Sunday, June 9, 2013 - 10:44 PM

West Perth could not match the consistency of Claremont at the Arena Joondalup on Saturday.

The Tigers used the ball better for longer periods of play and ran out twenty one point winners. It was a credit to the Falcons that they persisted and kept the margin to what it was because at different times it looked as though Claremont was going to run away with it. West Perth really felt the loss of big man Chris Keunen who had to withdraw from the game due to a migraine. His replacement, Frank Stockley, battled manfully when you consider that he had already played a half in the Reserves.

Claremont got the jump kicking the first two goals of the game. The Falcons steadied to kick the next three and take the lead. The first went to debutant Shaun Marusic who scored a goal with his first kick in league football. Nick Rodda placed the ball to his advantage and he ran into an open goal. Nick Rodda was again involved when he laid a great tackle that turned the ball over to Luke Tedesco who put the ball into the hands of Mark Hutchings who kicked the first of his three for the game. This gave the Falcons a one point lead which was extended to seven when Jay Van Berlo converted after a boundary throw in. But the Tigers steadied to kick the last four of the term and the next eight for the game. At the first change they led 6.3 (39) to 3.3 (21).

Claremont dominated the second term kicking four unanswered goals and at the seventeen minute mark led by a match winning thirty nine points. Marc Crisp stopped Clarmeont's run when he scored from thirty but Claremont kicked the next two to take the lead out to forty five. Steven Potente scored the next goal when he received fifty metres and finished from the square. Matt Guadagnin followed shortly after when the ball fell free from a strong tackle and he finished accurately. The margin was reduced to thirty three but the last scoring shots of the term went to Claremont and at the main change they led by forty one; 13.5 (83) to 6.6 (42).

West Perth stormed back into the game at the start of the third quarter and by the nine minute mark had reduced the deficit to twenty two. Matt Guadagnin broke a tackle to kick his second, the hard running Anthony Tsalikis his first and he took advantage of some great use of the footy to kick his second. But as was the case all day the Tigers responded and kicked the next four to lead by forty seven at the twenty five minute mark. Falcons’ supporters were given a small degree of hope when Andrew Strijk ran from half back to kick a major and reduce the margin to forty at the final change. Scores were 17.6 (108) to 10.8 (68).

Claremont scored three behinds to start the final term before West Perth charged home. Mark Hutchings kicked his second after taking the ball off hands, “Slick” his third after marking thirty out, Aaron Black received a free kick and fifty metres to score from the square, Josh Mellington finished with a clever snap and when Mark Hutchings kicked his third from fifty the Claremont lead had been reduced to fifteen at the twenty eight minute mark. There was plenty of time left as Paul Medhurst was carried off on a stretcher early in the term and all quarters had gone for nearly thirty five minutes. The run came to a halt, however, when Ian Richardson kicked his fourth goal from the boundary. The siren went shortly after sealing the twenty one point victory and the 18.11 (119) to 15.8 (98) score line.

The Falcons did a good job to stem the tide and then fight back after the strong first half by Claremont. The five day turn around and loss of Chris Keunen prior to the game was undoubtedly unsettling but it makes the game against East Fremantle next week even more important. Best players were Jay Van Berlo, Anthony Tsalikis, Andrew Strijk, Matt Guadagnin and best was Mark Hutchings who was terrific after coming back from the Eagles. The Reserves are to be congratulated for their third win in a row. Best players were Max Alexander, Josh Donaldson, Michael Mascoulis, Matt Fowler and Laine Rasmussen. A must win game against the Sharks next Sunday. Be there to help get the boys over the line.