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STRIJK BACK TO BEST IN OLD ROLE

Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 5:44 AM
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ANDREW Strijk played some outstanding football off half-back to find himself drafted and now in his first season back from the West Coast Eagles he has resumed that role with great aplomb for West Perth.

Strijk made his WAFL debut with the Falcons back in 2006 originally as a wingman/half-forward with outstanding kicking skills. Those foot skills have remained, but it was a move to playing off half-back that saw him emerge as one of the most talented players in the WAFL in 2009.
He ended up picked up by the Eagles as a rookie and played 13 AFL matches in three years at West Coast and when back at West Perth in that time he spent the majority of his time back either on the wing or playing across half-forward.
While the now 25-year-old still played some good football, he has returned to West Perth full-time in 2013 and has resettled himself into a role across half-back and is in the middle of an outstanding season.
He played in Western Australia's drought breaking win over Victoria and has averaged 20 possessions a game where his kicking skills coming off half-back constantly sets up play for the second-placed Falcons.
Strijk himself is glad to be back in the role he is most comfortable in.
"It's something that I actually started doing in 2008 when Todd Curley was here and when Bill Monaghan first came to the club," Strijk said.
"I actually got drafted as a half-back so I've sort of played my better footy there and I'm a bit more comfortable playing behind the ball. I love being back there and especially to be around guys like Teddy and Browney who are fantastic to play next to."
Helping to make Strjik's role in the back-line work so well is the fact that the Falcons have experienced big men Michael Pettigrew and Dan Hunt standing up with Strijk, Steven Browne, Luke Tedesco and Laine Rasmussen alongside them.
"It's fantastic in the back-line. We get good leadership from Petters and Dan Hunt with Teddy there as well and then we've also got some good run out of there as well with Browney, Jordy and Ras. It's good to have Ras back this week as well because he's fantastic. It's going well back there," he said.
"You know that nine times out of 10 guys like Petters and Hunty will either beat their opponent or halve the contest so you know that the ball is either going to come to ground or they will mark so it's a great confidence boost playing alongside guys like that."
Some players struggle with the adjustment of dropping back to play in the WAFL after spending time on an AFL list, but for Strijk it has simply been about going back to his life before being drafted by West Coast.
He has now played 123 games for the Falcons, kicked 132 goals and played state football on three occasions, but for Strijk is sole focus is on team success. He is yet to play in a winning final in his career and he desperately wants that to soon change.
"I guess I'm pretty lucky because before I got drafted I had a pretty good job with my old man and uncle working in refrigeration, and I'm doing that again. I'm really enjoying that and I love being at this club," he said.
"It's my favourite club to play at and I wouldn’t want to play at any other club. I'm here with my best mates, it's where I've grown up playing footy and I've learned a lot of things here. I want to stay here for the rest of my career.
"Winning a final is the next step we need to take and then it's making a grand final. That's all that is important. Individual performance means nothing with anyone. As long as we can play as a team, get out team defence going and win games of footy, that's all that matters."
After Sunday's 14-point win over East Fremantle, West Perth sits a game and percentage clear in second spot on the WAFL ladder after 13 rounds and Strijk puts much of the success in that performance after tough losses to East Perth and Claremont was the defensive set up from the team.
"It's really tough to come here and actually beat East Fremantle, but to do it twice in a year is pretty successful for us and that's a good starting point to the start of our campaign in the second half of the year and looking towards finals," Strijk said.
"It was a big especially after the last two weeks when we've been very disappointed in ourselves. This week we came here and put four quarters together. It got a big close towards the end there, but we held on and played some good footy.
"The boys started to trust each other with our defence and pressing up. We've spent a lot of time with it at training and practicing it, and that's why we played so well in the first three and-a-half quarters. We really got back to trusting each other with that team defence."
BY CHRIS PIKEANDREW Strijk played some outstanding football off half-back to find himself drafted and now in his first season back from the West Coast Eagles he has resumed that role with great aplomb for West Perth.

Strijk made his WAFL debut with the Falcons back in 2006 originally as a wingman/half-forward with outstanding kicking skills. Those foot skills have remained, but it was a move to playing off half-back that saw him emerge as one of the most talented players in the WAFL in 2009.

He ended up picked up by the Eagles as a rookie and played 13 AFL matches in three years at West Coast and when back at West Perth in that time he spent the majority of his time back either on the wing or playing across half-forward.

While the now 25-year-old still played some good football, he has returned to West Perth full-time in 2013 and has resettled himself into a role across half-back and is in the middle of an outstanding season.

He played in Western Australia's drought breaking win over Victoria and has averaged 20 possessions a game where his kicking skills coming off half-back constantly sets up play for the second-placed Falcons.

Strijk himself is glad to be back in the role he is most comfortable in.

"It's something that I actually started doing in 2008 when Todd Curley was here and when Bill Monaghan first came to the club," Strijk said.

"I actually got drafted as a half-back so I've sort of played my better footy there and I'm a bit more comfortable playing behind the ball. I love being back there and especially to be around guys like Teddy and Browney who are fantastic to play next to."

Helping to make Strjik's role in the back-line work so well is the fact that the Falcons have experienced big men Michael Pettigrew and Dan Hunt standing up with Strijk, Steven Browne, Luke Tedesco and Laine Rasmussen alongside them.

"It's fantastic in the back-line. We get good leadership from Petters and Dan Hunt with Teddy there as well and then we've also got some good run out of there as well with Browney, Jordy and Ras. It's good to have Ras back this week as well because he's fantastic. It's going well back there," he said.

"You know that nine times out of 10 guys like Petters and Hunty will either beat their opponent or halve the contest so you know that the ball is either going to come to ground or they will mark so it's a great confidence boost playing alongside guys like that."

Some players struggle with the adjustment of dropping back to play in the WAFL after spending time on an AFL list, but for Strijk it has simply been about going back to his life before being drafted by West Coast.

He has now played 123 games for the Falcons, kicked 132 goals and played state football on three occasions, but for Strijk is sole focus is on team success. He is yet to play in a winning final in his career and he desperately wants that to soon change.

"I guess I'm pretty lucky because before I got drafted I had a pretty good job with my old man and uncle working in refrigeration, and I'm doing that again. I'm really enjoying that and I love being at this club," he said.

"It's my favourite club to play at and I wouldn’t want to play at any other club. I'm here with my best mates, it's where I've grown up playing footy and I've learned a lot of things here. I want to stay here for the rest of my career.

"Winning a final is the next step we need to take and then it's making a grand final. That's all that is important. Individual performance means nothing with anyone. As long as we can play as a team, get out team defence going and win games of footy, that's all that matters."

After Sunday's 14-point win over East Fremantle, West Perth sits a game and percentage clear in second spot on the WAFL ladder after 13 rounds and Strijk puts much of the success in that performance after tough losses to East Perth and Claremont was the defensive set up from the team.

"It's really tough to come here and actually beat East Fremantle, but to do it twice in a year is pretty successful for us and that's a good starting point to the start of our campaign in the second half of the year and looking towards finals," Strijk said.

"It was a big especially after the last two weeks when we've been very disappointed in ourselves. This week we came here and put four quarters together. It got a big close towards the end there, but we held on and played some good footy.

"The boys started to trust each other with our defence and pressing up. We've spent a lot of time with it at training and practicing it, and that's why we played so well in the first three and-a-half quarters. We really got back to trusting each other with that team defence."

BY CHRIS PIKE