FALCONS RECRUITS MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 12:30 PM

SELECTIVE recruiting was the order of the day for West Perth coming into the 2013 WAFL season and already Rohan Kerr, Trent Manzone and Shaun Marusic have made their mark, with Jay van Berlo and Andrew Strijk being outstanding in performance and leadership on return.

Iwas always going to be a big ask for West Perth to replace star veterans Dion Fleay, Brent LeCras and Dustin Burns in 2013 with Joel Rice another 100-plus game player to move on.
Captain Jason Salecic has also been restricted to a limited role with just four games up to Round 15, but the new recruits, the two star returnees from the AFL plus the emerging youngsters in the side have all helped the Falcons to sit comfortably in second position on the ladder.
On top of the arrivals and returnees in 2013, two of the recruits of last year have also stepped up to have a massive impact so far this season.
Kerr arrived at West Perth after being on Carlton's AFL list for three years and whether he's been playing on the wing or across half-forward, he has had a terrific impact for the Falcons already.
He did have a minor hiccup with a badly corked thigh that saw him miss games in Rounds 11 and 12, but before that he was outstanding where his form had him in the WA State squad where he was one of the last players cut for the game against Victoria in Northam.
He has found plenty of the ball including picking up 29 possessions both in Round 2 and 8 while he also kicked six goals against Peel in Round 5. Kerr was attracted to West Perth because of some familiar faces and is delighted so far with the move.
"Darren Harris was someone I had a lot to do with in the VFL and in development at Carlton, and I knew Steven Browne and Josh Donaldson as well. I spoke to a few other WAFL clubs as well at the start, but these guys were more on the front foot and more approachable, and it just seemed right and I'm definitely happy I made the move," Kerr said.
"I'm more than happy with where I am at West Perth and I'm just taking it one year at a time. At this stage I will play this year and I've signed for two years, so I'm not looking beyond what is happening here at West Perth. If it happens in the AFL again then it happens and I'm sure West Perth will be happy for me, but I am happy here and hopefully we can bring in a premiership."
Queenslander Manzone made his WAFL debut in Round 1 against East Perth and performed well gathering 19 disposals but he didn’t get back into the team until Round 6.
He was then back in the reserves the next week, but since Round 8 he has played every game and done a terrific job whether as a small defender or further up the field. He even kicked the match-sealing goal against East Fremantle in Round 13 at East Fremantle Oval.
"I have really enjoyed the move so far. Even the last couple of years playing in the NEAFL it has always been an option to come across, and I was lucky enough to get offered a contract by West Perth," Manzone said.
"I have settled in well and the club has been pretty good, and the coaches are really good and the personnel are all great around the club. It probably has helped that I brought my girlfriend across too to help settle in and it's all been good so far. Training and playing has also been another level up, but that's what I wanted."
It took former VFL versatile big man Shaun Marusic until Round 12 to break into the West Perth league side after earning his stripes in the reserves, and since he has performed strongly as a key forward target and back-up ruckman to Chris Keunen.
Strijk returned full-time to West Perth this year after 13 games in three years with the West Coast Eagles, and he has settled into a role across half-back where he has averaged over 20 possessions a game with his outstanding kicking skills a delight.
"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," Strijk said.
"It's something that I actually started doing in 2008 when Todd Curley was here and when Bill Monaghan first came to the club. 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."
The 125-game veteran also represented WA against Victoria as did van Berlo who has also returned full-time to West Perth after 32 in four years with the Fremantle Dockers.
The 2008 Breckler Medal winner has settled seamlessly back into the West Perth midfield where he has averaged over 22 disposals a game including a high of 36 in Round 13 against East Fremantle.
Michael Pettigrew returned to the Falcons in 2012 after a 103-game AFL career with Port Adelaide but battled knee problems in his first season. However, he has those under control this year and his form has shown him to be the best full-back in the competition in 2013.
Jordan Jones came off West Coast's list after three years at the end of 2011 and signed with West Perth, but had some difficulties on and off the field adjusting to his new life.
However, everything has settled down this year and his form on the field has great benefitted with the 23-yaer-old having an outstanding season to date largely in defence where his versatility has been a key part of making West Perth's back-line so strong.
BY CHRIS PIKESELECTIVE recruiting was the order of the day for West Perth coming into the 2013 WAFL season and already Rohan Kerr, Trent Manzone and Shaun Marusic have made their mark, with Jay van Berlo and Andrew Strijk being outstanding in performance and leadership returning full-time.

It was always going to be a big ask for West Perth to replace star veterans Dion Fleay, Brent LeCras and Dustin Burns in 2013 with Joel Rice another 100-plus game player to move on.

Captain Jason Salecic has also been restricted to a limited role with just four games up to Round 15, but the new recruits, the two star returnees from the AFL plus the emerging youngsters in the side have all helped the Falcons to sit comfortably in second position on the ladder.

On top of the arrivals and returnees in 2013, two of the recruits of last year have also stepped up to have a massive impact so far this season.

Kerr arrived at West Perth after being on Carlton's AFL list for three years and whether he's been playing on the wing or across half-forward, he has had a terrific impact for the Falcons already.

He did have a minor hiccup with a badly corked thigh that saw him miss games in Rounds 11 and 12, but before that he was outstanding where his form had him in the WA State squad where he was one of the last players cut for the game against Victoria in Northam.

He has found plenty of the ball including picking up 29 possessions both in Round 2 and 8 while he also kicked six goals against Peel in Round 5. Kerr was attracted to West Perth because of some familiar faces and is delighted so far with the move.

"Darren Harris was someone I had a lot to do with in the VFL and in development at Carlton, and I knew Steven Browne and Josh Donaldson as well. I spoke to a few other WAFL clubs as well at the start, but these guys were more on the front foot and more approachable, and it just seemed right and I'm definitely happy I made the move," Kerr said.

"I'm more than happy with where I am at West Perth and I'm just taking it one year at a time. At this stage I will play this year and I've signed for two years, so I'm not looking beyond what is happening here at West Perth. If it happens in the AFL again then it happens and I'm sure West Perth will be happy for me, but I am happy here and hopefully we can bring in a premiership."

Queenslander Manzone made his WAFL debut in Round 1 against East Perth and performed well gathering 19 disposals but he didn’t get back into the team until Round 6.

He was then back in the reserves the next week, but since Round 8 he has played every game and done a terrific job whether as a small defender or further up the field. He even kicked the match-sealing goal against East Fremantle in Round 13 at East Fremantle Oval.

"I have really enjoyed the move so far. Even the last couple of years playing in the NEAFL it has always been an option to come across, and I was lucky enough to get offered a contract by West Perth," Manzone said.

"I have settled in well and the club has been pretty good, and the coaches are really good and the personnel are all great around the club. It probably has helped that I brought my girlfriend across too to help settle in and it's all been good so far. Training and playing has also been another level up, but that's what I wanted."

It took former VFL versatile big man Shaun Marusic until Round 12 to break into the West Perth league side after earning his stripes in the reserves, and since he has performed strongly as a key forward target and back-up ruckman to Chris Keunen.

Strijk returned full-time to West Perth this year after 13 games in three years with the West Coast Eagles, and he has settled into a role across half-back where he has averaged over 20 possessions a game with his outstanding kicking skills a delight.

"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," Strijk said.

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

The 125-game veteran also represented WA against Victoria as did van Berlo who has also returned full-time to West Perth after 32 in four years with the Fremantle Dockers.

The 2008 Breckler Medal winner has settled seamlessly back into the West Perth midfield where he has averaged over 22 disposals a game including a high of 36 in Round 13 against East Fremantle.

Michael Pettigrew returned to the Falcons in 2012 after a 103-game AFL career with Port Adelaide but battled knee problems in his first season. However, he has those under control this year and his form has shown him to be the best full-back in the competition in 2013.

Jordan Jones came off West Coast's list after three years at the end of 2011 and signed with West Perth, but had some difficulties on and off the field adjusting to his new life.

However, everything has settled down this year and his form on the field has great benefitted with the 23-yaer-old having an outstanding season to date largely in defence where his versatility has been a key part of making West Perth's back-line so strong.

BY CHRIS PIKE