (118) to 15.11 (101) victors.

It is WA's first win over a Victorian side in interstate competition since a State of Origin victory back in 1991 at the WACA Ground.

With East Perth spearhead Josh Smith out of the game with a calf strain, WA was always going to have to find some different avenues to goal and perhaps the most unlikely of those turned out to be the eventual Simpson Medal winner.

Wayde Twomey has spent precious little time in his WAFL career with Swan Districts as a forward even though he did do it at times in his VFL days, but the move to play him across half-forward and occasionally deeper proved a masterstroke.

He finished with five goals from 16 possessions and six marks in a tremendous performance.

Paul Bevan and Tim Geappen both added three goals apiece for the Black Swans as well with Brennan Stack and Black booting two apiece.

The WA defence looked shaky at times in the first half but steadied after half-time and was led tremendously by East Fremantle's Steven Dodd. In a near best on ground performance, he repelled Victorian attack after attack in the second half and also Ben Warren quiet in the second half.

Kyle Hams was strong in defence as well and provided goo run out of the back-line with 22 possessions while Strijk did the same with 20 disposals. David Crawford, Tallan Ames and Paul Bower were also sold contributors from the back-line.

Captain Paul Johnson battled hard in the ruck and finished with 19 possessions, 38 hit outs, four clearances and seven entries inside-50. Subiaco's Clancy Wheeler offered him great support also with 14 disposals, five tackles and six inside 50s.

At their feet, Rory O'Brien racked up 31 possessions, Marlon Motlop 27, Brendan Lee 23, Craig Wulff 20 and Jarrod Kayler-Thomson 19.

Chris Cain received the Frank Johnson Medal as Victoria's best afield for his 32-possessions performance. Myles Sewell picked up 27 disposals, Marcus Marigliani, Adam Cockie 22 (and 12 clearances), Dom Gleeson 22 and Kane Lambert 22.

Sam Lloyd kicked four goals for the Big V with Josh Scipione adding three and two each to Michael Lourey, Warren and Chris Michaliades.

The WAFL side got the ideal start when 20-year-old West Perth wingman Black kicked a goal just over a minute into the contest, but Victoria responded almost straightaway through Lourey.

Scipione then kicked two quickly for the Big V to gain the ascendancy before Wheeler converted a 50-metre penalty into a goal for WA.

Victoria then assumed control, though, with WA managing seven behinds for the quarter while the visitors took their chance in front of goals to lead by as much as 22 points late in the opening term.

WA again started the second quarter strongly with first three goals through Geappen, Twomey and Bevan to close the deficit to just two points.

However, once again more gettable shots on goal were missed and then Victoria was able to capitalise on turnovers around the ground to again steady with a 25-point half-time lead despite a three-goal quarter from Twomey.

It only took a minute into the second half for Twomey to kick his fourth of the game but Victoria again steadied Lloyd kicking his third and fourth goals to stretch the lead out to a game-high 31 points.

However, WA worked its way back into the contest and with four goals in seven minutes to Jay van Berlo, Geappen, Stack and Bevan the Black Swans were back within a straight kick. Victoria got one back just before three quarter-time to lead by 14 points at the last change.

While Victoria was still in front at three quarter-time, WA seemed to have the momentum and as it turned out all the run in the final quarter with Stack, Bevan, Twomey, Black and Geappen all kicking goals to see the Black Swans home by 17 points.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.7 7.11 12.13 17.16 (118)

VICTORIA 6.5 12.6 15.9 15.11 (101)

WA – Goals: Twomey 5; Geappen, Bevan 3; Stack, Black 2; van Berlo, Wheeler.

Best: Twomey, Dodd, Johnson, Lee, O'Brien, Black, Strijk.

VICTORIA – Goals: Lloyd 4; Scipione 3; Warren, Lourey, Michaliades 2; Panozza, Lambert.

Best: Cain, Marigliani, Mirra, Sewell, Gleeson, Cockie.

Simpson Medal (WA): Wayde Twomey.

Frank Johnson Medal (Victoria): Chris Cain.