Monday, June 24, 2013 - 12:23 PM

West Perth pulled off a wonderful come from behind victory against Subiaco at the Arena Joondalup on Saturday.

It was a fitting end to a great day at which the 2003 Premiership side was recognised. It was amazing to watch the bond that exists between this group of players as a result of the 2003 victory and it will certainly give impetus to the 2013 team that showed a lot of those qualities in their one point victory.

Subiaco won the toss and kicked to the Perth end with the aid of the breeze and they dominated the first twenty one minutes. During that time they controlled play to kick five goals six and set up a thirty six point advantage. The first West Perth score didn’t come until four minutes later when Josh Mellington kicked a behind from forty. He followed up shortly after with the Falcons first major when he marked forty five out. As a result West Perth salvaged something from the first quarter and at the first change they trailed by twenty nine; 5.6 (36) to 1.1 (7).

The Falcons had the advantage of the breeze in the second quarter and were on the board in the first minute. This occurred when Andrew Strijk took the ball just inside the centre square and bounced through a long bomb. Chris Deluca replied shortly after to restore the status quo. Mark Hutchings was then involved in the centre clearance and finished from fifty to narrow the gap. Promising youngster Brayden Antonio then stepped up to kick the next two for the Falcons.

The first was after he pounced on a Subiaco defensive error and snapped cleverly, the second was a kick from fifty after receiving a Mark Hutchings handball. In between these two Raymond Daniels had scored for the Lions so after eleven minutes the margin had been reduced to seventeen. The next ten minutes belonged to the Falcons as they attacked relentlessly but unfortunately they only managed three behinds. Subiaco then piled on three goals in red time and took a thirty point lead into the main break. They in fact had outscored West Perth by one point and at half time victory looked a long way away. Scores were Subiaco 10.7 (67) to West Perth 5.7 (37).

To have any chance of a win West Perth had to at least hold Subiaco as they kicked to the scoring end. The first goal of the term came at the eight minute mark courtesy of a second to Josh Mellington. Matt Fowler then marked and scored from forty five and after a precise series of passes starting in defence and finished by Trent Manzone found Fowler thirty out, his second goal saw the margin reduced to twelve at the sixteen minute mark. The Falcons had worked really hard to get back into the game but it was undone to a degree when Jarrod Kayler-Thomson and Antoni Grover delivered to restore a four goal advantage. The term finished on the right note for West Perth when Kody Manning marked, played on and scored from thirty. At the final change West Perth trailed by three straight; 12.9 (81) to 9.9 (63).

The last quarter certainly lived up to expectations. It had been a hard fought battle all day and the last quarter was no exception. West Perth kicked four unanswered goals to snatch the lead for the first time in the game at the twenty two minute mark. They had to work really hard against a determined Lions team to achieve this. The first goal went to Jay Van Berlo who received a handball from the best on ground, Matt Guadagnin.

The next ten minutes saw the teams trade behinds before big man Nick Rodda received a free kick in the square. His goal reduced the margin to seven. Shane Nelson then got the Falcons to within a point after controlling the ball on the wing, taking a bounce and bouncing the ball through from outside fifty. It would be fair to say that the bounce was a favourable one as it deviated at nearly a right angle for a major.

Consecutive behinds to West Perth saw them tie the game and then take the lead for the first time in the match. Josh Mellington then laid a terrific tackle to receive a free fifty out, on the boundary on the wrong side for a left footer. To the joy of West Perth supporters his kick split the middle to give him three for the day and the Falcons a seven point lead. Josh Mellington’s attack on the footy is always first class and he is a very good player who is working towards another AFL game. As you would expect the game wasn’t done yet as the Lions took the ball straight out of the middle and big man Callum Sinclair marked thirty out to convert. The margin was just a behind at the twenty four minute mark. The siren went at the thirty two minute mark so for eight minutes all supporters were riveted by the contest that was taking place as each side tried to secure victory. There wasn’t a score in this time and as a result West Perth had earned a one point win; 13.13 (91) to 13.12 (90).

It was a hard fought win that keeps the Falcons one game clear in second spot. There is no such thing as an easy game in the WAFL this year but the character shown by the team today to fight back and achieve victory is highly commendable and a credit to senior coach, Bill Monaghan. Best players were Matt Fowler, Josh Mellington, Shane Nelson, Aaron Black, Andrew Strijk and best was Matt Guadagnin. Congratulations to the Reserves who moved to the edge of the four with their fourth win in their last five games. Coach, Paul Sanzone, has the team going really well. Best players were Kris Shannon, Steven Potente, Joe Morrow and best was Frank Stockley. All are knocking on the door for selection in the League team. A big game against the in-form Swan Districts next week at Steel Blue Oval. See you there.