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FIRST FINALS WIN, GRAND FINAL WORTH THE WAIT FOR VETERANS

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 7:47 PM

WEST Perth has been able to build a strong core group of experienced players over the last decade who are passionate about the Falcons and love playing together, and their perseverance has paid off now with a grand final berth in 2013.

West Perth last played in a grand final, and indeed last won a WAFL premiership, in 2003 and all bar current captain Jason Salecic have moved on from that side.
Salecic will be the only player who has played in a WAFL grand final coming into this Sunday's clash with arch-rivals East Perth at Subiaco's Patersons Stadium after the 212-game star initially played in 2002 losing grand final to East Perth, and the 2003 victory over Subiaco.
However, Salecic has now played 191 games since playing in that grand final before he will lead West Perth out onto the ground on Sunday.
Not only had West Perth not made a grand final until now since 2003, but had not actually won a final of any type over the last decade in six attempts.
That all changed in the second semi-final, though, a fortnight ago when West Perth beat the two-reigning premiers Claremont at Claremont Oval to advance to the grand final.
The victory over Claremont was the first winning final at league level in the WAFL that every member of the Falcons side apart from Salecic had actually played in.
While winning finals hasn’t happened over the last decade, and while the West Perth team of this year has some exciting young talent in it, the Falcons have built a strong core of experienced players who have stuck around for the chance to play in a grand final that now presents this Sunday.
Dustin Burns (172 games) and Dion Fleay (148) were two of the players that have been a key part of the West Perth team since that 2003 premiership, but both retired at the end of 2012 meaning that unfortunately they will miss out on this chance.
Then there is the heartbreaking story of 169-game veteran and five-time club leading goalkicker, while also kicking West Perth's most goals again in the home and away season this year, Anthony Tsalikis who will miss the grand final after injuring his shoulder against East Fremantle in Round 23 and since undergoing a full reconstruction.
The second semi-final win over Claremont, though, and now the subsequent grand final berth is a great reward for the senior players who have stuck around at West Perth waiting for such a moment.
Veteran midfielder Matt Guadagnin has been an outstanding, tough and prolific on-baller over his career but had to wait until his 161st game with the Falcons to first play in a winning final, and now his 162nd game will be a grand final.
Ray Bartholomew made his league debut for West Perth in 2004 and had played 151 matches before tasting a finals win for the first time against Claremont, and now the grand final will be his 153rd league appearance in the red-and-blue.
Dan Hunt has been one of the competition's best and most consistent key defenders since coming to West Perth after time with the Sydney Swans in 2005, and he celebrated his 150th game with the Falcons in the second semi-final and that doubled as the first finals victory of his career also.
Andrew Strijk made his league debut with West Perth in 2006 and has now played 132 matches for the Falcons to go with 13 AFL games with the West Coast Eagles, and three appearances for WA as well. His 132nd game was his first final win and now match No. 133 will be the grand final on Sunday.
Ruckman Chris Keunen had to bide his time and be patient behind the likes of Mark Seaby and Rob Warnock early in his career at West Perth after arriving from Victoria in 2006, but has now been the club's No. 1 ruckman for several seasons and his 129th game just happened to be his first finals win.
Luke Tedesco missed the win over Claremont due to a calf injury before returning in the reserves preliminary final last week where he made a strong case to be selected for the grand final which will just happen to be his 105th league game for the Falcons.
Jordan Jones (83rd game), Jay van Berlo (78th), Steven Browne (70th), Mark Hutchings (69th), Aaron Black (62nd) and Marc Crisp (51st) were also players who were able to play in their first WAFL finals victory in the second semi-final win over Claremont and can now look forward to a first grand final.
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth has been able to build a strong core group of experienced players over the last decade who are passionate about the Falcons and love playing together, and their perseverance has paid off now with a grand final berth in 2013.

West Perth last played in a grand final, and indeed last won a WAFL premiership, in 2003 and all bar current captain Jason Salecic have moved on from that side.

Salecic will be the only player who has played in a WAFL grand final coming into this Sunday's clash with arch-rivals East Perth at Subiaco's Patersons Stadium after the 212-game star initially played in 2002 losing grand final to East Perth, and the 2003 victory over Subiaco.

However, Salecic has now played 191 games since playing in that grand final before he will lead West Perth out onto the ground on Sunday.

Not only had West Perth not made a grand final until now since 2003, but had not actually won a final of any type over the last decade in six attempts.

That all changed in the second semi-final, though, a fortnight ago when West Perth beat the two-reigning premiers Claremont at Claremont Oval to advance to the grand final.

The victory over Claremont was the first winning final at league level in the WAFL that every member of the Falcons side apart from Salecic had actually played in.

While winning finals hasn’t happened over the last decade, and while the West Perth team of this year has some exciting young talent in it, the Falcons have built a strong core of experienced players who have stuck around for the chance to play in a grand final that now presents this Sunday.

Dustin Burns (172 games) and Dion Fleay (148) were two of the players that have been a key part of the West Perth team since that 2003 premiership, but both retired at the end of 2012 meaning that unfortunately they will miss out on this chance.

Then there is the heartbreaking story of 169-game veteran and five-time club leading goalkicker, while also kicking West Perth's most goals again in the home and away season this year, Anthony Tsalikis who will miss the grand final after injuring his shoulder against East Fremantle in Round 23 and since undergoing a full reconstruction.

The second semi-final win over Claremont, though, and now the subsequent grand final berth is a great reward for the senior players who have stuck around at West Perth waiting for such a moment.

Veteran midfielder Matt Guadagnin has been an outstanding, tough and prolific on-baller over his career but had to wait until his 161st game with the Falcons to first play in a winning final, and now his 162nd game will be a grand final.

Ray Bartholomew made his league debut for West Perth in 2004 and had played 151 matches before tasting a finals win for the first time against Claremont, and now the grand final will be his 153rd league appearance in the red-and-blue.

Dan Hunt has been one of the competition's best and most consistent key defenders since coming to West Perth after time with the Sydney Swans in 2005, and he celebrated his 150th game with the Falcons in the second semi-final and that doubled as the first finals victory of his career also.

Andrew Strijk made his league debut with West Perth in 2006 and has now played 132 matches for the Falcons to go with 13 AFL games with the West Coast Eagles, and three appearances for WA as well. His 132nd game was his first final win and now match No. 133 will be the grand final on Sunday.

Ruckman Chris Keunen had to bide his time and be patient behind the likes of Mark Seaby and Rob Warnock early in his career at West Perth after arriving from Victoria in 2006, but has now been the club's No. 1 ruckman for several seasons and his 129th game just happened to be his first finals win.

Luke Tedesco missed the win over Claremont due to a calf injury before returning in the reserves preliminary final last week where he made a strong case to be selected for the grand final which will just happen to be his 105th league game for the Falcons.

Jordan Jones (83rd game), Jay van Berlo (78th), Steven Browne (70th), Mark Hutchings (69th), Aaron Black (62nd) and Marc Crisp (51st) were also players who were able to play in their first WAFL finals victory in the second semi-final win over Claremont and can now look forward to a first grand final.

BY CHRIS PIKE

BILL'S GRILL – GRAND FINAL PREVIEW

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 6:01 PM

AS A playing and coaching group, we won't be making anything of the fact that we are playing East Perth but we know the supporters will.

In my whole time as coach, I haven’t wanted to or needed to pump up derbies. There is a healthy respect from our playing group for that and I'm sure the supporters are very keen to see derbies and there's not often you get four in one year like we have this year, so that will keep a lot of people happy.
East Perth were fantastic on Sunday. They put Claremont under pressure and then withstood a couple of mini fight backs. I guess the margin at the end showed that Claremont might have put the cue in the rack, but they didn’t do that in our game so it was fought out a fair bit harder in our game. Having said that, we kicked 2.6 in the last quarter so we could have easily blown that margin out by a bit more. East Perth have been impressive for a while now and their two finals have been outstanding. We know we are going to have to be at our very best to beat them.
There is a lot of well wishes coming in and a lot of people fired up because we are playing East Perth in a grand final, but at the end of the day as a playing group and coaching group, we are respectful of the history between East Perth and West Perth but if we focus on the fact that it's a derby then that can only distract us from the big prize. We would be preparing the same for whoever we are playing, albeit there might be some slight structural or tactical differences depending on your opponent.
Even in the derbies that I have coached, we don’t necessarily get caught up with all the other stuff. We enjoy the derbies but it's a grand final and if a derby is more important than a grand final, then I would be very surprised.
In terms of the competition, it's a bit of a changing of the guard and it's the first time in a decade that one of Claremont or Subiaco haven’t been playing on grand final day. It has breathed a lot of life into the competition and I think there are a lot of people out there excited by seeing East Perth and West Perth in the grand final.
There's also that little bit out there with it being the last year before East Perth goes into full alignment or partnership with West Coast so a lot of the neutrals are probably going to be on the West Perth side come Sunday.
We were really happy with our training sessions last week even though the weather hasn’t been fantastic. We have tailored it a little bit around that and the players have been able to freshen up a bit. We had a really good training session at Scotch College on Sunday morning, right near Claremont Oval, and then went to watch our reserves play. Our focus has been on having the mantra of taking it one session at a time, and ticking every little thing off as we go. That's designed to keep the players focused but also to make sure they aren’t mentally drained come grand final day.
We had a training session at Subi on Tuesday night and then talked about what to do Wednesday, and then we will do the same on Friday and then tackle Sunday as it comes.
It is very disappointing that Michael Pettigrew hasn’t been able to get himself right to put himself up for selection on top of Anthony Tsalikis who will miss the chance of playing in a grand final through injury as well. Luke Tedesco has done everything he can to get right and we have some great discussion now at our selection meeting if he can force his way in or not. Two weeks ago at best we thought he was 50-50, but he is well ahead of that now. We will still ask him to do a few things at training on Wednesday night.
The other one who is a bit from left field is Matt Johnson. He was really good early in the year and he's got through three games in the reserves now and whilst he may not be at his best, we think he's someone with a real X-factor about him with good speed and the ability to kick a goal from nowhere. We've also got Frank Stockley, who won the Prendergast Medal, and we have that lingering debate about playing two genuine ruckmen and if there's a side who potentially you can do that against, it would be East Perth so that's something else we will continually discuss.
With Scott Lycett and Jamie Cripps coming into the East Perth team and then you throw in Swan and Seal, they have got plenty of goal scorers but Josh Smith is the most difficult key forward to match-up on in the competition. We would think that Dan Hunt is now our No. 1 key defender and we will be pretty confident of him doing the job on him. Michael Pettigrew has done a fantastic job on Josh over four or five games now, but we can't worry about not having him. Nick Rodda and Shaun Marusic would be our other options on Josh, but we are really confident that Dan will be competitive up against him.
Our reserves have been fantastic and it's a full credit to the players and the coaching staff to get those guys up. They have now won 13 of their last 15 games, and last nine straight so they get a great opportunity to play on grand final day. We have the youngest reserves list in the competition so it's a great opportunity for them to learn and work out what playing at the next level is about. A reserves grand final is traditionally more on par to a league game in the home and away season. If they keep playing with the passion and desire that they have over the last two thirds of the season then they give themselves a real shot, but we are really proud of the way they have gone about it. To see the excitement with the games they have been winning it has buoyed everyone at the club, and it's great for our future.  
BY BILL MONAGHANAS A playing and coaching group, we won't be making anything of the fact that we are playing East Perth but we know the supporters will.

In my whole time as coach, I haven’t wanted to or needed to pump up derbies. There is a healthy respect from our playing group for that and I'm sure the supporters are very keen to see derbies and there's not often you get four in one year like we have this year, so that will keep a lot of people happy.

East Perth were fantastic on Sunday. They put Claremont under pressure and then withstood a couple of mini fight backs. I guess the margin at the end showed that Claremont might have put the cue in the rack, but they didn’t do that in our game so it was fought out a fair bit harder in our game. Having said that, we kicked 2.6 in the last quarter so we could have easily blown that margin out by a bit more. East Perth have been impressive for a while now and their two finals have been outstanding. We know we are going to have to be at our very best to beat them.

There is a lot of well wishes coming in and a lot of people fired up because we are playing East Perth in a grand final, but at the end of the day as a playing group and coaching group, we are respectful of the history between East Perth and West Perth but if we focus on the fact that it's a derby then that can only distract us from the big prize. We would be preparing the same for whoever we are playing, albeit there might be some slight structural or tactical differences depending on your opponent.

Even in the derbies that I have coached, we don’t necessarily get caught up with all the other stuff. We enjoy the derbies but it's a grand final and if a derby is more important than a grand final, then I would be very surprised.

In terms of the competition, it's a bit of a changing of the guard and it's the first time in a decade that one of Claremont or Subiaco haven’t been playing on grand final day. It has breathed a lot of life into the competition and I think there are a lot of people out there excited by seeing East Perth and West Perth in the grand final.

There's also that little bit out there with it being the last year before East Perth goes into full alignment or partnership with West Coast so a lot of the neutrals are probably going to be on the West Perth side come Sunday.

We were really happy with our training sessions last week even though the weather hasn’t been fantastic. We have tailored it a little bit around that and the players have been able to freshen up a bit. We had a really good training session at Scotch College on Sunday morning, right near Claremont Oval, and then went to watch our reserves play. Our focus has been on having the mantra of taking it one session at a time, and ticking every little thing off as we go. That's designed to keep the players focused but also to make sure they aren’t mentally drained come grand final day.

We had a training session at Subi on Tuesday night and then talked about what to do Wednesday, and then we will do the same on Friday and then tackle Sunday as it comes.

It is very disappointing that Michael Pettigrew hasn’t been able to get himself right to put himself up for selection on top of Anthony Tsalikis who will miss the chance of playing in a grand final through injury as well. Luke Tedesco has done everything he can to get right and we have some great discussion now at our selection meeting if he can force his way in or not. Two weeks ago at best we thought he was 50-50, but he is well ahead of that now. We will still ask him to do a few things at training on Wednesday night.

The other one who is a bit from left field is Matt Johnson. He was really good early in the year and he's got through three games in the reserves now and whilst he may not be at his best, we think he's someone with a real X-factor about him with good speed and the ability to kick a goal from nowhere. We've also got Frank Stockley, who won the Prendergast Medal, and we have that lingering debate about playing two genuine ruckmen and if there's a side who potentially you can do that against, it would be East Perth so that's something else we will continually discuss.

With Scott Lycett and Jamie Cripps coming into the East Perth team and then you throw in Swan and Seal, they have got plenty of goal scorers but Josh Smith is the most difficult key forward to match-up on in the competition. We would think that Dan Hunt is now our No. 1 key defender and we will be pretty confident of him doing the job on him. Michael Pettigrew has done a fantastic job on Josh over four or five games now, but we can't worry about not having him. Nick Rodda and Shaun Marusic would be our other options on Josh, but we are really confident that Dan will be competitive up against him.

Our reserves have been fantastic and it's a full credit to the players and the coaching staff to get those guys up. They have now won 13 of their last 15 games, and last nine straight so they get a great opportunity to play on grand final day. We have the youngest reserves list in the competition so it's a great opportunity for them to learn and work out what playing at the next level is about. A reserves grand final is traditionally more on par to a league game in the home and away season. If they keep playing with the passion and desire that they have over the last two thirds of the season then they give themselves a real shot, but we are really proud of the way they have gone about it. To see the excitement with the games they have been winning it has buoyed everyone at the club, and it's great for our future.  

BY BILL MONAGHAN

RESERVES STORM INTO GRAND FINAL

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 5:17 PM

WEST Perth's reserves continued their tremendous form with a 42-point victory against Perth at Claremont Oval on Sunday.

It was their ninth consecutive win and it set up a grand final against South Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on Sunday. It is the first time since 1960 that both the league and reserves teams have played off in the final game of the year and let us hope that history repeats itself as in that year both teams were successful. It was in fact the last reserves premiership that was won by the Falcons.

The victory was a terrific birthday present for coach Paul Sanzone and he must have taken a lot of pleasure out of the way that his side went about securing the win.

 

Perth was out of the blocks quickly and had kicked two goals within the first two minutes. West Perth got on the score board when Drew Rohde had the first score assist for the Falcons by handballing to Brayden Antonio who scored from 20. The goal of the game came at the 13-minute mark when Ben McNamara had five bounces down the wing and scored from deep in the pocket 30 out.

This tied up the scores and the three players mentioned have a lot to offer West Perth in coming years as like a lot of players in the reserves team they have a touch of class. Perth steadied to have the next three scoring shots and go out to an eight-point lead. This was reduced by six when Rohde scored from 40, on the boundary, after receiving a free and kicking accurately after the siren. Perth led 3.3 (21) to 3.1 (19).

West Perth had the use of the breeze in the second quarter and used it to dominate the term. Two quick behinds tied up the scores before Corey Chalmers kicked his first after a right foot snap. He was a dangerous forward all day finishing with three goals six for the match. Big man Frank Stockley, who dominated in the ruck all day, showed his class when he took possession 50 out and finished accurately. The lead was out to 14 before Joel Leeson scored for Perth. This reduced the margin to eight but the last two goals of the half went to the Falcons. James Batterham was involved when Stockley marked 40 out and kicked his second.

The 21-point half-time lead was achieved seconds before the siren when Stockley and Cameron Branch combined to enable Rohde to soccer his second from the square. At the main break West Perth led 7.6 (48) to 4.3 (27). The Falcons defence limited the Demons to one scoring shot for the quarter.

 

Perth charged back into the game in the third quarter kicking five straight while the Falcons were inaccurate, kicking 2.5. By the 10-minute mark the Demons had piled on three goals to reduce the margin to five. Shortly after Branch was rewarded for a great tackle, Rohde played on to Michael Mascoulis who finished from the square. The Demons' Reese Richardson narrowed the gap again shortly after but the Falcons received some breathing space after the captain, Branch, kicked his first.

Not to be outdone the Demons scored the last major of the quarter after Sean Holland finished from well outside 50. As a result West Perth took a narrow eight point lead into the final quarter 9.11 (65) to 9.3 (57).

The game was up for grabs in the last quarter but the Falcons dominated to kick five goals five and hold the Demons to just one behind. It was a terrific lead in to the grand final. Chalmers took his tally to three by kicking the first two and Aiden Lynch showed poise to kick his first. This gave West Perth a 28-point lead at the nine-minute mark and ensured a grand final appearance.

Shortly after Antonio kicked his second and Rohde his third to set up the 42-point victory. Final scores were West Perth 14.16 (100) to Perth 9.4 (58).

 

The reserves have been building momentum in the second half of the year and there has been a lot to like about their performances. This win indicates that they will be going into next week’s game cherry ripe and are poised to break a 53-year premiership drought.

There were a number of best players with Stockley outstanding in the ruck and around the ground, Chalmers was dangerous up forward, Antonio, James Embley and Lynch gave plenty of midfield drive. Throw in the efforts of Joel Latham and Ben McNamara and you have a solid team performance. It is fair to say that next week is a big one for West Perth but regardless of the results it has been an outstanding performance by the senior squad this year. Let’s hope that the 1960 history repeats itself on Sunday. Go Falcons!!

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDAY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

ALL WELCOME TO OUR FINAL TRAINING SESSION

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 7:10 PM

We are welcoming all supporters to join us from 5pm at Arena Joondalup on Friday 20 September as the boys have their final training session for 2013.

There will be a range of merchandise available for sale - including our special edition Grand Final t-shirts - a sausage sizzle and a massive banner for supporters to write a personal message of encouragement to the teams as they prepare for Sunday's grand final showdown.

 

This banner will then be hung in our change rooms at Patersons Stadium to reinforce to the teams the massive support they have from their loyal fan base.

At the end of training, there will be a 15 minute signing session with the playing group so here is a chance to get your favourite players' signatures.

For further information, call the club on 9300 3611 - we look forward to seeing you all Friday!!

** GREAT NEWS - Channel 10 will also be at training to take vision of our supporters at this session for Saturday night's news. A massive Falcon crowd would add to the spectacle and give the boys a real lift!

 

GRAND FINAL POST MATCH CELEBRATIONS

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 2:35 PM

Win or lose, celebrate the Falcons tremendous season by joining us at the Stirling Adriatic Centre following the Grand Final.

This will be a great opportunity for all members and supporters to gather together, and mingle with the players who will be presented during the evening.

Doors open at 6pm with the function concluding at midnight. Food and beverages available for purchase.

Purchase $5 raffle tickets for the chance to win a couple of pieces of West Perth Grand Final history - a guernsey or ball, signed by the playing group and coach.

FALCONS RESERVES WIN NINE STRAIGHT TO ENTER GRAND FINAL

Monday, September 16, 2013 - 7:54 PM

WEST Perth's reserves continued its outstanding form in the second half of the season in Sunday's preliminary final joining the league side in the grand final by beating Perth by 42 points.

The West Perth reserves won seven straight matches to close the home and away season and finish in fourth position heading into a derby first semi-final at Claremont Oval, which saw the Falcons win and set up a preliminary final clash back at the same venue against the minor premier Perth.
Perth had a strong year all along in the reserves to set up top spot on the ladder, but the Demons were thumped in the final round by South Fremantle by 91 points and then lost again to the Bulldogs by five points in the second semi-final.
That meant that West Perth was coming into the preliminary final on Sunday in tremendous winning form while Perth hadn’t won in three weeks despite having finished on top of the ladder.
The Demons started the better on Sunday to lead by two points at quarter-time, but the Falcons got going in the second term booting four goals to one to be up by 21 points at half-time.
Perth regained the advantage of the breeze in the third quarter kicking five goals to two but West Perth still led by eight points at three quarter-time, and then booted five goals to nil in the final term to run out 14.16 (100) to 9.4 (58) winners.
That means that the West Perth reserves have now won nine straight matches to join the league team in this Sunday's grand final at Subiaco's Patersons Stadium.
The league team will be facing East Perth in a derby decider while the reserves will be playing South Fremantle with the two Falcons teams through to a grand final in the same year since 1960.
Ruckman Frank Stockley has led the West Perth reserves from the front all season long and again dominated the preliminary final finishing with 24 possessions, nine marks, 31 hit outs and two goals.
The West Perth league side struggled to kick straight in the league second semi-final at Claremont Oval and Corey Chalmers managed just three goals from nine shots on Sunday, and Cameron Branch one from four but the Falcons still won comfortably by 42 points.
Chalmers still kicked three important goals, though, from 22 possessions with Drew Rohde also booting two majors.
Brayden Antonio was outstanding with 24 possessions and two goals while Aidan Lynch gathered 23 disposals, Joel Latham 20, James Embley 18 and the returning Luke Tedesco 16 in his first game back from a calf injury.
WEST PERTH 3.1 7.6 9.11 14.16 (100)
PERTH 3.3 4.3 9.3 9.4 (58)
WEST PERTH – Goals: Chalmers, Rohde 3; Antonio, Stockley 2; McNamara, Branch, Mascoulis, Lynch.
Best: Stockley, Antonio, Lynch, Chalmers, Tedesco, Embley, Latham.
PERTH – Goals: Egan 2; Richardson, Fry, Arangio, Hunt, Holland, Ransted, Leeson.
Best: Hug, Leeson, Manuel, Hunt, Ransted.
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth's reserves continued its outstanding form in the second half of the season in Sunday's preliminary final joining the league side in the grand final by beating Perth by 42 points.

The West Perth reserves won seven straight matches to close the home and away season and finish in fourth position heading into a derby first semi-final at Claremont Oval, which saw the Falcons win and set up a preliminary final clash back at the same venue against the minor premier Perth.

Perth had a strong year all along in the reserves to set up top spot on the ladder, but the Demons were thumped in the final round by South Fremantle by 91 points and then lost again to the Bulldogs by five points in the second semi-final.

That meant that West Perth was coming into the preliminary final on Sunday in tremendous winning form while Perth hadn’t won in three weeks despite having finished on top of the ladder.

The Demons started the better on Sunday to lead by two points at quarter-time, but the Falcons got going in the second term booting four goals to one to be up by 21 points at half-time.

Perth regained the advantage of the breeze in the third quarter kicking five goals to two but West Perth still led by eight points at three quarter-time, and then booted five goals to nil in the final term to run out 14.16 (100) to 9.4 (58) winners.

That means that the West Perth reserves have now won nine straight matches to join the league team in this Sunday's grand final at Subiaco's Patersons Stadium.

The league team will be facing East Perth in a derby decider while the reserves will be playing South Fremantle with the two Falcons teams trying to win premierships in the same year as the other for the first time since 1960.

Ruckman Frank Stockley has led the West Perth reserves from the front all season long and again dominated the preliminary final finishing with 24 possessions, nine marks, 31 hit outs and two goals.

The West Perth league side struggled to kick straight in the league second semi-final at Claremont Oval and Corey Chalmers managed just three goals from nine shots on Sunday, and Cameron Branch one from four but the Falcons still won comfortably by 42 points.

Chalmers still kicked three important goals, though, from 22 possessions with Drew Rohde also booting two majors.

Brayden Antonio was outstanding with 24 possessions and two goals while Aidan Lynch gathered 23 disposals, Joel Latham 20, James Embley 18 and the returning Luke Tedesco 16 in his first game back from a calf injury.

WEST PERTH 3.1 7.6 9.11 14.16 (100)

PERTH 3.3 4.3 9.3 9.4 (58)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Chalmers, Rohde 3; Antonio, Stockley 2; McNamara, Branch, Mascoulis, Lynch.

Best: Stockley, Antonio, Lynch, Chalmers, Tedesco, Embley, Latham.

PERTH – Goals: Egan 2; Richardson, Fry, Arangio, Hunt, Holland, Ransted, Leeson.

Best: Hug, Leeson, Manuel, Hunt, Ransted.

BY CHRIS PIKE

SANDOVER MEDAL PREVIEW

Monday, September 16, 2013 - 4:04 PM

WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan isn’t necessarily sure the Falcons will have a genuine Sandover Medal contender on Monday night, but for him that's a good sign highlighting the evenness of his grand final-bound side.

The Sandover Medal count will be streamed live on thewest.com.au  from my 9pm and is available by clicking here: http://sandover-live.thewest.com.au/
It will also be broadcast live on 990am Information Radio from 7pm.
The Falcons didn’t have a standout performer all season long meaning it's hard to pinpoint one player who might finish near the top, or in fact on top, of the Sandover Medal leaderboard, but that is a strong sign of how even the West Perth team is that has made the grand final.
Young midfielders Shane Nelson and Aaron Black have been outstanding all year long and could very well poll strongly, but so could reigning Breckler Medallist Mark Hutchings who played only 11 games due to time with the West Coast Eagles.
However, in those 11 matches, he was superb averaging over 27 possessions a game and kicking 11 goals.
Meanwhile, the Falcons' defence was rock solid all year but also provided plenty of run and drive with Jordan Jones, Steven Browne and Andrew Strijk leading the way there, and they could very well end up racking up plenty of votes.
Veteran on-baller Matt Guadagnin is focused solely on his first grand final on Sunday in what will be the 162nd game of his strong WAFL career, but is a proven strong vote winner as well and has had another tremendous season with the Falcons.
First-year recruit Rohan Kerr has made a strong impact as well in his first season with the Falcons and plays an eye-catching brand of running and goalkicking football so that could see him attract plenty of votes as well.
West Perth coach Monaghan knows that the Falcons haven’t had a dominant player throughout 2013 so it's hard to judge who will end up polling the most votes from his club.
"The Sandover Medal is always an interesting one. Probably for us Hutch has played 11 games and there's still a chance that in seven or eight of those he might be good enough to get votes, and he's a proven vote getter," Monaghan said.
"Nelly polled really well last year and he has probably been more consistent, and played more games this year. Matt Guadagnin was leading the Sandover Medal in 2011 after about 15 rounds before he got injured so we have three proven vote getters there, but if you go on some of the best players in all forms of press sometimes we win games and we still don’t have the best or second or third best players on the ground so it will be an interesting count for us.
"We probably have somewhere between six and eight players who I think will be an even spread in our fairest and best, so I will be saying there will be six or eight players who might all be around the mark on Sandover Medal night but I would have thought we don't have any real serious contenders.
"Put it this way, I don’t think we have someone who will get 50 so if the winner gets 50 you can count us out, but if the winner gets 35 then one of our players might be a chance if the umpires back in the same player week in, week out when we think we've had an even spread."
Looking at other possible winners from other clubs, Monaghan feels it will come down to midfielders Jake Murphy (Claremont) and Rory O'Brien (East Fremantle), and ruckmen Paul Johnson (East Perth) and Mark Seaby (Claremont).
"To be honest, I think midfield-wise it's going to be either Jake Murphy or Rory O'Brien and then it's a real funny one with a couple of big blokes – Mark Seaby and Paul Johnson who get a lot of media attention and rightly so because they are both fantastic players," he said.
"Johnson didn’t poll strongly last year but sometimes that can either mean you are not a poller, and I know because I wasn’t but that's because I had no ability either, and then sometimes players can get players the year after because people think they had a fanstic year and only got 10 Sandover votes.
"Sometimes that year after not getting a lot of votes when you were expected to it can be a little bit higher on the vote count so I wouldn’t put it past Paul Johnson to figure in it strongly this year."
Monaghan also isn’t looking at the prospect of an East Perth winner possibly being a distraction to the Royals' grand final preparations – after all Luke Blackwell and Kane Mitchell have won the last two Sandover Medals and Claremont have gone on to win the premierships.
"Claremont has won the last two premierships and had the last two Sandover Medallists so I don’t think that's a big issue. With the clubs in the grand final it's a get in, get out type night and those not playing enjoy themselves," Monaghan said.
"But if a West Perth player doesn’t win, we will pay due respect to the winner and listen to the speeches and stay for the toast, but then there will be a red-and-blue flash leaving pretty quickly after the count's finished."
SHANE NELSON
20 games, 538 possessions, 6 goals, 65 marks
Certain votes: 4 (Rounds 1, 2, 16, 20)
Possible votes: 8 (Rounds 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 18, 21, 24)
Games missed: 0
He might have only played 15 league games coming into the 2013 season, but had shown terrific signs as an emerging midfielder last year and has taken that up another level further this season.
The 20-year-old played every game for West Perth in 2013 and was a key part of the midfield and a prolific ball winner averaging 26.9 possessions over the course of the 20 matches.
His consistency was remarkable with him never having a match of less than 17 possessions and only twice did he gather few than 20 disposals.
He started the season with back-to-back games of 30 possessions in Rounds 1 and 2 before going on to have six more games of over 30 disposals including 35 in Round 7, 32 in Round 12, 31 in Round 16 and then a team-high 42 in Round 24 against Swan Districts.
MATT GUADAGNIN
19 games, 372 possessions, 9 goals, 56 marks, 60 tackles
Certain votes: 2 (Rounds 5, 21)
Possible votes: 7 (Rounds 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20)
Games missed: 1
The veteran on-baller is a proven Sandover Medal vote winner leading the count in 2011 before he broke his leg and was overrun by Luke Blackwell, but the 29-year-old has been back to his best in 2013 and could very well poll strongly again as a result.
He averaged 19.6 possessions a game throughout the season while also averaging over three marks and tackles a game, and finishing the season with nine goals.
Admittedly he had a slow start to the season after a limited pre-season and only had 20 possessions or more twice in his first six games, but from Round 7 onwards he built some outstanding form.
That included 31 possessions in Round 13 in what was his season-high but he had a big impact in several other matches before missing Round 23 and then only having a limited role in Round 24.
AARON BLACK 
20 games, 516 possessions, 4 goals, 131 marks
Certain votes: 2 (Rounds 10, 14)
Possible votes: 10 (Rounds 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 15, 20, 21, 22, 24)
Games missed: 0
The 20-year-old brought up his 50th WAFL game during the 2013 season as he continued to cement himself as one of the best young players in the competition.
He represented WA against Victoria during the season and both as a wingman and on the ball, was a tremendous contributor for the Falcons averaging 25.8 possessions a game.
He was remarkably consistent never having a game of less than his 17 possessions in Round 19 and having 20 more disposals in every game bar two highlighted by a high of 37 in Round 24, and 30-plus in Rounds 4, 8, 10, 14 and 21.
MARK HUTCHINGS 
11 games, 298 possessions, 11 goals, 55 marks, 48 tackles
Certain votes: 2 (Rounds 4, 5)
Possible votes: 7 (Rounds 2, 6, 7, 8, 12, 22, 24)
Games missed: 9
The 22 year-old reigning West Perth fairest and best winner might have played just 11 matches during the home and away season for the Falcons, but had such a big impact in each of those that he could very well poll well.
When not playing with the West Coast Eagles, the midfielder averaged 27.1 possessions in his 11 games with the Falcons to go with kicking 11 goals as well.
There wasn’t one of his 11 games he played in where he wouldn’t be a chance to get at least one vote, and he might get several lots of five.
His lowest possession tally was his 21 in Round 14 while he picked 32 in Round 4, 33 in Round 8, 32 in Round 12 and then 29 to go with seven tackles in Round 24.
JORDAN JONES 
19 games, 337 possessions, 91 marks
Certain votes: 4 (Round 10)
Possible votes: 6 (Rounds 4, 5, 7, 15, 18, 20)
Games missed: 1
Had an outstanding second season with West Perth following time with Peel Thunder while listed by the West Coast Eagles.
He might have struggled to find his best position during 2012, but has settled as a versatile defender in the Falcons' line-up this year and been tremendous both in setting up play coming out of the back-line and being able to do stopping jobs on a variety of opposition forwards.
Averaged 17.7 possessions a game so didn’t have the big numbers of his midfield teammates, but had a high of 27 in Round 18 and could very well of put in a number of eye-catching performances.
ROHAN KERR 
18 games, 363 possessions, 19 goals, 67 marks
Certain votes: 3 (Rounds 2, 16, 19)
Possible votes: 7 (Rounds 4, 5, 8, 18, 20, 21, 24)
Games missed: 2
The 21-year-old has made an immediate impact on arrival at West Perth in 2013 as a dangerous wingman and half-forward, and given his eye-catching style of play he could very well end up polling well in the Sandover Medal.
Averaged 20.2 possessions a game while kicking 19 goals in his 18 games during the season including disposal high of 31 in Round 18 while kicking six goals in Round 5, three in Round 8 and three again in Round 24.
ANDREW STRIJK 
19 games, 386 possessions, 4 goals, 133 marks
Certain votes: 4 (Rounds 15, 20, 21)
Possible votes: 6 (Rounds 1, 5, 7, 11, 14, 18)
Games missed: 1
The 26-year-old has now played 132 games for West Perth and had perhaps the best season of his career in 2013 upon returning to the Falcons full-time after time with West Coast in the AFL.
Has settled into a role across half-back again after the Eagles wanted him to play as a half-forward, and has averaged 20.3 possessions a game including a high of 27 in Round 13.
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan isn’t necessarily sure the Falcons will have a genuine Sandover Medal contender on Monday night, but for him that's a good sign highlighting the evenness of his grand final-bound side.

The Sandover Medal count will be streamed live on thewest.com.au from 9pm and is available by clicking here: http://sandover-live.thewest.com.au/

It will also be broadcast live on 990am Information Radio from 7pm.

The Falcons didn’t have a standout performer all season long meaning it's hard to pinpoint one player who might finish near the top, or in fact on top, of the Sandover Medal leaderboard, but that is a strong sign of how even the West Perth team is that has made the grand final.

Young midfielders Shane Nelson and Aaron Black have been outstanding all year long and could very well poll strongly, but so could reigning Breckler Medallist Mark Hutchings who played only 11 games due to time with the West Coast Eagles.

However, in those 11 matches, he was superb averaging over 27 possessions a game and kicking 11 goals.

Meanwhile, the Falcons' defence was rock solid all year but also provided plenty of run and drive with Jordan Jones, Steven Browne and Andrew Strijk leading the way there, and they could very well end up racking up plenty of votes.

Veteran on-baller Matt Guadagnin is focused solely on his first grand final on Sunday in what will be the 162nd game of his strong WAFL career, but is a proven strong vote winner as well and has had another tremendous season with the Falcons.

First-year recruit Rohan Kerr has made a strong impact as well in his first season with the Falcons and plays an eye-catching brand of running and goalkicking football so that could see him attract plenty of votes as well.

West Perth coach Monaghan knows that the Falcons haven’t had a dominant player throughout 2013 so it's hard to judge who will end up polling the most votes from his club.

"The Sandover Medal is always an interesting one. Probably for us Hutch has played 11 games and there's still a chance that in seven or eight of those he might be good enough to get votes, and he's a proven vote getter," Monaghan said.

"Nelly polled really well last year and he has probably been more consistent, and played more games this year. Matt Guadagnin was leading the Sandover Medal in 2011 after about 15 rounds before he got injured so we have three proven vote getters there, but if you go on some of the best players in all forms of press sometimes we win games and we still don’t have the best or second or third best players on the ground so it will be an interesting count for us.

"We probably have somewhere between six and eight players who I think will be an even spread in our fairest and best, so I will be saying there will be six or eight players who might all be around the mark on Sandover Medal night but I would have thought we don't have any real serious contenders.

"Put it this way, I don’t think we have someone who will get 50 so if the winner gets 50 you can count us out, but if the winner gets 35 then one of our players might be a chance if the umpires back in the same player week in, week out when we think we've had an even spread."

Looking at other possible winners from other clubs, Monaghan feels it will come down to midfielders Jake Murphy (Claremont) and Rory O'Brien (East Fremantle), and ruckmen Paul Johnson (East Perth) and Mark Seaby (Claremont).

"To be honest, I think midfield-wise it's going to be either Jake Murphy or Rory O'Brien and then it's a real funny one with a couple of big blokes – Mark Seaby and Paul Johnson who get a lot of media attention and rightly so because they are both fantastic players," he said.

"Johnson didn’t poll strongly last year but sometimes that can either mean you are not a poller, and I know because I wasn’t but that's because I had no ability either, and then sometimes players can get players the year after because people think they had a fanstic year and only got 10 Sandover votes.

"Sometimes that year after not getting a lot of votes when you were expected to it can be a little bit higher on the vote count so I wouldn’t put it past Paul Johnson to figure in it strongly this year."

Monaghan also isn’t looking at the prospect of an East Perth winner possibly being a distraction to the Royals' grand final preparations – after all Luke Blackwell and Kane Mitchell have won the last two Sandover Medals and Claremont have gone on to win the premierships.

"Claremont has won the last two premierships and had the last two Sandover Medallists so I don’t think that's a big issue. With the clubs in the grand final it's a get in, get out type night and those not playing enjoy themselves," Monaghan said.

"But if a West Perth player doesn’t win, we will pay due respect to the winner and listen to the speeches and stay for the toast, but then there will be a red-and-blue flash leaving pretty quickly after the count's finished."

SHANE NELSON

20 games, 538 possessions, 6 goals, 65 marks

Certain votes: 4 (Rounds 1, 2, 16, 20)

Possible votes: 8 (Rounds 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 18, 21, 24)

Games missed: 0

He might have only played 15 league games coming into the 2013 season, but had shown terrific signs as an emerging midfielder last year and has taken that up another level further this season.

The 20-year-old played every game for West Perth in 2013 and was a key part of the midfield and a prolific ball winner averaging 26.9 possessions over the course of the 20 matches.

His consistency was remarkable with him never having a match of less than 17 possessions and only twice did he gather few than 20 disposals.

He started the season with back-to-back games of 30 possessions in Rounds 1 and 2 before going on to have six more games of over 30 disposals including 35 in Round 7, 32 in Round 12, 31 in Round 16 and then a team-high 42 in Round 24 against Swan Districts.

MATT GUADAGNIN

19 games, 372 possessions, 9 goals, 56 marks, 60 tackles

Certain votes: 2 (Rounds 5, 21)

Possible votes: 7 (Rounds 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20)

Games missed: 1

The veteran on-baller is a proven Sandover Medal vote winner leading the count in 2011 before he broke his leg and was overrun by Luke Blackwell, but the 29-year-old has been back to his best in 2013 and could very well poll strongly again as a result.

He averaged 19.6 possessions a game throughout the season while also averaging over three marks and tackles a game, and finishing the season with nine goals.

Admittedly he had a slow start to the season after a limited pre-season and only had 20 possessions or more twice in his first six games, but from Round 7 onwards he built some outstanding form.

That included 31 possessions in Round 13 in what was his season-high but he had a big impact in several other matches before missing Round 23 and then only having a limited role in Round 24.

AARON BLACK 

20 games, 516 possessions, 4 goals, 131 marks

Certain votes: 2 (Rounds 10, 14)

Possible votes: 10 (Rounds 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 15, 20, 21, 22, 24)

Games missed: 0

The 20-year-old brought up his 50th WAFL game during the 2013 season as he continued to cement himself as one of the best young players in the competition.

He represented WA against Victoria during the season and both as a wingman and on the ball, was a tremendous contributor for the Falcons averaging 25.8 possessions a game.

He was remarkably consistent never having a game of less than his 17 possessions in Round 19 and having 20 more disposals in every game bar two highlighted by a high of 37 in Round 24, and 30-plus in Rounds 4, 8, 10, 14 and 21.

MARK HUTCHINGS 

11 games, 298 possessions, 11 goals, 55 marks, 48 tackles

Certain votes: 2 (Rounds 4, 5)

Possible votes: 7 (Rounds 2, 6, 7, 8, 12, 22, 24)

Games missed: 9

The 22 year-old reigning West Perth fairest and best winner might have played just 11 matches during the home and away season for the Falcons, but had such a big impact in each of those that he could very well poll well.

When not playing with the West Coast Eagles, the midfielder averaged 27.1 possessions in his 11 games with the Falcons to go with kicking 11 goals as well.

There wasn’t one of his 11 games he played in where he wouldn’t be a chance to get at least one vote, and he might get several lots of five.

His lowest possession tally was his 21 in Round 14 while he picked 32 in Round 4, 33 in Round 8, 32 in Round 12 and then 29 to go with seven tackles in Round 24.

JORDAN JONES 

19 games, 337 possessions, 91 marks

Certain votes: 4 (Round 10)

Possible votes: 6 (Rounds 4, 5, 7, 15, 18, 20)

Games missed: 1

Had an outstanding second season with West Perth following time with Peel Thunder while listed by the West Coast Eagles.

He might have struggled to find his best position during 2012, but has settled as a versatile defender in the Falcons' line-up this year and been tremendous both in setting up play coming out of the back-line and being able to do stopping jobs on a variety of opposition forwards.

Averaged 17.7 possessions a game so didn’t have the big numbers of his midfield teammates, but had a high of 27 in Round 18 and could very well of put in a number of eye-catching performances.

ROHAN KERR 

18 games, 363 possessions, 19 goals, 67 marks

Certain votes: 3 (Rounds 2, 16, 19)

Possible votes: 7 (Rounds 4, 5, 8, 18, 20, 21, 24)

Games missed: 2

The 21-year-old has made an immediate impact on arrival at West Perth in 2013 as a dangerous wingman and half-forward, and given his eye-catching style of play he could very well end up polling well in the Sandover Medal.

Averaged 20.2 possessions a game while kicking 19 goals in his 18 games during the season including disposal high of 31 in Round 18 while kicking six goals in Round 5, three in Round 8 and three again in Round 24.

ANDREW STRIJK 

19 games, 386 possessions, 4 goals, 133 marks

Certain votes: 4 (Rounds 15, 20, 21)

Possible votes: 6 (Rounds 1, 5, 7, 11, 14, 18)

Games missed: 1

The 26-year-old has now played 132 games for West Perth and had perhaps the best season of his career in 2013 upon returning to the Falcons full-time after time with West Coast in the AFL.

Has settled into a role across half-back again after the Eagles wanted him to play as a half-forward, and has averaged 20.3 possessions a game including a high of 27 in Round 13.

BY CHRIS PIKE

BILL'S GRILL – SECOND SEMI-FINAL

Sunday, September 15, 2013 - 4:23 AM

I WAS really proud of our players and whilst it wasn’t an issue for us, it clearly was for most on the outside about how long it's been since we won a final so there was a little bit of a relief there for the players to get the monkey off their back so to speak.

To their credit, though, their focus was purely on that game and they knew they couldn’t change anything that had happened in the past so they just focused on playing Claremont and now are focused on doing everything right going into the grand final.
I'm not sure we were nervous about our goalkicking considering we were confident that with the way we were playing we would be able to absorb a few things. Clearly goalkicking was an issue, but it's not something that we are going to focus heavily on because it hasn’t been a problem all year.
The general way that good sides are going right now in both the AFL and WAFL is by putting huge pressure on the opposition, and whilst we felt our pressure against Claremont was good, they put us under good pressure as well at times and then may have contributed a bit to our goal kicking and a bit of our field kicking. It was a game that was pretty much hammer and tongs for four quarters even though there seems to be a bit of a feeling that because of our scoring shots we controlled the game, but we only won by four points against a side that lost just three times in the regular season. We know that was the minimum standard we need and I expect we will need to find another five or 10 per cent come grand final day.
I think the emotion of it all is really different as a coach. I sat back and was reflective pretty early about it all and looking around at the faces of the players, supporters and support staff and that's the enjoyment you get when you achieve what you set out to do on that day. My thoughts, though, flicked fairly quickly to how we can best prepare the players in the next two weeks leading into the grand final. There's a process we've got to go through as coaches with debriefing players, analysing the game, looking at our structures and making sure of the things we did well. We did an extensive video review and then there's injury management and there are so many things that need to fall into place and the first piece of the puzzle is winning to get into the grand final.
It doesn’t matter at what club you are involved in or in what role, the whole purpose you are there is to win. To see those players who have played so long at the club win and go into the grand final, and see their faces, was priceless but they are as grounded of a group as I've seen. They were pretty quick to pull themselves in to say that it's a little pat on the back for making a grand final, but they know there's still a long way to go. It's a great reward for those long-term servants and great excitement for our young kids with the fact that probably half of them were playing their first ever final. They got to experience a second semi-final and come through that with a win, which can only hold us in good stead going forward.
Our style of play, the way we went about it, our attitude, our effort and all of those types of things were good but we are under no illusions that they will need to be even better again come grand final whether it's against East Perth or Claremont.
The players are aware that all we've done at the moment is qualify for the grand final, and qualifying for a grand final doesn’t mean a lot at the end of the day if you don’t win. We are working on a few things now over the two weeks leading into the grand final. Goalkicking is clearly one of them, but there are three or four minor areas that we also think we can do a little bit better in than we did against Claremont in the second semi-final. Then there might be some slight tweaks to the plan of attacks and tactics that we employ depending on whether it's Claremont or East Perth.
They are different sides even though generally speaking what we do well, and what we've done well over the year, needs to be done against both of them but the power forwards of East Perth are different than the smaller, more mobile forwards of Claremont. The midfields are probably similar so there are a couple of little tweaks for instance a Cale Morton for East Perth seems to like to free himself up across half-back and Adam Selwood found plenty of space against Swan Districts and so did Cripps and Lycett. But we will sit back on Sunday and watch Claremont and East Perth go hammer and tongs at each other, and it's an interesting thing having to watch a game of footy not knowing who you are playing the next week. It might be the 30-minute mark of the last quarter and we might not know who we will play or we might know during the second quarter, we won't know that until Sunday.
One of the disadvantages of going straight through to the grand final was that Claremont, if they get through, might be thinking that they have now seen what West Perth has and they might just parts of their structure and maybe even their side.
Both Luke Tedesco and Michael Pettigrew need to get through another training session to declare themselves fit, but they are no under illusions that even if they do that there's no guarantee they will come back in. The cards still need to fall their way for that to happen.
Whilst all of our 22 were contributors in the second semi-final, we still need to work through the process of picking our best 22 now for the grand final and that doesn’t guarantee anyone who played on second semi-final day a spot in the side, but it clearly is an advantage and it's clearly a position they want to keep.
We honestly don’t know what the make-up of our side will be and Tedesco, Pettigrew and even Matt Johnson who has now played a couple of reserves games, and Shannon and Antonio who were unlucky to go back and Frank Stockley all come into calculations depending on circumstances and who we end up playing, and how we want to structure up.
There is still some selection headaches for us and there will be some disappointed guys, but that's part and parcel of football and we just need to be supportive of the players who miss, and those who miss selection need to be supportive of those who get a game. All I know is we will put out 22 committed players and give it a red hot go. If our best is good enough then it's good enough and I'm confident we will give our best.
Our reserves also did a great job last Sunday to win through to the preliminary final and the excitement and belief that they have generated over 12 or 13 weeks now has been outstanding. To see the guys enjoy their football and get reward for their efforts while still doing all the right things that we ask of them, has been great to see. We will now get down to Claremont Oval to support them and hopefully they continue their winning form and we will have two sides there on grand final day.
BY BILL MONAGHANI WAS really proud of our players and whilst it wasn’t an issue for us, it clearly was for most on the outside about how long it's been since we won a final so there was a little bit of a relief there for the players to get the monkey off their back so to speak.

To their credit, though, their focus was purely on that game and they knew they couldn’t change anything that had happened in the past so they just focused on playing Claremont and now are focused on doing everything right going into the grand final.

I'm not sure we were nervous about our goalkicking considering we were confident that with the way we were playing we would be able to absorb a few things. Clearly goalkicking was an issue, but it's not something that we are going to focus heavily on because it hasn’t been a problem all year.

The general way that good sides are going right now in both the AFL and WAFL is by putting huge pressure on the opposition, and whilst we felt our pressure against Claremont was good, they put us under good pressure as well at times and then may have contributed a bit to our goal kicking and a bit of our field kicking. It was a game that was pretty much hammer and tongs for four quarters even though there seems to be a bit of a feeling that because of our scoring shots we controlled the game, but we only won by four points against a side that lost just three times in the regular season. We know that was the minimum standard we need and I expect we will need to find another five or 10 per cent come grand final day.

I think the emotion of it all is really different as a coach. I sat back and was reflective pretty early about it all and looking around at the faces of the players, supporters and support staff and that's the enjoyment you get when you achieve what you set out to do on that day. My thoughts, though, flicked fairly quickly to how we can best prepare the players in the next two weeks leading into the grand final. There's a process we've got to go through as coaches with debriefing players, analysing the game, looking at our structures and making sure of the things we did well. We did an extensive video review and then there's injury management and there are so many things that need to fall into place and the first piece of the puzzle is winning to get into the grand final.

It doesn’t matter at what club you are involved in or in what role, the whole purpose you are there is to win. To see those players who have played so long at the club win and go into the grand final, and see their faces, was priceless but they are as grounded of a group as I've seen. They were pretty quick to pull themselves in to say that it's a little pat on the back for making a grand final, but they know there's still a long way to go. It's a great reward for those long-term servants and great excitement for our young kids with the fact that probably half of them were playing their first ever final. They got to experience a second semi-final and come through that with a win, which can only hold us in good stead going forward.

Our style of play, the way we went about it, our attitude, our effort and all of those types of things were good but we are under no illusions that they will need to be even better again come grand final whether it's against East Perth or Claremont.

The players are aware that all we've done at the moment is qualify for the grand final, and qualifying for a grand final doesn’t mean a lot at the end of the day if you don’t win. We are working on a few things now over the two weeks leading into the grand final. Goalkicking is clearly one of them, but there are three or four minor areas that we also think we can do a little bit better in than we did against Claremont in the second semi-final. Then there might be some slight tweaks to the plan of attacks and tactics that we employ depending on whether it's Claremont or East Perth.

They are different sides even though generally speaking what we do well, and what we've done well over the year, needs to be done against both of them but the power forwards of East Perth are different than the smaller, more mobile forwards of Claremont. The midfields are probably similar so there are a couple of little tweaks for instance a Cale Morton for East Perth seems to like to free himself up across half-back and Adam Selwood found plenty of space against Swan Districts and so did Cripps and Lycett. But we will sit back on Sunday and watch Claremont and East Perth go hammer and tongs at each other, and it's an interesting thing having to watch a game of footy not knowing who you are playing the next week. It might be the 30-minute mark of the last quarter and we might not know who we will play or we might know during the second quarter, we won't know that until Sunday.

One of the disadvantages of going straight through to the grand final was that Claremont, if they get through, might be thinking that they have now seen what West Perth has and they might just parts of their structure and maybe even their side.

Both Luke Tedesco and Michael Pettigrew need to get through another training session to declare themselves fit, but they are no under illusions that even if they do that there's no guarantee they will come back in. The cards still need to fall their way for that to happen.

Whilst all of our 22 were contributors in the second semi-final, we still need to work through the process of picking our best 22 now for the grand final and that doesn’t guarantee anyone who played on second semi-final day a spot in the side, but it clearly is an advantage and it's clearly a position they want to keep.

We honestly don’t know what the make-up of our side will be and Tedesco, Pettigrew and even Matt Johnson who has now played a couple of reserves games, and Shannon and Antonio who were unlucky to go back and Frank Stockley all come into calculations depending on circumstances and who we end up playing, and how we want to structure up.

There is still some selection headaches for us and there will be some disappointed guys, but that's part and parcel of football and we just need to be supportive of the players who miss, and those who miss selection need to be supportive of those who get a game. All I know is we will put out 22 committed players and give it a red hot go. If our best is good enough then it's good enough and I'm confident we will give our best.

Our reserves also did a great job last Sunday to win through to the preliminary final and the excitement and belief that they have generated over 12 or 13 weeks now has been outstanding. To see the guys enjoy their football and get reward for their efforts while still doing all the right things that we ask of them, has been great to see. We will now get down to Claremont Oval to support them and hopefully they continue their winning form and we will have two sides there on grand final day.

BY BILL MONAGHAN

RESERVES PRELIMINARY FINAL PREVIEW V PERTH

Friday, September 13, 2013 - 2:06 PM

WEST Perth's reserves have now won eight straight matches entering Sunday's preliminary final against Perth at Claremont with the Falcons looking to get two teams into the 2013 grand final.

Perth finished the reserves season as the minor premiers but now is facing the prospect of being eliminated in straight-sets against a West Perth side that has been in hot form in the second half of the season.
Both teams have plenty of league-calibre players in their line-ups as well meaning that it is sure to be a high-quality reserves preliminary final.
Perth's reserves finished on top of the ladder with a 13-7 record, the same as South Fremantle and East Perth, but took top spot thanks to a superior percentage. West Perth was a game further back and finished fourth at 12-8.
Perth might have lost its first game of 2013 to Peel, but the Demons then went on a six-game winning run before West Perth beat them by 10 points in Round 10 at Arena Joondalup.
The Demons went on to win three more straight after that before coming up short against grand finalists South Fremantle in Round 15.
Another three-game winning run followed but Perth came into the finals having lost four of its last five games including another loss to West Perth in Round 21 and a thumping 91-point defeat at the hands of South Fremantle in the final round.
Perth then fought back hard in the last quarter of last Sunday's second semi-final, but ended up falling five points short of South Fremantle to now need to advance to the grand final the hard way.
Perth's form might have dropped off in the second half of the year, but West Perth's has done the opposite.
The Falcons lost their first three games and six of their first seven to be struggling on a 1-6 record after Round 8.
Things began to click with the win over Perth in Round 10 though. The Falcons then didn’t lose a game for the rest of the season after losing to Swan Districts in Round 15.
West Perth finished the season with wins over Peel, South Fremantle, East Perth, Peel, Perth, East Fremantle and Swan Districts heading into the first semi-final derby with East Perth last Sunday at Claremont Oval.
West Perth had to come from behind against East Perth, but the Falcons booted five goals to three in the final quarter to beat the Royals by nine points and advance to the preliminary final.
Joel Leeson, Brad Fry, Joel Houghton, Kieran Hug, Matthew Hunt, Jarrad Irons, David Johnston, Joel Kalajzic, Mitchell Lleyendekkers, Michael Mather, Kane Ransted and Reese Richardson have all shown good abilities for Perth at league level and will line-up on Sunday.
West Perth isn’t short on talent, though, with plenty of eyes on league vice-captain and 104-game defender Luke Tedesco who returns from a calf injury desperate to put in a strong showing to put his name up for selection in the Falcons' league grand final next week.
Brayden Antonio, James Batterham, Matt Johnson, Ben McNamara, Luke Meadows, Joe Morrow, Kris Shannon and Frank Stockley will also play for the Falcons on Sunday having played in the West Perth league side during 2013.
WEST PERTH TEAM:
Max Alexander, Brayden Antonio, James Batterham, Cameron Branch, Corey Chalmers, James Embley, Stephen Healy, Matt Johnson, Joel Latham, Aidan Lynch, Michael Mascoulis, Ben McNamara, Mitch McPhee, Luke Meadows, Jordan Mills, Samuel Money, Joel Morrow, Ben O'Regan, Drew Rohde, Tom Shadbolt, Kris Shannon, Frank Stockley, Tim Sutherland, Luke Tedesco, Jack Thrum, Mitch Van Berlo, Broderick Walton, Blake Wilhelm.
PERTH TEAM:
Daniel Arangio, Tyler Chrimes, Dylan Cox, Scott Doncon, Aaron Dow, Kristian Egan, Brad Fry, Ryan Gray, Sean Holland, Joel Houghton, Kieran Hug, Matthew Hunt, Jarrad Irons, David Johnston, Cameron Jones, Joel Kalajzic, Joel Leeson, Mitchell Lleyendekkers, Cameron Manuel, Michael Mather, Alexander Moreno, Kane Ransted, Reese Richardson, Blake Robinson, Chad Sandilands, Clem Smith, Josh Stark, Josh Stuart.
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth's reserves have now won eight straight matches entering Sunday's preliminary final against Perth at Claremont with the Falcons looking to get two teams into the 2013 grand final.

Perth finished the reserves season as the minor premiers but now is facing the prospect of being eliminated in straight-sets against a West Perth side that has been in hot form in the second half of the season.

Both teams have plenty of league-calibre players in their line-ups as well meaning that it is sure to be a high-quality reserves preliminary final.

Perth's reserves finished on top of the ladder with a 13-7 record, the same as South Fremantle and East Perth, but took top spot thanks to a superior percentage. West Perth was a game further back and finished fourth at 12-8.

Perth might have lost its first game of 2013 to Peel, but the Demons then went on a six-game winning run before West Perth beat them by 10 points in Round 10 at Arena Joondalup.

The Demons went on to win three more straight after that before coming up short against grand finalists South Fremantle in Round 15.

Another three-game winning run followed but Perth came into the finals having lost four of its last five games including another loss to West Perth in Round 21 and a thumping 91-point defeat at the hands of South Fremantle in the final round.

Perth then fought back hard in the last quarter of last Sunday's second semi-final, but ended up falling five points short of South Fremantle to now need to advance to the grand final the hard way.

Perth's form might have dropped off in the second half of the year, but West Perth's has done the opposite.

The Falcons lost their first three games and six of their first seven to be struggling on a 1-6 record after Round 8.

Things began to click with the win over Perth in Round 10 though. The Falcons then didn’t lose a game for the rest of the season after losing to Swan Districts in Round 15.

West Perth finished the season with wins over Peel, South Fremantle, East Perth, Peel, Perth, East Fremantle and Swan Districts heading into the first semi-final derby with East Perth last Sunday at Claremont Oval.

West Perth had to come from behind against East Perth, but the Falcons booted five goals to three in the final quarter to beat the Royals by nine points and advance to the preliminary final.

Joel Leeson, Brad Fry, Joel Houghton, Kieran Hug, Matthew Hunt, Jarrad Irons, David Johnston, Joel Kalajzic, Mitchell Lleyendekkers, Michael Mather, Kane Ransted and Reese Richardson have all shown good abilities for Perth at league level and will line-up on Sunday.

West Perth isn’t short on talent, though, with plenty of eyes on league vice-captain and 104-game defender Luke Tedesco who returns from a calf injury desperate to put in a strong showing to put his name up for selection in the Falcons' league grand final next week.

Brayden Antonio, James Batterham, Matt Johnson, Ben McNamara, Luke Meadows, Joe Morrow, Kris Shannon and Frank Stockley will also play for the Falcons on Sunday having played in the West Perth league side during 2013.

WEST PERTH TEAM:

Max Alexander, Brayden Antonio, James Batterham, Cameron Branch, Corey Chalmers, James Embley, Stephen Healy, Matt Johnson, Joel Latham, Aidan Lynch, Michael Mascoulis, Ben McNamara, Mitch McPhee, Luke Meadows, Jordan Mills, Samuel Money, Joel Morrow, Ben O'Regan, Drew Rohde, Tom Shadbolt, Kris Shannon, Frank Stockley, Tim Sutherland, Luke Tedesco, Jack Thrum, Mitch Van Berlo, Broderick Walton, Blake Wilhelm.

PERTH TEAM:

Daniel Arangio, Tyler Chrimes, Dylan Cox, Scott Doncon, Aaron Dow, Kristian Egan, Brad Fry, Ryan Gray, Sean Holland, Joel Houghton, Kieran Hug, Matthew Hunt, Jarrad Irons, David Johnston, Cameron Jones, Joel Kalajzic, Joel Leeson, Mitchell Lleyendekkers, Cameron Manuel, Michael Mather, Alexander Moreno, Kane Ransted, Reese Richardson, Blake Robinson, Chad Sandilands, Clem Smith, Josh Stark, Josh Stuart.

BY CHRIS PIKE

SALECIC READY TO LEAD FALCONS IN GRAND FINAL 10 YEARS ON

Friday, September 13, 2013 - 3:01 AM

JASON Salecic was just a teenager when he became a premiership player with West Perth in 2003 but now he remains the only Falcon to have played in a grand final as he leads the club into the 2013 decider.

Salecic was just 19 when West Perth beat Subiaco in the 2003 grand final with players like Kim Rigoll, Callum Chambers, Simon Duckworth, Glen Britten, Brendon Fewster, Steve Trewhella, Brendon Logan and Brett Cousins who he looked up to and were nearing the end of their careers.
Now 10 years later and it is Salecic who is the captain of the West Perth Football Club, is a premiership player and a great of the Falcons having now played 211 games, seven times for WA and having won a Breckler Medal.
Despite Matt Guadagnin having played 161 WAFL games, Ray Bartholomew 152, Dan Hunt 150, Andrew Strijk 132, Chris Keunen 129, Jordan Jones 83, Jay van Berlo 78, Steven Browne 70, Mark Hutchings 69 and Aaron Black 62, none have played in a grand final before.
In fact, prior to Sunday's second semi-final win over Claremont at Claremont Oval, West Perth had not played in a winning final since the 2003 grand final so it was a first for all of those with the Falcons aside from Salecic to take part in a winning finals team in league football.
Salecic has been an inspirational captain with West Perth since 2008 and while he's not the most outspoken player to lead a club, he leads by example and that's what he aims to do heading into the grand final.
 
"It's just what comes with footy I suppose. If you hang around long enough you become the aging man and the guy the younger players look to for some leadership," Salecic said.
"Whether they look up to me or not doesn’t matter, what I do is do everything I can to encourage them to do the right things and hopefully lead by example."
Salecic certainly hasn’t forgotten the 2003 premiership but feels that if this year's grand final turns out victorious it could be even more special considering it has taken 10 years to get back there, and because he will be getting there with a group of players he has spent years playing alongside.
"I don’t think you ever forget those moments. I absolutely remember it. I was a bit younger and I came up and played with a lot of older guys who I didn’t end up playing a lot of footy with, but they are all great mates now and greats of the club," Salecic said.
"It probably is a little bit more special now to be in a grand final with a lot of these guys in this current team who I've played the majority of my career with. We will now be doing everything we can to make some more memories.
"I'm fairly lucky that I was around at that time in 2003 and got the opportunity to play in that game, and these guys have now been around for such a long time and that is one thing that when you finish your career you want your best mates to feel what you felt. Hopefully now if we do everything right in the grand final that becomes a reality."
Despite the fact that West Perth hadn’t won a final since 2003 and had lost all six finals it participated in, the culture of the club and closeness of the playing group was enough reason for the experienced players like Salecic, Guadagnin and Hunt to continue to play on.
"I don’t think you stick around just to win a premiership, the love of the club is a big part of it as well," he said.
"Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but the guys who have played a lot of footy here it's because they love the place and love playing with each other.
"We are good mates away from the club as well, and that includes the younger blokes. We are a close group and we pride ourselves on that within our football club."
Salecic has been one of the very best and most consistent WAFL players over the last decade with his leadership, ball winning ability, hardness at the contest and outstanding finishing making him a cut above most.
He had never played less than 18 games in a season between 2004 and 2012, but this year has been tough with an on-going hamstring injury meaning he missed half the season.
The 29-year-old has been trying to play catch up since, but has put together seven straight games now to be feeling good heading into the grand final.
"I've been putting in a lot of work into my preparation after missing 12 weeks of the season, and 10 games," he said.
"I was always playing catch up because of that, but I put in a fair effort over the pre-season which held me in good stead. I felt good out there this week and hopefully I've got another game left in me."
West Perth admittedly has changed its game plan significantly in 2013 and that led to a 13-7 record in the home and away season to finish second on the ladder to book in a second semi-final clash with Claremont.
Despite Claremont going in as warm favourites having never lost a final at Claremont Oval and having won the previous three second semis to go straight into the grand final, but West Perth was the better side all afternoon with its huge pressure and intensity a standout.
However, the Falcons couldn’t finish in front of goal and kicked 11.21 for the day, but that ended up being four points good enough to secure the memorable win at Tigerland.
"We have worked on a lot of things throughout the year to get our structures right, and the boys stuck to that all day. Communication is the most important thing to get everything right to make sure we are in a position to win games, and that worked well out there," he said.
"All day we felt like we were playing pretty well, but we missed a lot of opportunities and that made it a bit harder for ourselves. We have taken confidence now that we can match it with the better sides and whoever we play in the grand final we know we have to bring that game, and if we do that anything is a chance of happening.
"We know that Claremont are a good side but we came in pretty confident even though we had lost our last two games. We felt that we had the preparation necessary to play well and give us a chance to play in the grand final, and that's what happened.
"Getting into the grand final is one thing and it's a good feeling to get there, but we know we have to win it now and that's an even better feeling. We just have to do the right things over the next couple of weeks and take it from there."
Salecic certainly noticed the West Perth faithful who was out in full force making up the majority of the almost 3000 crowd at Claremont Oval in the second semi-final.
"Everyone gets excited and around finals time in footy it's when everyone enjoys it. It was great to see so many of our supporters there and get behind us, and you could really hear them when we ran out and throughout the game," he said.
"They were up and about and enjoyed the win afterwards. Their support gives us that little bit extra, but we have that belief inside ourselves that even if we had no support, which won't happen because of the tradition of our football, we will go out there and give it everything we can."
Like in any grand final side, there will be selection dilemmas and heartbreak. The toughest of all this year for West Perth will be the absence of five-time leading goalkicker and 169-game veteran Anthony Tsalikis after requiring a shoulder reconstruction after going down in Round 23.
If experienced defenders Michael Pettigrew and Luke Tedesco also prove their fitness two players from the second semi-final winning team could end up incredibly unlucky to miss out on the grand final.
"It's really unfortunate for someone like 'Slick' who will miss out because he's had to have an operation and I really feel for guys like him who have worked so hard, and been around for such a long time only for an injury to come along meaning he misses out on something like this," Salecic said.
"Obviously Pettigrew and Tedesco will be doing everything they can to get back into the side as well so that will make it an interesting build-up."
BY CHRIS PIKEJASON Salecic was just a teenager when he became a premiership player with West Perth in 2003 but now he remains the only Falcon to have played in a grand final as he leads the club into the 2013 decider.

Salecic was just 19 when West Perth beat Subiaco in the 2003 grand final with players like Kim Rigoll, Callum Chambers, Simon Duckworth, Glen Britten, Brendon Fewster, Steve Trewhella, Brendon Logan and Brett Cousins who he looked up to and were nearing the end of their careers.

Now 10 years later and it is Salecic who is the captain of the West Perth Football Club, is a premiership player and a great of the Falcons having now played 211 games, seven times for WA and having won a Breckler Medal.

Despite Matt Guadagnin having played 161 WAFL games, Ray Bartholomew 152, Dan Hunt 150, Andrew Strijk 132, Chris Keunen 129, Jordan Jones 83, Jay van Berlo 78, Steven Browne 70, Mark Hutchings 69 and Aaron Black 62, none have played in a grand final before.

In fact, prior to Sunday's second semi-final win over Claremont at Claremont Oval, West Perth had not played in a winning final since the 2003 grand final so it was a first for all of those with the Falcons aside from Salecic to take part in a winning finals team in league football.

Salecic has been an inspirational captain with West Perth since 2008 and while he's not the most outspoken player to lead a club, he leads by example and that's what he aims to do heading into the grand final.

"It's just what comes with footy I suppose. If you hang around long enough you become the aging man and the guy the younger players look to for some leadership," Salecic said.

"Whether they look up to me or not doesn’t matter, what I do is do everything I can to encourage them to do the right things and hopefully lead by example."

Salecic certainly hasn’t forgotten the 2003 premiership but feels that if this year's grand final turns out victorious it could be even more special considering it has taken 10 years to get back there, and because he will be getting there with a group of players he has spent years playing alongside.

"I don’t think you ever forget those moments. I absolutely remember it. I was a bit younger and I came up and played with a lot of older guys who I didn’t end up playing a lot of footy with, but they are all great mates now and greats of the club," Salecic said.

"It probably is a little bit more special now to be in a grand final with a lot of these guys in this current team who I've played the majority of my career with. We will now be doing everything we can to make some more memories.

"I'm fairly lucky that I was around at that time in 2003 and got the opportunity to play in that game, and these guys have now been around for such a long time and that is one thing that when you finish your career you want your best mates to feel what you felt. Hopefully now if we do everything right in the grand final that becomes a reality."

Despite the fact that West Perth hadn’t won a final since 2003 and had lost all six finals it participated in, the culture of the club and closeness of the playing group was enough reason for the experienced players like Salecic, Guadagnin and Hunt to continue to play on.

"I don’t think you stick around just to win a premiership, the love of the club is a big part of it as well," he said.

"Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but the guys who have played a lot of footy here it's because they love the place and love playing with each other.

"We are good mates away from the club as well, and that includes the younger blokes. We are a close group and we pride ourselves on that within our football club."

Salecic has been one of the very best and most consistent WAFL players over the last decade with his leadership, ball winning ability, hardness at the contest and outstanding finishing making him a cut above most.

He had never played less than 18 games in a season between 2004 and 2012, but this year has been tough with an on-going hamstring injury meaning he missed half the season.

The 29-year-old has been trying to play catch up since, but has put together seven straight games now to be feeling good heading into the grand final.

"I've been putting in a lot of work into my preparation after missing 12 weeks of the season, and 10 games," he said.

"I was always playing catch up because of that, but I put in a fair effort over the pre-season which held me in good stead. I felt good out there this week and hopefully I've got another game left in me."

West Perth admittedly has changed its game plan significantly in 2013 and that led to a 13-7 record in the home and away season to finish second on the ladder to book in a second semi-final clash with Claremont.

Despite Claremont going in as warm favourites having never lost a final at Claremont Oval and having won the previous three second semis to go straight into the grand final, but West Perth was the better side all afternoon with its huge pressure and intensity a standout.

However, the Falcons couldn’t finish in front of goal and kicked 11.21 for the day, but that ended up being four points good enough to secure the memorable win at Tigerland.

"We have worked on a lot of things throughout the year to get our structures right, and the boys stuck to that all day. Communication is the most important thing to get everything right to make sure we are in a position to win games, and that worked well out there," he said.

"All day we felt like we were playing pretty well, but we missed a lot of opportunities and that made it a bit harder for ourselves. We have taken confidence now that we can match it with the better sides and whoever we play in the grand final we know we have to bring that game, and if we do that anything is a chance of happening.

"We know that Claremont are a good side but we came in pretty confident even though we had lost our last two games. We felt that we had the preparation necessary to play well and give us a chance to play in the grand final, and that's what happened.

"Getting into the grand final is one thing and it's a good feeling to get there, but we know we have to win it now and that's an even better feeling. We just have to do the right things over the next couple of weeks and take it from there."

Salecic certainly noticed the West Perth faithful who was out in full force making up the majority of the almost 3000 crowd at Claremont Oval in the second semi-final.

"Everyone gets excited and around finals time in footy it's when everyone enjoys it. It was great to see so many of our supporters there and get behind us, and you could really hear them when we ran out and throughout the game," he said.

"They were up and about and enjoyed the win afterwards. Their support gives us that little bit extra, but we have that belief inside ourselves that even if we had no support, which won't happen because of the tradition of our football, we will go out there and give it everything we can."

Like in any grand final side, there will be selection dilemmas and heartbreak. The toughest of all this year for West Perth will be the absence of five-time leading goalkicker and 169-game veteran Anthony Tsalikis after requiring a shoulder reconstruction after going down in Round 23.

If experienced defenders Michael Pettigrew and Luke Tedesco also prove their fitness two players from the second semi-final winning team could end up incredibly unlucky to miss out on the grand final.

"It's really unfortunate for someone like 'Slick' who will miss out because he's had to have an operation and I really feel for guys like him who have worked so hard, and been around for such a long time only for an injury to come along meaning he misses out on something like this," Salecic said.

"Obviously Pettigrew and Tedesco will be doing everything they can to get back into the side as well so that will make it an interesting build-up."

BY CHRIS PIKE