LUKE TEDESCO REACHES 100 FALCON GAMES

Friday, July 5, 2013 - 11:07 AM

LUKE Tedesco has shown himself to be a natural leader and general for West Perth across half-back ever since cementing his spot in the league side and now he reaches his 100-game milestone this Saturday against Peel Thunder at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium.

Quite simply, Tedesco has got to where he is as a vice-captain of the West Perth Football Club and now a 100-game player because of nothing but hard work, his professional and dedication to his football and the Falcons.
Tedesco has now been a mainstay of the West Perth back-line unit since 2009 in Bill Monaghan's first season as coach after playing 18 games in the previous two seasons under Todd Curley.
His poise and leadership down back, and overhead marking and spoiling for his size, and most importantly his accurate kicking skills have made him an important player for the Falcons and his leadership has continued to grow over the years as well.
Now this Saturday he reaches his 100th game in the red and blue and it's an honour the 26-year-old is tremendously proud of.
"It's something I am really looking forward to and I guess it has been quite a long time coming. Over the last two years, it has been something that has kept getting that little bit closer and you start to get a little bit more excited about it the closer it gets," Tedesco said.
"It's one of those things where every time you walk into the change rooms and see some of the names that are up on the locker, to think that my name will be up there as well is pretty humbling. Especially with the rich history of our club which is over 125 years old so it's something that I will always be really proud of."
By getting to 100 games Tedesco will have his name etched onto the No. 23 locker now and he is proud as punch to be underneath premiership key forward Brendan Fewster.
"On my locker there's obviously the man before me, 'Buzzy' Fewster," he said.
"I guess because he played in 2003 premiership and all those guys had a reunion a couple of weeks ago, and are still very much involved with the club. They get around to as many games as they can including 'Buzz' so to have my name under him is going to be a huge honour."
Tedesco has played in some big milestones including the 150th and 200th games for captain Jason Salecic, the 150th games for Josh Pearce, Anthony Tsalikis, Dustin Burns and earlier this season Matt Guadagnin, and a host of 100 games as well.
More often than not, those occasions haven’t ended up with wins for West Perth, though, and Tedesco would certainly like to come away from Mandurah this Saturday with a win whether it's his 100th game or not.
"Traditionally we haven’t done too well in our milestone games, but all those guys had been around for a long time in my career obviously and I played a lot of footy with them. Jason's 200th last year, although we lost, was an amazing achievement," he said.
"His commitment to the club, his attitude towards his footy sets a fine example and second to that probably was Joshy Pearce's 150th.
"He endured a pretty tough run with injuries and at the beginning of my career I struggled with injuries, so he's one guy I compared myself to career-path wise. Just through working hard, he was able to get a spot and become a really respected person around the club."
Tedesco has played in the back-line ever since earning his league chances with West Perth starting in 2007 and even before that coming through the ranks has always been more comfortable as a defender.
He enjoyed playing alongside the trio Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Brent LeCras who retired at the end of last season, but the Falcons back-line of 2013 with Tedesco, Michael Pettigrew, Dan Hunt, Jordan Jones, Steven Browne, Andrew Strijk and Laine Rasmussen has been outstanding.
"I've probably always played in the back-line. Coming through the colts I was a bigger kid so I played key position, but coming up to seniors it was a bit of a hard transition to go to a half-back flank or a back pocket at first," Tedesco said.
"Especially when the game evolved as well and they became hard running positions where you needed to set up your attack from there. I guess I came along at a good time where a spot was there for me and I was able to nail it.
"I guess I found my spot really when Bill took over as coach in 2009 and then have managed to build a pretty good relationship with guys like Dan Hunt, Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Brent LeCras back there.
"We all just trust each other back there and when you know each other's games so well, it makes it so much easier. It's good to watch someone young like Laine come in and even Trent Manzone, and helping them feel part of our back-line."
Team success is the obvious goal now for Tedesco and everyone at West Perth. The 2003 premiership team held a reunion a couple of weeks ago at Arena Joondalup when the Falcons beat Subiaco and for Tedesco it only rammed home much he wanted to achieve what that side did.
"When I was a colt that was when those guys were doing their thing. They are legends of the club – Steve Trewhella, Kim Rigoll, Brendan Fewster, Brendon Logan and even Darren Harris as the coach. Their presence is quite awe-inspiring really and they carry that aura around with them," Tedesco said.
"For them to still be so involved and they know everyone's name, and love to have a chat about what is going on and they tell us that it's our turn now and we have to take the next step to get there. They tell us that it's the greatest feeling and we watched their video of the grand final and you kind of feel their emotions after winning, and it did remind us why we are playing.
"In 2011 it was a very disappointing end to the season and I guess the good thing about that is that there is still more than half the squad from that year still playing now. That has been a big driving force.
"It's not something we dwell on, but we do acknowledge it and want to rectify it. To have been at the club for eight years and I've played a lot of footy with some very talented guys, but to not have won a final in that time is something we need to change. I think this is the year that we can do it."
BY CHRIS PIKELUKE Tedesco has shown himself to be a natural leader and general for West Perth across half-back ever since cementing his spot in the league side and now he reaches his 100-game milestone this Saturday against Peel Thunder at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium.

Quite simply, Tedesco has got to where he is as a vice-captain of the West Perth Football Club and now a 100-game player because of nothing but hard work, his professional and dedication to his football and the Falcons.

Tedesco has now been a mainstay of the West Perth back-line unit since 2009 in Bill Monaghan's first season as coach after playing 18 games in the previous two seasons under Todd Curley.

His poise and leadership down back, and overhead marking and spoiling for his size, and most importantly his accurate kicking skills have made him an important player for the Falcons and his leadership has continued to grow over the years as well.

Now this Saturday he reaches his 100th game in the red and blue and it's an honour the 26-year-old is tremendously proud of.

"It's something I am really looking forward to and I guess it has been quite a long time coming. Over the last two years, it has been something that has kept getting that little bit closer and you start to get a little bit more excited about it the closer it gets," Tedesco said.

"It's one of those things where every time you walk into the change rooms and see some of the names that are up on the locker, to think that my name will be up there as well is pretty humbling. Especially with the rich history of our club which is over 125 years old so it's something that I will always be really proud of."

By getting to 100 games Tedesco will have his name etched onto the No. 23 locker now and he is proud as punch to be underneath premiership key forward Brendan Fewster.

"On my locker there's obviously the man before me, 'Buzzy' Fewster," he said.

"I guess because he played in 2003 premiership and all those guys had a reunion a couple of weeks ago, and are still very much involved with the club. They get around to as many games as they can including 'Buzz' so to have my name under him is going to be a huge honour."

Tedesco has played in some big milestones including the 150th and 200th games for captain Jason Salecic, the 150th games for Josh Pearce, Anthony Tsalikis, Dustin Burns and earlier this season Matt Guadagnin, and a host of 100 games as well.

More often than not, those occasions haven’t ended up with wins for West Perth, though, and Tedesco would certainly like to come away from Mandurah this Saturday with a win whether it's his 100th game or not.

"Traditionally we haven’t done too well in our milestone games, but all those guys had been around for a long time in my career obviously and I played a lot of footy with them. Jason's 200th last year, although we lost, was an amazing achievement," he said.

"His commitment to the club, his attitude towards his footy sets a fine example and second to that probably was Joshy Pearce's 150th.

"He endured a pretty tough run with injuries and at the beginning of my career I struggled with injuries, so he's one guy I compared myself to career-path wise. Just through working hard, he was able to get a spot and become a really respected person around the club."

Tedesco has played in the back-line ever since earning his league chances with West Perth starting in 2007 and even before that coming through the ranks has always been more comfortable as a defender.

He enjoyed playing alongside the trio Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Brent LeCras who retired at the end of last season, but the Falcons back-line of 2013 with Tedesco, Michael Pettigrew, Dan Hunt, Jordan Jones, Steven Browne, Andrew Strijk and Laine Rasmussen has been outstanding.

"I've probably always played in the back-line. Coming through the colts I was a bigger kid so I played key position, but coming up to seniors it was a bit of a hard transition to go to a half-back flank or a back pocket at first," Tedesco said.

"Especially when the game evolved as well and they became hard running positions where you needed to set up your attack from there. I guess I came along at a good time where a spot was there for me and I was able to nail it.

"I guess I found my spot really when Bill took over as coach in 2009 and then have managed to build a pretty good relationship with guys like Dan Hunt, Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Brent LeCras back there.

"We all just trust each other back there and when you know each other's games so well, it makes it so much easier. It's good to watch someone young like Laine come in and even Trent Manzone, and helping them feel part of our back-line."

Team success is the obvious goal now for Tedesco and everyone at West Perth. The 2003 premiership team held a reunion a couple of weeks ago at Arena Joondalup when the Falcons beat Subiaco and for Tedesco it only rammed home much he wanted to achieve what that side did.

"When I was a colt that was when those guys were doing their thing. They are legends of the club – Steve Trewhella, Kim Rigoll, Brendan Fewster, Brendon Logan and even Darren Harris as the coach. Their presence is quite awe-inspiring really and they carry that aura around with them," Tedesco said.

"For them to still be so involved and they know everyone's name, and love to have a chat about what is going on and they tell us that it's our turn now and we have to take the next step to get there. They tell us that it's the greatest feeling and we watched their video of the grand final and you kind of feel their emotions after winning, and it did remind us why we are playing.

"In 2011 it was a very disappointing end to the season and I guess the good thing about that is that there is still more than half the squad from that year still playing now. That has been a big driving force.

"It's not something we dwell on, but we do acknowledge it and want to rectify it. To have been at the club for eight years and I've played a lot of footy with some very talented guys, but to not have won a final in that time is something we need to change. I think this is the year that we can do it."

BY CHRIS PIKE