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A FALCON SHOCKER

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 12:08 PM
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Every football club has one of those games and for West Perth it was against South Fremantle at the Arena Joondalup on Saturday.

No matter how hard they tried nothing went right and they suffered a thirty nine point defeat at the hands of the bottom placed team. To South Fremantle’s credit they persevered for four quarters and increased their lead at each change. It was the Falcons heaviest defeat of the season.

West Perth started the game brightly enough with Anthony Tsalikis taking the ball off hands to score at the four minute mark. Alistair Gillespie replied for the Bulldogs shortly after before Josh Mellington slotted a terrific major from deep in the pocket forty out.

This was to be West Perth’s last major for the term as the Bulldogs settled to whittle away the seven point lead. A goal to the evergreen Kris Miller tied the scores at the nineteen minute mark and another right on the siren gave South Fremantle a six point lead going into the first change. Both teams were inaccurate and this was reflected in the 3.5 (23) to 2.5 (17) score line.

Rohan Kerr, who worked hard all day, evened the scores up after he marked twenty out and finished accurately. The Bulldogs kicked the next three scores to lead by eight after ten minutes. A precise pass by Anthony Tsalikis enabled Jay Van Berlo to score from thirty and when a terrific left foot snap by Shaun Marusic sailed through the Falcons had snatched back a four point lead midway through the term.

Key forward Ben Saunders then kicked the first of his three for the game to give South Fremantle back the lead, one that they didn’t relinquish for the rest of the match. By the main break they had established an eight point lead; 6.8 (44) to 5.6 (36).

South Fremantle kicked the first goal of the second half to take the lead out to fourteen before Marc Crisp received a free thirty out. His straight kick reduced the margin to eight once more but from here the third term belonged to the Bulldogs. They kicked four unanswered goals, including three to the best on ground Mitch Banner, to have the game sewn up at the final change. They led by thirty five; 11.13 (79) to 6.8 (44).

Both sides kicked five behinds between them to start the final term. The first goal came at the eight minute mark courtesy of a Matt Fowler snap. The South Fremantle lead was now twenty eight. But Mitch Banner popped up to kick his fourth to snuff out the prospect of a last quarter challenge. The Falcons kicked two more for the game including a second to Marc Crisp and Josh Mellington. The deficit was twenty seven going into time on but the Bulldogs kicked the last two to win by thirty nine. Final scores were 15.16 (106) to 9.13 (67).

It is an understatement to say that it was a disappointing day for the Falcons but the players now need to regroup for the next game against arch rivals, East Perth. With five matches remaining a place in the four is still no certainty so next week looms as a crucial encounter. Best players were hard to find but those to receive awards included Josh Mellington, Rohan Kerr and Michael Pettigrew. Congratulations to the Reserves who kept their finals hopes alive with an easy victory. Best players were Joe Morrow, Jordan Mills, Frank Stockley and Kris Shannon.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY