Round 10 PREVIEW V PERTH

Friday, May 24, 2013 - 1:20 AM

WEST Perth and Perth have been two of the form teams of the 2013 season to date and now do battle for the first time this year with second spot up for grabs.

The Falcons and Demons head into Saturday's clash at Arena Joondalup both with 5-2 records and the winner will move clear in second spot on the ladder behind top-of-the-ladder Claremont, a game ahead of the loser in this game and well clear of the fourth-placed side.
Perth has been the surprise packet of the season so far with the Demons showing that despite losing a host of talented players including Ross Young, Leon Davis and Aaron Elari, that having a well-coached and disciplined group who is 100 per cent committed to the cause is capable of big things.
The Demons have won five of the seven games but they could easily be 7-0 with the two losses coming when East Fremantle stole victory with the last kick of the game and then Claremont just held on in a thriller by five points.
West Perth has also been tremendous so far this season though. The Falcons came flying out of the blocks beating East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder before dropping two games to Claremont and Swan Districts.
However, the Falcons hit back on Saturday May 4 with a terrific win in a high-scoring shootout against East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval. West Perth hasn’t played since then, though, so it will be intriguing to see how the Falcons come out with three weeks in between matches.
While Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk and Jay van Berlo did play in the State game victory for WA over Victoria in Northam on May 11 while several young players also played in the rising stars game that Friday night, but the rest of the group has had two full weeks off from playing a competitive hit out.
West Perth will make at least two forced changed from the team that did beat East Fremantle with small defender Laine Rasmussen out injured and Mark Hutchings called up to play his second game with the West Coast Eagles against the GWS Giants.
Captain Jason Salecic is set to return from a hamstring injury for his first game since Round 2 with former Swan Districts small forward Steve Potente a chance to make his West Perth debut after a game in the reserves following injury.
Shaun Marusic, Frank Stockley and Jack Thrum are also pushing for selection for the Falcons.
Perth loses West Coast's Ashley Smith from the team that beat Subiaco by 25 points last Saturday with four players all looking to break into the side to either make their WAFL debuts, play their first game of the season or first with Perth.
David Johnston has joined Perth this season after time with both Swan Districts and Peel, and could come in for the Demons to play his first game while Matthew Hunt is a chance for his first game of 2013 with both Kieran Hug and Tyler Chrimes in the mix for their WAFL debuts.
While confident that West Perth can get the job on Saturday, Falcons coach Bill Monaghan can't help but be impressed with the transformation Perth has made so far this season.
"Even though there has been a bit of turnover on the Perth list, I don’t think it's been a talent issue at Perth for a number of years. I'm not on the inside of the club so I'm not going to comment directly on any culture issues they might have had, but people at the club have openly said they have tried to change the culture," Monaghan said.
"Having people like Paul Bevan around who has been part of the successful Sydney era would help that and it drifts down the entire playing squad. They have assembled a good list, they are playing an exciting brand of footy and get up the ground, and run back hard and defend hard.
"Talent-wise they have enough of that to be a strong team and it's now a fact that Marty Atkins is having an impact as CEO and the coach Damien McMahon has upped his expectations on the playing group.
"It just goes to show that if you have strong beliefs within the group and standards that you demand are met then you get your reward. They should be commended on what they have done so far."
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth and Perth have been two of the form teams of the 2013 season to date and now do battle for the first time this year with second spot up for grabs.

The Falcons and Demons head into Saturday's clash at Arena Joondalup both with 5-2 records and the winner will move clear in second spot on the ladder behind top-of-the-ladder Claremont, a game ahead of the loser in this game and well clear of the fourth-placed side.

Perth has been the surprise packet of the season so far with the Demons showing that despite losing a host of talented players including Ross Young, Leon Davis and Aaron Elari, that having a well-coached and disciplined group who is 100 per cent committed to the cause is capable of big things.

The Demons have won five of the seven games but they could easily be 7-0 with the two losses coming when East Fremantle stole victory with the last kick of the game and then Claremont just held on in a thriller by five points.

West Perth has also been tremendous so far this season though. The Falcons came flying out of the blocks beating East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder before dropping two games to Claremont and Swan Districts.

However, the Falcons hit back on Saturday May 4 with a terrific win in a high-scoring shootout against East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval. West Perth hasn’t played since then, though, so it will be intriguing to see how the Falcons come out with three weeks in between matches.

While Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk and Jay van Berlo did play in the State game victory for WA over Victoria in Northam on May 11 while several young players also played in the rising stars game that Friday night, but the rest of the group has had two full weeks off from playing a competitive hit out.

West Perth will make at least two forced changed from the team that did beat East Fremantle with small defender Laine Rasmussen out injured and Mark Hutchings called up to play his second game with the West Coast Eagles against the GWS Giants.

Captain Jason Salecic is set to return from a hamstring injury for his first game since Round 2 with former Swan Districts small forward Steve Potente a chance to make his West Perth debut after a game in the reserves following injury.

Shaun Marusic, Frank Stockley and Jack Thrum are also pushing for selection for the Falcons.

Perth loses West Coast's Ashley Smith from the team that beat Subiaco by 25 points last Saturday with four players all looking to break into the side to either make their WAFL debuts, play their first game of the season or first with Perth.

David Johnston has joined Perth this season after time with both Swan Districts and Peel, and could come in for the Demons to play his first game while Matthew Hunt is a chance for his first game of 2013 with both Kieran Hug and Tyler Chrimes in the mix for their WAFL debuts.

While confident that West Perth can get the job on Saturday, Falcons coach Bill Monaghan can't help but be impressed with the transformation Perth has made so far this season.

"Even though there has been a bit of turnover on the Perth list, I don’t think it's been a talent issue at Perth for a number of years. I'm not on the inside of the club so I'm not going to comment directly on any culture issues they might have had, but people at the club have openly said they have tried to change the culture," Monaghan said.

"Having people like Paul Bevan around who has been part of the successful Sydney era would help that and it drifts down the entire playing squad. They have assembled a good list, they are playing an exciting brand of footy and get up the ground, and run back hard and defend hard.

"Talent-wise they have enough of that to be a strong team and it's now a fact that Marty Atkins is having an impact as CEO and the coach Damien McMahon has upped his expectations on the playing group.

"It just goes to show that if you have strong beliefs within the group and standards that you demand are met then you get your reward. They should be commended on what they have done so far."

BY CHRIS PIKE