2013 MAJOR CLUB RAFFLE RESULTS

Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 2:12 PM

The West Perth Football Club 2013 Major Raffle was drawn on Friday 4 October at the Breckler Medal.

Firstly, thank you to all who purchased tickets in support of our club. We had an overwhelming response with all 200 tickets selling.

 

 

 

Gino Bastow of Content Living was the ticket drawn to win the major prize. Gino couldn't be at the Breckler Medal as he was overseas and when advised, was in complete disbelief he'd won. Gino, we hope you enjoy your 5 nights in Rome and look forward to receiving a postcard!

Congratulations to Gino and the minor place winners.

1st place - Ticket 039 - Gino Bastow

2nd place - Ticket 110 - Ben Strijk

3rd place - Ticket 093 - Kent Dixon

4th place - Ticket 092 - Murry Calzada

5th place - Ticket 091 - Tim Laver

The success of the West Perth Football Club is due not only to our members and supporters, but also the generosity of our fantastic sponsors. We wish to thank Darren Tyrell of Emirates and George Michalczyk of Motive Travel for their support this year in donating the magnificent first prize.

    

JONES' FAITH IN FALCONS PAYS OFF WITH PREMIERSHIP

Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 12:54 AM

JORDAN Jones virtually had the pick of the lot when his time with West Coast was up and he decided to continue to play in the WAFL, but he felt West Perth had the best culture and was on the verge of success and that decision paid off with him now becoming a premiership player.

Jones was drafted to the West Coast Eagles at the end of 2008 from the Geelong Falcons and managed just the two AFL matches over the next three years while playing his WAFL football with Peel Thunder.
As a Peel player, he couldn’t help but admire West Perth when he played against the Falcons and once he was delisted by the Eagles at the end of 2011 and he made the decision to remain in Western Australia, most WAFL clubs showed an interest in recruiting him.
He wanted to pick a team that he felt were close to some finals success and that had a team culture that he wanted to be part of, and West Perth fit the bill in both aspects and as a result he was only too happy to sign up with the Falcons.
His and the team's 2012 campaign didn’t quite go to plan, but Jones had a terrific 2013 season settling into a role in defence similar to the one that retired star Dion Fleay had played.
He had the ability to be equally effective playing on small or tall forwards from the opposition while being excellent at intercepting kicks coming into the opposition's forward 50 and then also setting up play for the Falcons coming out of defence.
At the end of the 2013 home and away season, the 23-year-old had played 82 WAFL matches without tasting a final but that soon changed with the second semi-final win over Claremont and then grand final victory against East Perth.
Jones always had faith that he made the right decision to come to West Perth and the proof is now in the pudding with a premiership to show for it.
"It is amazing. This is the reason I came to this footy club because I knew the group we had was outstanding and we always had that belief that we could be successful. We were really able to turn it around after last year and had a really good pre-season," Jones said.
"Nobody rated us at all, but we had belief in ourselves and we knew we could get there. It is a surreal feeling to be honest, it's crazy and everyone just went nuts after we won.
"I think what stood out to me was the successful culture of the club. Although they hadn’t won a lot of finals lately, when I played against them when I was at Peel they obviously beat us most of the time and were always around the top of the ladder, and still playing in finals.
"That's what I wanted. I didn’t get any opportunities at Peel to play at finals and that's what I wanted. I got to play finals footy and to top it off now with a premiership is just unbelievable."
The grand final was still up for grabs at three quarter-time with West Perth only 11 points up, but the Falcons then piled on seven goals to one in the final term as Jones enjoyed being out on a football field the most he ever has in his life.
"Bill didn’t give us a spray at three quarter-time, but he did rev us up saying that we just had to keeping put the pressure on them and it would turn our way," he said.
"That's what happened and then with 10 minutes to go we were five goals up and a few of the celebrations started kicking in. I looked over at Luke Tedesco at one point and he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. All the boys were just so pumped up. It was just unbelievable."
The West Perth back-line with Michael Pettigrew, Dan Hunt, Andrew Strijk, Steven Browne, Laine Rasmussen and Trent Manzone was outstanding all season, and Jones was a key part of that.
"We've been a tight-knit group all year and we try to say to ourselves that our job is to set the standard from the back-line," Jones said.
"We can generate run, turnovers and set the scene for the game if we are really pressing up and aggressive with the defensive side of our game. It's worked great all year."
Jones always admired the likes of Jason Salecic, Matt Guadagnin, Ray Bartholomew, Chris Keunen and Andrew Strijk when playing against West Perth as a Peel player, and now loves being teammates with them and is thrilled to see them enjoy a premiership.
"Those guys are absolute legends of the footy club and I couldn’t be any more proud to play with them in a premiership," he said.
"They've had some horrific injuries and some tough times along the way, but now they've got a premiership and they are loving it, and it has been great to celebrate with them."
It wouldn’t surprise to see Jones receive another chance in the AFL after his outstanding 2013 season, but if it doesn’t eventuate he's only too happy to keep playing with West Perth.
"I'm loving my footy at West Perth and if that does happen, then it happens," Jones said.
"It's always in the back of my mind, but you play footy to win premierships and that's what I am at West Perth for. Getting drafted again, if it happens then so be it."
BY CHRIS PIKEJORDAN Jones virtually had the pick of the lot when his time with West Coast was up and he decided to continue to play in the WAFL, but he felt West Perth had the best culture and was on the verge of success and that decision paid off with him now becoming a premiership player.

Jones was drafted to the West Coast Eagles at the end of 2008 from the Geelong Falcons and managed just the two AFL matches over the next three years while playing his WAFL football with Peel Thunder.

As a Peel player, he couldn’t help but admire West Perth when he played against the Falcons and once he was delisted by the Eagles at the end of 2011 and he made the decision to remain in Western Australia, most WAFL clubs showed an interest in recruiting him.

He wanted to pick a team that he felt were close to some finals success and that had a team culture that he wanted to be part of, and West Perth fit the bill in both aspects and as a result he was only too happy to sign up with the Falcons.

His and the team's 2012 campaign didn’t quite go to plan, but Jones had a terrific 2013 season settling into a role in defence similar to the one that retired star Dion Fleay had played.

He had the ability to be equally effective playing on small or tall forwards from the opposition while being excellent at intercepting kicks coming into the opposition's forward 50 and then also setting up play for the Falcons coming out of defence.

At the end of the 2013 home and away season, the 23-year-old had played 82 WAFL matches without tasting a final but that soon changed with the second semi-final win over Claremont and then grand final victory against East Perth.

Jones always had faith that he made the right decision to come to West Perth and the proof is now in the pudding with a premiership to show for it.

"It is amazing. This is the reason I came to this footy club because I knew the group we had was outstanding and we always had that belief that we could be successful. We were really able to turn it around after last year and had a really good pre-season," Jones said.

"Nobody rated us at all, but we had belief in ourselves and we knew we could get there. It is a surreal feeling to be honest, it's crazy and everyone just went nuts after we won.

"I think what stood out to me was the successful culture of the club. Although they hadn’t won a lot of finals lately, when I played against them when I was at Peel they obviously beat us most of the time and were always around the top of the ladder, and still playing in finals.

"That's what I wanted. I didn’t get any opportunities at Peel to play at finals and that's what I wanted. I got to play finals footy and to top it off now with a premiership is just unbelievable."

The grand final was still up for grabs at three quarter-time with West Perth only 11 points up, but the Falcons then piled on seven goals to one in the final term as Jones enjoyed being out on a football field the most he ever has in his life.

"Bill didn’t give us a spray at three quarter-time, but he did rev us up saying that we just had to keeping put the pressure on them and it would turn our way," he said.

"That's what happened and then with 10 minutes to go we were five goals up and a few of the celebrations started kicking in. I looked over at Luke Tedesco at one point and he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. All the boys were just so pumped up. It was just unbelievable."

The West Perth back-line with Michael Pettigrew, Dan Hunt, Andrew Strijk, Steven Browne, Laine Rasmussen and Trent Manzone was outstanding all season, and Jones was a key part of that.

"We've been a tight-knit group all year and we try to say to ourselves that our job is to set the standard from the back-line," Jones said.

"We can generate run, turnovers and set the scene for the game if we are really pressing up and aggressive with the defensive side of our game. It's worked great all year."

Jones always admired the likes of Jason Salecic, Matt Guadagnin, Ray Bartholomew, Chris Keunen and Andrew Strijk when playing against West Perth as a Peel player, and now loves being teammates with them and is thrilled to see them enjoy a premiership.

"Those guys are absolute legends of the footy club and I couldn’t be any more proud to play with them in a premiership," he said.

"They've had some horrific injuries and some tough times along the way, but now they've got a premiership and they are loving it, and it has been great to celebrate with them."

It wouldn’t surprise to see Jones receive another chance in the AFL after his outstanding 2013 season, but if it doesn’t eventuate he's only too happy to keep playing with West Perth.

"I'm loving my footy at West Perth and if that does happen, then it happens," Jones said.

"It's always in the back of my mind, but you play footy to win premierships and that's what I am at West Perth for. Getting drafted again, if it happens then so be it."

BY CHRIS PIKE

MONAGHAN PROUD TO LEAD FALCONS TO PREMIERSHIP

Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 12:36 AM

BILL Monaghan is now a league premiership coach having previously experienced WAFL flags as a player, reserves coach and league assistant but the highlight for him from guiding West Perth to the ultimate prize in 2013 was to see the players enjoy their success.

When Monaghan arrived to coach West Perth in 2009 he had behind him 204 WAFL games at both Subiaco and Peel Thunder, including the Lions' premiership of 1988, and then was reserves premiership coach at Subiaco in 2003 and 2005, and league assistant to Peter German in the premiership-winning years of 2004 and 2006.
Two years in a development role in the AFL with Fremantle then was his last role before being appointed West Perth coach in 2009 and now after just signing a three-year extension tying him to the Falcons until the end of 2016, he took the club to its first premiership in a decade.
The overwhelming feeling that Monaghan felt after West Perth's 49-point grand final win over East Perth was pride in seeing his playing group get to enjoy winning a premiership, and knowing that he had played a part in them achieving what for most will be the highlights of their football careers. 
"I'm really calm about it all actually and I'm just sitting back and enjoying the moment. Whether I'm getting older and wiser or not I don’t know, but I've been here in the past," Monaghan said.
"Just to see the joy on the faces of the players and then the supporters and all the families makes this an outstanding achievement.
"I've heard other coaches say how hard it is to make a grand final and how it's even harder to win one, but my players have just been outstanding and in the grand final they kept cracking in there.
"I sit back as a proud coach and it's more like sitting back and basking in your achievement in a playing group who almost become like your children. I'm rapt for them."
Coming into the finals series of 2013, West Perth had not won a final of any type since the 2003 grand final in six attempts since.
That meant that the Falcons were heavy underdogs heading to Claremont Oval for the second semi-final against the two-time defending premiers Claremont, but West Perth's pressure was simply too much for the Tigers and the Falcons were straight into the grand final of 2013.
That gave West Perth a week off while Claremont and East Perth did battle in the preliminary final, and Monaghan has no doubt that break gave the Falcons an edge over the Royals to run right over the top of them in the last quarter of the grand final and eventually win by 49 points.
"Having the week off at this time of year is really important," he said.
"We think we nailed down our rotations over the last couple of weeks, we had a full complement of our midfielders to pick from even though we had a couple of others who ordinarily would have played, but we were at our best in the midfield and we thought that could get us over the line.
"We also kicked with a strengthening gale in the last quarter so that probably helped as well."
Over his five years as coach, Monaghan has formed a strong bond with his senior players Jason Salecic, Matt Guadagnin, Ray Bartholomew, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Andrew Strijk, Steven Browne and Luke Tedesco, but he knows the Falcons couldn’t have won the premiership without young players coming through.
Shane Nelson and Aaron Black have rightfully received plenty of acknowledgement for their role in the premiership, but Monaghan feels that Kody Manning and Nick Rodda deserve just as much credit and have plenty more improvement left in them as well.
"We are proud of all our young players. Not just Shane Nelson but Aaron Black, Kody Manning, Nick Rodda so we have some really good young kids and have another five or six others who played the reserves grand final who can become solid league footballers," he said.
"Kody's pressure skills and his want for the contest is outstanding. What we are trying to work with Kody on is that some of his finishing skills needs to improve, but he went back and kicked a goal from 45 or 50 out so he is starting to get a lot cleaner with his hands.
"There is a huge upside to Kody Manning and hopefully he will continue to improve as well. He doesn’t need to improve much in the pressure stakes, but we think he can in other areas."
The West Perth forward-line might not have a gun full-forward like a Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith or Ben Saunders, but was successful all year in racking up enough goals and that continued in the grand final with Rohan Kerr booting five, and Rodda, Josh Mellington and Matt Fowler two each.
"He is a very confident young player Kerry and he likes the attention, and he does use the ball," Monaghan said
"I thought a couple of his goals and Matt Fowler's from outside the boundary were outstanding kicks. Coming off kicking 11.21 in the second semi-final I thought we turned that around so that was really good from the boys."
West Perth made just the one change coming into the grand final from the second semi-final win with vice-captain Luke Tedesco returning from a calf injury to replace the unlucky Trent Manzone.
While Monaghan certainly feels for the likes of Manzone and injured experienced pair Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew, he is also confident that by them missing out on a premiership will only make them and others in the same boat hungrier to be part of something special in 2014.
"Teddy declared himself fit and the physios and doctors declared him fit, and really the conditions suited his bullocking style," he said.
"He was another player who played his part but unfortunately in grand finals there's always an unlucky person and Trent has been very good for us all year, and we think he will continue to develop as well.
"With Michael and Anthony there's a couple of hard luck stories there as well, but we hope they continue to want to play and can make us better next year."
Monaghan is also hopeful of keeping the majority of his premiership playing group together despite the obvious of Fremantle's Josh Mellington being forced to play with Peel Thunder and Simpson Medallist Mark Hutchings to play with East Perth.
"We want the whole group to keep pushing each other to keep getting better and we think that a lot of our young players have huge upsides. That's the guys who played both league and reserves grand finals, and we have some good colts coming through," Monaghan said.
"We just need to keep developing players and it's going to be tough with the landscape changing a little bit, and we just have to make sure we give everyone the opportunity to play good league footy.
"Mellington will be aligned to Peel and Hutchings to East Perth, but I would expect most of the other guys will be back. What a premiership will do to guys right at the end I'm not sure.
"They might want to stick around to see if there's another one there or they might want to bow out, but we will let the dust settle and we won't push anyone in either direction. For now we will sit back and enjoy what we've achieved, and then start looking at our list."
BY CHRIS PIKEBILL Monaghan is now a league premiership coach having previously experienced WAFL flags as a player, reserves coach and league assistant but the highlight for him from guiding West Perth to the ultimate prize in 2013 was to see the players enjoy their success.

When Monaghan arrived to coach West Perth in 2009 he had behind him 204 WAFL games at both Subiaco and Peel Thunder, including the Lions' premiership of 1988, and then was reserves premiership coach at Subiaco in 2003 and 2005, and league assistant to Peter German in the premiership-winning years of 2004 and 2006.

Two years in a development role in the AFL with Fremantle then was his last role before being appointed West Perth coach in 2009 and now after just signing a three-year extension tying him to the Falcons until the end of 2016, he took the club to its first premiership in a decade.

The overwhelming feeling that Monaghan felt after West Perth's 49-point grand final win over East Perth was pride in seeing his playing group get to enjoy winning a premiership, and knowing that he had played a part in them achieving what for most will be the highlights of their football careers. 

"I'm really calm about it all actually and I'm just sitting back and enjoying the moment. Whether I'm getting older and wiser or not I don’t know, but I've been here in the past," Monaghan said.

"Just to see the joy on the faces of the players and then the supporters and all the families makes this an outstanding achievement.

"I've heard other coaches say how hard it is to make a grand final and how it's even harder to win one, but my players have just been outstanding and in the grand final they kept cracking in there.

"I sit back as a proud coach and it's more like sitting back and basking in your achievement in a playing group who almost become like your children. I'm rapt for them."

Coming into the finals series of 2013, West Perth had not won a final of any type since the 2003 grand final in six attempts since.

That meant that the Falcons were heavy underdogs heading to Claremont Oval for the second semi-final against the two-time defending premiers Claremont, but West Perth's pressure was simply too much for the Tigers and the Falcons were straight into the grand final of 2013.

That gave West Perth a week off while Claremont and East Perth did battle in the preliminary final, and Monaghan has no doubt that break gave the Falcons an edge over the Royals to run right over the top of them in the last quarter of the grand final and eventually win by 49 points.

"Having the week off at this time of year is really important," he said.

"We think we nailed down our rotations over the last couple of weeks, we had a full complement of our midfielders to pick from even though we had a couple of others who ordinarily would have played, but we were at our best in the midfield and we thought that could get us over the line.

"We also kicked with a strengthening gale in the last quarter so that probably helped as well."

Over his five years as coach, Monaghan has formed a strong bond with his senior players Jason Salecic, Matt Guadagnin, Ray Bartholomew, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Andrew Strijk, Steven Browne and Luke Tedesco, but he knows the Falcons couldn’t have won the premiership without young players coming through.

Shane Nelson and Aaron Black have rightfully received plenty of acknowledgement for their role in the premiership, but Monaghan feels that Kody Manning and Nick Rodda deserve just as much credit and have plenty more improvement left in them as well.

"We are proud of all our young players. Not just Shane Nelson but Aaron Black, Kody Manning, Nick Rodda so we have some really good young kids and have another five or six others who played the reserves grand final who can become solid league footballers," he said.

"Kody's pressure skills and his want for the contest is outstanding. What we are trying to work with Kody on is that some of his finishing skills needs to improve, but he went back and kicked a goal from 45 or 50 out so he is starting to get a lot cleaner with his hands.

"There is a huge upside to Kody Manning and hopefully he will continue to improve as well. He doesn’t need to improve much in the pressure stakes, but we think he can in other areas."

The West Perth forward-line might not have a gun full-forward like a Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith or Ben Saunders, but was successful all year in racking up enough goals and that continued in the grand final with Rohan Kerr booting five, and Rodda, Josh Mellington and Matt Fowler two each.

"He is a very confident young player Kerry and he likes the attention, and he does use the ball," Monaghan said

"I thought a couple of his goals and Matt Fowler's from outside the boundary were outstanding kicks. Coming off kicking 11.21 in the second semi-final I thought we turned that around so that was really good from the boys."

West Perth made just the one change coming into the grand final from the second semi-final win with vice-captain Luke Tedesco returning from a calf injury to replace the unlucky Trent Manzone.

While Monaghan certainly feels for the likes of Manzone and injured experienced pair Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew, he is also confident that by them missing out on a premiership will only make them and others in the same boat hungrier to be part of something special in 2014.

"Teddy declared himself fit and the physios and doctors declared him fit, and really the conditions suited his bullocking style," he said.

"He was another player who played his part but unfortunately in grand finals there's always an unlucky person and Trent has been very good for us all year, and we think he will continue to develop as well.

"With Michael and Anthony there's a couple of hard luck stories there as well, but we hope they continue to want to play and can make us better next year."

Monaghan is also hopeful of keeping the majority of his premiership playing group together despite the obvious of Fremantle's Josh Mellington being forced to play with Peel Thunder and Simpson Medallist Mark Hutchings to play with East Perth.

"We want the whole group to keep pushing each other to keep getting better and we think that a lot of our young players have huge upsides. That's the guys who played both league and reserves grand finals, and we have some good colts coming through," Monaghan said.

"We just need to keep developing players and it's going to be tough with the landscape changing a little bit, and we just have to make sure we give everyone the opportunity to play good league footy.

"Mellington will be aligned to Peel and Hutchings to East Perth, but I would expect most of the other guys will be back. What a premiership will do to guys right at the end I'm not sure.

"They might want to stick around to see if there's another one there or they might want to bow out, but we will let the dust settle and we won't push anyone in either direction. For now we will sit back and enjoy what we've achieved, and then start looking at our list."

BY CHRIS PIKE

PREMIERSHIP SKIPPER'S LAST ACT TO CAP OFF SPECIAL YEAR

Friday, October 4, 2013 - 11:42 PM

JASON Salecic's last act as West Perth captain was holding aloft the premiership cup for 2013 as it capped off a year that might not have totally gone to plan on the field, but was the best of his life with his newly arrived son and wife there to share grand final day with him.

Salecic has announced that he will play on for at least one more season in 2014 to add to his glittering two-premiership, Breckler Medal winning, 213-game career but the 2013 grand final win over East Perth was his last match as captain.
Getting to hold up the premiership cup following the 49-point win over the Royals capped off a season for Salecic that saw him manage just the 10 home and away games and then the two finals due to some hamstring troubles, but it will forever be a year he won't forget.
Of course becoming a two-time premiership player and the captain of a premiership winning side automatically makes 2013 special, but Salecic and his wife Katie also welcomed their son Max into the world.
For Salecic, the birth of their son takes the cake in terms of the best moments in his life but he was just over the moon that both his wife and Max could be there to experience the premiership win of 2013 with him after a year that hasn’t always gone smoothly.
"It has been an amazing time in my life this year. Winning the premiership is good, but us having a baby was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life," Salecic said.
"We did go through some tough times because he was a bit sick early on, and he probably spent half of his life up until three months in and out of hospital. It was a bit tough through that time and it has been a challenging year, but my wife has been so supportive and those commitments are huge.
"I'm so grateful to be able to continue to play for this footy club with my wife supporting me. Our son was at the grand final and there was no question he was coming.
"My wife thought it might have been too wet, but I said there was no way he was missing out on it and I will always remember sharing the premiership with him and my wife."
Salecic made his league debut with West Perth in 2002 and played in the grand final loss that year to East Perth before being part of the grand final again the following season, and then becoming a premiership player at just 19 when the Falcons beat Subiaco.
He might have expected plenty more grand finals throughout his career after two in his first two seasons of league football, but while he became one of the WAFL's best and most consistent performers over the last decade, the Falcons weren’t able to taste any finals success.
However, Salecic and a strong core group of experienced players stuck together and with the help of a couple of handy recruits and exciting youngsters, won the 2013 premiership and those minutes out on Patersons Stadium with the game won were special for everyone.
"It is pretty special. There's not too many premiership captains running around for West Perth so it's a very special moment for myself and I'm just happy for everyone involved in the club to get to enjoy this moment," he said.
"Those last 20 minutes were the best feeling I've had in my football career no doubt. In a way I wouldn’t have minded the last quarter kept going, but also I was just waiting for the siren so I could hold the cup up."
Salecic was the only player still playing from the 2003 premiership for the reunion earlier this season and now 2023, 2033, 2043 and so on are going to be special years for the rest of his life with two premierships to celebrate and remember each time.
"We've got plenty of reunions to look forward to now and I will be lucky enough to be celebrating two of them in 2023 so that will be pretty special. I don’t know if the missus will like that, but it's something that makes a premiership special because you remember it forever," Salecic said.
"Every one of these blokes I will be best mates with for the rest of my life so it's pretty special. There are guys who have missed out as well who have been best mates with the football club for such a long time as well and they have contributed to our success as much as anyone.
"I was a bit younger back in 2003 and it was a bit different for me as a young player, but I still have a lot of good mates who I played with in that time and a lot of them were here to enjoy us winning it this year. We have bonded throughout the years after that, but this year to play in a flag with guys who I have played with for such a long time makes it a bit more special I think."
Salecic was thrilled to get to celebrate a premiership with long-term teammates like Dan Hunt, Ray Bartholomew, Andrew Strijk, Chris Keunen and Marc Crisp, but the one that he feels the happiest for without doubt is Matt Guadagnin to now be able to call himself a premiership player.
"Guady is someone who I am just so glad is now a premiership player and that I get to share this with him, and Razor is another one and so is Dan. They are guys I'm fairly close with and 'Chipper' is another one who has gone through a lot of hard times, but he has worked hard to get into a position to play some good quality league football," he said.
"It's just good for those guys to get the reward of playing in a premiership. Me and Guady are kind of on the same page and he was around in 2003, and was unfortunate enough to be injured, and he is an emotional man. We are similar types of people and he puts a lot into his preparation and it's just great for him to get to enjoy this."
BY CHRIS PIKEJASON Salecic's last act as West Perth captain was holding aloft the premiership cup for 2013 as it capped off a year that might not have totally gone to plan on the field, but was the best of his life with his newly arrived son and wife there to share grand final day with him.

Salecic has announced that he will play on for at least one more season in 2014 to add to his glittering two-premiership, Breckler Medal winning, 213-game career but the 2013 grand final win over East Perth was his last match as captain.

Getting to hold up the premiership cup following the 49-point win over the Royals capped off a season for Salecic that saw him manage just the 10 home and away games and then the two finals due to some hamstring troubles, but it will forever be a year he won't forget.

Of course becoming a two-time premiership player and the captain of a premiership winning side automatically makes 2013 special, but Salecic and his wife Katie also welcomed their son Max into the world.

For Salecic, the birth of their son takes the cake in terms of the best moments in his life but he was just over the moon that both his wife and Max could be there to experience the premiership win of 2013 with him after a year that hasn’t always gone smoothly.

"It has been an amazing time in my life this year. Winning the premiership is good, but us having a baby was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life," Salecic said.

"We did go through some tough times because he was a bit sick early on, and he probably spent half of his life up until three months in and out of hospital. It was a bit tough through that time and it has been a challenging year, but my wife has been so supportive and those commitments are huge.

"I'm so grateful to be able to continue to play for this footy club with my wife supporting me. Our son was at the grand final and there was no question he was coming.

"My wife thought it might have been too wet, but I said there was no way he was missing out on it and I will always remember sharing the premiership with him and my wife."

Salecic made his league debut with West Perth in 2002 and played in the grand final loss that year to East Perth before being part of the grand final again the following season, and then becoming a premiership player at just 19 when the Falcons beat Subiaco.

He might have expected plenty more grand finals throughout his career after two in his first two seasons of league football, but while he became one of the WAFL's best and most consistent performers over the last decade, the Falcons weren’t able to taste any finals success.

However, Salecic and a strong core group of experienced players stuck together and with the help of a couple of handy recruits and exciting youngsters, won the 2013 premiership and those minutes out on Patersons Stadium with the game won were special for everyone.

"It is pretty special. There's not too many premiership captains running around for West Perth so it's a very special moment for myself and I'm just happy for everyone involved in the club to get to enjoy this moment," he said.

"Those last 20 minutes were the best feeling I've had in my football career no doubt. In a way I wouldn’t have minded the last quarter kept going, but also I was just waiting for the siren so I could hold the cup up."

Salecic was the only player still playing from the 2003 premiership for the reunion earlier this season and now 2023, 2033, 2043 and so on are going to be special years for the rest of his life with two premierships to celebrate and remember each time.

"We've got plenty of reunions to look forward to now and I will be lucky enough to be celebrating two of them in 2023 so that will be pretty special. I don’t know if the missus will like that, but it's something that makes a premiership special because you remember it forever," Salecic said.

"Every one of these blokes I will be best mates with for the rest of my life so it's pretty special. There are guys who have missed out as well who have been best mates with the football club for such a long time as well and they have contributed to our success as much as anyone.

"I was a bit younger back in 2003 and it was a bit different for me as a young player, but I still have a lot of good mates who I played with in that time and a lot of them were here to enjoy us winning it this year. We have bonded throughout the years after that, but this year to play in a flag with guys who I have played with for such a long time makes it a bit more special I think."

Salecic was thrilled to get to celebrate a premiership with long-term teammates like Dan Hunt, Ray Bartholomew, Andrew Strijk, Chris Keunen and Marc Crisp, but the one that he feels the happiest for without doubt is Matt Guadagnin to now be able to call himself a premiership player.

"Guady is someone who I am just so glad is now a premiership player and that I get to share this with him, and Razor is another one and so is Dan. They are guys I'm fairly close with and 'Chipper' is another one who has gone through a lot of hard times, but he has worked hard to get into a position to play some good quality league football," he said.

"It's just good for those guys to get the reward of playing in a premiership. Me and Guady are kind of on the same page and he was around in 2003, and was unfortunate enough to be injured, and he is an emotional man. We are similar types of people and he puts a lot into his preparation and it's just great for him to get to enjoy this."

BY CHRIS PIKE

HARD WORK TO GET BACK PAYS OFF FOR TEDESCO

Friday, October 4, 2013 - 11:21 PM

WHEN he went down injured in Round 21, West Perth vice-captain Luke Tedesco knew he had a huge fight on his hands to make it back on the field again in 2013 but he won the battle and his reward was becoming a premiership player as the Falcons beat East Perth in the grand final.

Tedesco celebrated his 100th game with the Falcons in the Round 16 win over Peel Thunder at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium, but then in Round 21 against Perth in Moora, he injured his calf and that put the rest of his 2013 in serious jeopardy.
However, straight away Tedesco was dedicated to his rehab staying up icing the calf right away, doing all his rehab exercises and anything that might enable him to get back playing this season and eventually it paid off.
There were some nervous times when he was still not quite ready to play in either the league or reserves' semi finals, but he did then play in the reserves preliminary final win over Perth and was given the nod to come into the league grand final side after coming through unscathed.
The X-year-old then showed his toughness and reliability out on Patersons Stadium as a rock solid part of the West Perth defence against East Perth in the 49-point grand final win and it's something he is making the most of now being a premiership player.
"It's something that you think about over and over again, and I sat through years of watching Claremont, Subi, South Fremantle and Swan Districts win premierships whilst I've been playing and I have always dreamed of this moment," Tedesco said.
"Now that it's here I will just embrace it and be able to look back on in many years time with a lot of pride. I reckon it's going to be a good couple of weeks of celebrations now and in 10 years time we will double up with the 2003 team and that will be a hell of a premiership reunion as well."
It was only natural that Tedesco had some quiet moments where he thought he might be joining fellow veterans Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew on the sidelines as the Falcons went into the grand final, but once coach Bill Monaghan gave him the all clear he breathed a huge sigh of relief.
"There were a few moments that were tough along the way. I didn’t get up for semi-final weekend and at that stage I was probably feeling like I might not make it, but after that week I kept focused and did everything I could, and got a bit of a luck. I got the chance to play in the reserves prelim," he said.
"Bill rang me on Thursday night to tell me he was going to back me in after I declared myself fit. It was a funny feeling all week and I was pretty anxious for a couple of weeks leading up to that so I was pretty happy to get the call that I was playing."
Tedesco was thankful for all involved at the club in helping get out there on grand final day and he knew that it was all worth it once it was late in the final quarter and the Falcons players knew they had the 2013 premiership won.
"It's the greatest feeling and it's just such a great reward for all our efforts. From the moment I did the injury I tried to do everything I could to get it right, I had a lot of assistance from the club physios and everyone who went above and beyond. I'm now just grateful to be here," Tedesco said.
"Once we got to about 22 or 24 points up and it was about the 28-minute mark, and I turned to Hunty and Strijk and it was probably the first time we knew that we had it won. The goals then kept coming and the more we kicked, the more enjoyment we were getting out of it.
"I really enjoyed those last 10 minutes and it's always how I pictured a grand final with it being nice and close, and then being able to break it open at the end so you are able to enjoy it. Then when that final siren went it was just the most amazing feeling."
Tedesco has played his entire 105-game WAFL career with Andrew Strijk, Matt Guadagnin, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Ray Bartholomew and captain Jason Salecic so he's thrilled to celebrate the premiership with them but his heart goes out to Tsalikis and Pettigrew.
"The thing that stands out the most above everything else is for being able to share this moment with those senior guys who I have played my entire career with," he said.
"I am absolutely devastated for Slick and Petters because they have been such integral parts of our team – Slick for 12 years now and Petters the last couple since coming back from Port Adelaide.
"My heart goes out to them, but to share it with the guys who did get out there and play was just fantastic."
The West Perth back-line was outstanding right throughout the 2013 season.
Pettigrew was a rock at full-back until tearing his hamstring in Round 19 but once he went down Shaun Marusic joined Dan Hunt, Strijk, Steven Browne, Jordan Jones, Trent Manzone, Laine Rasmussen and then Tedesco.
The defensive unit again stood up in the grand final against a dangerous East Perth forward-line but Tedesco knows that the massive pressure applied by West Perth all over the ground in both finals victories was a major reason for the premiership win.
"That's what we have been about all year is that team defence and we know it starts in the back-line," Tedesco said.
"Whilst our defenders did a good job one-on-one on their forwards, the pressure also came from up the field from our midfield and forward-line who were fantastic with their pressure. That helps to make it a bit easier for us guys down back."
BY CHRIS PIKEWHEN he went down injured in Round 21, West Perth vice-captain Luke Tedesco knew he had a huge fight on his hands to make it back on the field again in 2013 but he won the battle and his reward was becoming a premiership player as the Falcons beat East Perth in the grand final.

Tedesco celebrated his 100th game with the Falcons in the Round 16 win over Peel Thunder at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium, but then in Round 21 against Perth in Moora, he injured his calf and that put the rest of his 2013 in serious jeopardy.

However, straight away Tedesco was dedicated to his rehab staying up icing the calf right away, doing all his rehab exercises and anything that might enable him to get back playing this season and eventually it paid off.

There were some nervous times when he was still not quite ready to play in either the league or reserves' semi finals, but he did then play in the reserves preliminary final win over Perth and was given the nod to come into the league grand final side after coming through unscathed.

The 26-year-old then showed his toughness and reliability out on Patersons Stadium as a rock solid part of the West Perth defence against East Perth in the 49-point grand final win and it's something he is making the most of now being a premiership player.

"It's something that you think about over and over again, and I sat through years of watching Claremont, Subi, South Fremantle and Swan Districts win premierships whilst I've been playing and I have always dreamed of this moment," Tedesco said.

"Now that it's here I will just embrace it and be able to look back on in many years time with a lot of pride. I reckon it's going to be a good couple of weeks of celebrations now and in 10 years time we will double up with the 2003 team and that will be a hell of a premiership reunion as well."

It was only natural that Tedesco had some quiet moments where he thought he might be joining fellow veterans Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew on the sidelines as the Falcons went into the grand final, but once coach Bill Monaghan gave him the all clear he breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"There were a few moments that were tough along the way. I didn’t get up for semi-final weekend and at that stage I was probably feeling like I might not make it, but after that week I kept focused and did everything I could, and got a bit of a luck. I got the chance to play in the reserves prelim," he said.

"Bill rang me on Thursday night to tell me he was going to back me in after I declared myself fit. It was a funny feeling all week and I was pretty anxious for a couple of weeks leading up to that so I was pretty happy to get the call that I was playing."

Tedesco was thankful for all involved at the club in helping get out there on grand final day and he knew that it was all worth it once it was late in the final quarter and the Falcons players knew they had the 2013 premiership won.

"It's the greatest feeling and it's just such a great reward for all our efforts. From the moment I did the injury I tried to do everything I could to get it right, I had a lot of assistance from the club physios and everyone who went above and beyond. I'm now just grateful to be here," Tedesco said.

"Once we got to about 22 or 24 points up and it was about the 28-minute mark, and I turned to Hunty and Strijk and it was probably the first time we knew that we had it won. The goals then kept coming and the more we kicked, the more enjoyment we were getting out of it.

"I really enjoyed those last 10 minutes and it's always how I pictured a grand final with it being nice and close, and then being able to break it open at the end so you are able to enjoy it. Then when that final siren went it was just the most amazing feeling."

Tedesco has played his entire 105-game WAFL career with Andrew Strijk, Matt Guadagnin, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Ray Bartholomew and captain Jason Salecic so he's thrilled to celebrate the premiership with them but his heart goes out to Tsalikis and Pettigrew.

"The thing that stands out the most above everything else is for being able to share this moment with those senior guys who I have played my entire career with," he said.

"I am absolutely devastated for Slick and Petters because they have been such integral parts of our team – Slick for 12 years now and Petters the last couple since coming back from Port Adelaide.

"My heart goes out to them, but to share it with the guys who did get out there and play was just fantastic."

The West Perth back-line was outstanding right throughout the 2013 season.

Pettigrew was a rock at full-back until tearing his hamstring in Round 19 but once he went down Shaun Marusic joined Hunt, Strijk, Steven Browne, Jordan Jones, Trent Manzone, Laine Rasmussen and then Tedesco.

The defensive unit again stood up in the grand final against a dangerous East Perth forward-line but Tedesco knows that the massive pressure applied by West Perth all over the ground in both finals victories was a major reason for the premiership win.

"That's what we have been about all year is that team defence and we know it starts in the back-line," Tedesco said.

"Whilst our defenders did a good job one-on-one on their forwards, the pressure also came from up the field from our midfield and forward-line who were fantastic with their pressure. That helps to make it a bit easier for us guys down back."

BY CHRIS PIKE

GUADAGNIN'S DEDICATION REWARDED WITH PREMIERSHIP

Friday, October 4, 2013 - 7:09 PM

MATT Guadagnin has long been one of West Perth's finest servants and had to wait over a decade for his first grand final appearance, but now is a premiership player and the veteran midfielder had as big a say in the Falcons first flag since 2003 as anyone.

Guadagnin, who comes from Southern Cross and has spent most of his career still commuting from his farm in York, made his league debut with the Falcons back in 2002 and then missed most of the premiership year of 2003 through injury.
However, ever since then the tough and gutsy ball-winning midfielder has become a permanent fixture of the West Perth line-up and had to amass 161 matches before getting to play in his first grand final this year up against East Perth at Patersons Stadium.
The 29-year-old had an outstanding 2013 season with him fully mended from his badly broken leg from 2011, and then he finished off with a tremendous showing in the grand final as West Perth beat East Perth by 49 points to claim the premiership.
Guadagnin saw his teammates, including current captain Jason Salecic, win the 2003 flag and then saw them celebrate with a reunion earlier this year and he desperately wanted that for himself, and now he's got his wish.
"I think it would have been disappointing to have retired without a premiership. The 2003 boys had their reunion this year and I saw them celebrate again, and it was still like they had won it yesterday. For me to now have that bond and that to look forward to with these boys is amazing," Guadagnin said.
"It's almost a relief to actually win a premiership after all this time. We have worked so hard and every year is different, and you firstly have to try to qualify for finals and it just doesn’t happen easily. We now are always going to be premiership players and no one can ever take it away from us."
Having waited so long to find out what winning a premiership felt like, Guadagnin was just soaking it all in after the win but the time late in the last quarter when the Falcons had the win sewn up is something he will never forget.
"Those last 10 minutes I was just running around like a headless chook. I was just waiting for the siren to go but at the same time I could have stayed out there forever playing out those last few minutes knowing that we were now premiership players," Guadagnin said.
"We did think we could finish off well. We have been finishing games off strong all year and we thought our pressure was outstanding through the whole game and we didn’t miss goals like we did in the second semi, but I thought we deserved to be a little further in front.
"We thought if we could just keep doing what we were doing that we might be able to crack them eventually, and lucky enough we did and then the last 10 minutes were probably junk time when it blew out a bit."
Seeing just how much winning a premiership meant to everyone associated with the club from players, coaches, trainers, support staff and supporters didn’t surprise Guadagnin one bit, but the fact that he will now forever be remembered as a premiership player is something that means the world to him.
"It has been 10 years and I know how passionate everyone around the club is. You see how much it means to everyone, including the past players, and now to be in that group of players who has won a premiership is a special feeling. You will always be part of that now and it's just amazing," he said.
"Bill said to us behind closed doors that every time we are announced anywhere we go now, it will be as premiership players and no one can ever take that away from us.
"It's what you work so hard for and some of us have been working at it for two or three years, and some like me and a few others a bit longer. It's just an amazing feeling, I don’t know how else to describe it."
Guadagnin might be as always modest about his own performance in the grand final, but he finished with 24 possessions and a massive 12 clearances as he flourished in the tough and contested nature of the contested in the often wet conditions.
"I don’t know that I played that well, I did a fair bit of grunt work and let the other boys get a lot of the touches," he said.
"Everyone had to play their part for us to win and of course you don’t want to play poorly in a grand final, but really I don’t think I would care that much how I went as long as I won the premiership."
Guadagnin is already looking forward to 2014 as well and adding to his 162 matches with the West Perth Football Club.
"I haven’t ever said I would retire and I'm pretty confident that I will play again," Guadagnin said.
"I've always said throughout the year that I will play on for at least another year, and that's still the plan at this stage anyway."
BY CHRIS PIKEMATT Guadagnin has long been one of West Perth's finest servants and had to wait over a decade for his first grand final appearance, but now is a premiership player and the veteran midfielder had as big a say in the Falcons first flag since 2003 as anyone.

Guadagnin, who comes from Southern Cross and has spent most of his career still commuting from his farm in York, made his league debut with the Falcons back in 2002 and then missed most of the premiership year of 2003 through injury.

However, ever since then the tough and gutsy ball-winning midfielder has become a permanent fixture of the West Perth line-up and had to amass 161 matches before getting to play in his first grand final this year up against East Perth at Patersons Stadium.

The 29-year-old had an outstanding 2013 season with him fully mended from his badly broken leg from 2011, and then he finished off with a tremendous showing in the grand final as West Perth beat East Perth by 49 points to claim the premiership.

Guadagnin saw his teammates, including current captain Jason Salecic, win the 2003 flag and then saw them celebrate with a reunion earlier this year and he desperately wanted that for himself, and now he's got his wish.

"I think it would have been disappointing to have retired without a premiership. The 2003 boys had their reunion this year and I saw them celebrate again, and it was still like they had won it yesterday. For me to now have that bond and that to look forward to with these boys is amazing," Guadagnin said.

"It's almost a relief to actually win a premiership after all this time. We have worked so hard and every year is different, and you firstly have to try to qualify for finals and it just doesn’t happen easily. We now are always going to be premiership players and no one can ever take it away from us."

Having waited so long to find out what winning a premiership felt like, Guadagnin was just soaking it all in after the win but the time late in the last quarter when the Falcons had the win sewn up is something he will never forget.

"Those last 10 minutes I was just running around like a headless chook. I was just waiting for the siren to go but at the same time I could have stayed out there forever playing out those last few minutes knowing that we were now premiership players," Guadagnin said.

"We did think we could finish off well. We have been finishing games off strong all year and we thought our pressure was outstanding through the whole game and we didn’t miss goals like we did in the second semi, but I thought we deserved to be a little further in front.

"We thought if we could just keep doing what we were doing that we might be able to crack them eventually, and lucky enough we did and then the last 10 minutes were probably junk time when it blew out a bit."

Seeing just how much winning a premiership meant to everyone associated with the club from players, coaches, trainers, support staff and supporters didn’t surprise Guadagnin one bit, but the fact that he will now forever be remembered as a premiership player is something that means the world to him.

"It has been 10 years and I know how passionate everyone around the club is. You see how much it means to everyone, including the past players, and now to be in that group of players who has won a premiership is a special feeling. You will always be part of that now and it's just amazing," he said.

"Bill said to us behind closed doors that every time we are announced anywhere we go now, it will be as premiership players and no one can ever take that away from us.

"It's what you work so hard for and some of us have been working at it for two or three years, and some like me and a few others a bit longer. It's just an amazing feeling, I don’t know how else to describe it."

Guadagnin might be as always modest about his own performance in the grand final, but he finished with 24 possessions and a massive 12 clearances as he flourished in the tough and contested nature of the contested in the often wet conditions.

"I don’t know that I played that well, I did a fair bit of grunt work and let the other boys get a lot of the touches," he said.

"Everyone had to play their part for us to win and of course you don’t want to play poorly in a grand final, but really I don’t think I would care that much how I went as long as I won the premiership."

Guadagnin is already looking forward to 2014 as well and adding to his 162 matches with the West Perth Football Club.

"I haven’t ever said I would retire and I'm pretty confident that I will play again," Guadagnin said.

"I've always said throughout the year that I will play on for at least another year, and that's still the plan at this stage anyway."

BY CHRIS PIKE

JOINT WINNERS FOR BRECKLER MEDAL IN PREMIERSHIP YEAR

Friday, October 4, 2013 - 1:53 PM

THE West Perth Football Club has honoured its premiership team of 2013 at the Breckler Medal count on Friday at Joondalup Resort with joint winners announced in a tight fairest and best count that saw precious little separate the top-four players.

Very few honours in football are valued more highly than winning the fairest and best award for your club in a premiership year, and now damaging half-back Andrew Strijk and prolific midfielder Shane Nelson have been honoured as joint Breckler Medallists for the West Perth Football Club in 2013.
It is the first time that both players have won a Breckler Medal and Strijk across half-back and Nelson through the middle were both pivotal in the Falcons finishing the home and away season in second spot, beating Claremont to make the grand final and then beating East Perth to claim the 2013 premiership.
Strijk and Nelson both finished on 125 votes just ahead of Matt Guadagnin (123), Aaron Black (117), Marc Crisp (114), Jordan Jones (111), Jay van Berlo (110), Steven Browne (105), Chris Keunen (103) and Dan Hunt (102).
Strijk has now played 133 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.
He settled into a role across half-back again after the Eagles wanted him to play as a half-forward, and averaged 20.3 possessions a game including a high of 27 in Round 13.
The 26-year-old also played for WA in the state game win over Victoria and his consistency in providing run and drive out of defence, not to mention his outstanding kicking sees him as a deserved premiership Breckler Medal winner.
Nelson might have only played 15 league games coming into the 2013 season, but had shown terrific signs as an emerging midfielder last year and took 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.
His consistency was remarkable with him never having a match of less than 17 possessions and only twice did he gather fewer 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.
Then of course there was his 36 possessions and 13 clearances in the grand final win over East Perth before he now has a Breckler Medal around his neck after just 37 league matches.
Strijk and Nelson couldn’t be separated in the voting for the Breckler Medal in what is just the second time in history that the fairest and best award has been shared at West Perth.
Remarkably the only other time it has happened since a fairest and best award was first presented in 1923 was when Terence (Checker) O'Keefe and Jack Pola split the award in the premiership year of 1941.
The major reason why West Perth won the 2013 premiership was because of the evenness of the side across all 22 players that lined up any given week, and across the field and that was recognised in the Breckler Medal voting.
Not only were Strijk and Nelson joint winners, but 162-game veteran midfielder Matt Guadagnin was just behind to be runner-up and again the 29-year-old came so close once again to a Breckler Medal.
However, his consistent finishes high-up in the count over the past decade shows just how valuable a member of the Falcons he has been and why he is such a deserved premiership player now.
Twenty-year-old wingman Aaron Black finished third as he was recognised for his outstanding season that including him being West Perth's highest vote winner in the Sandover Medal, representing Western Australia in the win over Victoria and of course then becoming a premiership player.
Fourth was Marc Crisp and his is a terrific story in its own right.
The 26-year-old had managed only 31 league games for West Perth since making his debut in 2008 prior to the start of this year, but cemented himself as a key member of the forward-line both in terms of kicking goals and putting on strong defensive pressure.
He then kicked four goals in the second semi-final win over Claremont and two in the grand final to cap off a terrific season. Crisp also received the Coach's Award from Bill Monaghan.
Young key position player Nick Rodda was also acknowledged for his season that ended in the premiership receiving the Santana Electrical Rising Star Award.
Jordan Jones made no secret that he came to West Perth to be part of team success ahead of the 2012 season once his time in the AFL with the West Coast Eagles ended, and he got the premiership in 2013 and was presented with the Carbone/De Vita Award.
Premiership defenders Luke Tedesco and Steven Browne were also presented with the City of Joondalup Best Clubman and Wayne Dayman Courage Awards respectively while the Joondalup Resort Sacrificial Act Award went to Kody Manning.
The West Perth reserves team put in a terrific showing to make the grand final in 2013 and Swan Districts recruit James Embley won the Roy Ennis Medal as the fairest and best winner ahead of Jack Thrum and Frank Stockley.
LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS
Breckler Medal (Fairest and Best): Andrew Strijk, Shane Nelson
Runner-up Fairest and Best: Matt Guadagnin
Ken Ashdown Memorial Award (Third Fairest and Best): Aaron Black
Past Players Award (Fourth Fairest and Best): Marc Crisp
Santana Electrical Rising Star Award: Nick Rodda
Carbone/De Vita Award: Jordan Jones
League Coach's Award: Marc Crisp
City of Joondalup Best Clubman Award: Luke Tedesco
Wayne Dayman Courage Award: Steven Browne
Ray Scott Memorial Award (Leading Goalkicker): Marc Crisp, Josh Mellington
Joondalup Resort Sacrificial Act Award: Kody Manning
RESERVES AWARD WINNERS
Roy Ennis Medal (Fairest and Best): James Embley
Runner-up Fairest and Best: Jack Thrum
Past Players Award (Third Fairest and Best): Frank Stockley
Reserves Coach's Award: Luke Meadows
BY CHRIS PIKETHE West Perth Football Club has honoured its premiership team of 2013 at the Breckler Medal count on Friday at Joondalup Resort with joint winners announced in a tight fairest and best count that saw precious little separate the top-four players.

Very few honours in football are valued more highly than winning the fairest and best award for your club in a premiership year, and now damaging half-back Andrew Strijk and prolific midfielder Shane Nelson have been honoured as joint Breckler Medallists for the West Perth Football Club in 2013.

It is the first time that both players have won a Breckler Medal and Strijk across half-back and Nelson through the middle were both pivotal in the Falcons finishing the home and away season in second spot, beating Claremont to make the grand final and then beating East Perth to claim the 2013 premiership.

Strijk and Nelson both finished on 125 votes just ahead of Matt Guadagnin (123), Aaron Black (117), Marc Crisp (114), Jordan Jones (111), Jay van Berlo (110), Steven Browne (105), Chris Keunen (103) and Dan Hunt (102).

Strijk has now played 133 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.

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

The 26-year-old also played for WA in the state game win over Victoria and his consistency in providing run and drive out of defence, not to mention his outstanding kicking sees him as a deserved premiership Breckler Medal winner.

Nelson might have only played 15 league games coming into the 2013 season, but had shown terrific signs as an emerging midfielder last year and took 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.

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

Then of course there was his 36 possessions and 13 clearances in the grand final win over East Perth before he now has a Breckler Medal around his neck after just 37 league matches.

It was that grand final effort that got Nelson the share of the Breckler Medal when he received 12 votes for that game. He went into the grand final five behind Strijk, and Strijk still received a strong seven for his efforts, but Nelson's brilliant grand final put him up even with his teammate.

Strijk and Nelson couldn’t be separated in the voting for the Breckler Medal in what is just the second time in history that the fairest and best award has been shared at West Perth.

Remarkably the only other time it has happened since a fairest and best award was first presented in 1923 was when Terence (Checker) O'Keefe and Jack Pola split the award in the premiership year of 1941.

The major reason why West Perth won the 2013 premiership was because of the evenness of the side across all 22 players that lined up any given week, and across the field and that was recognised in the Breckler Medal voting.

Not only were Strijk and Nelson joint winners, but 162-game veteran midfielder Matt Guadagnin was just behind to be runner-up and again the 29-year-old came so close once again to a Breckler Medal.

However, his consistent finishes high-up in the count over the past decade shows just how valuable a member of the Falcons he has been and why he is such a deserved premiership player now.

Twenty-year-old wingman Aaron Black finished third as he was recognised for his outstanding season that including him being West Perth's highest vote winner in the Sandover Medal, representing Western Australia in the win over Victoria and of course then becoming a premiership player.

Fourth was Marc Crisp and his is a terrific story in its own right.

The 26-year-old had managed only 31 league games for West Perth since making his debut in 2008 prior to the start of this year, but cemented himself as a key member of the forward-line both in terms of kicking goals and putting on strong defensive pressure.

He then kicked four goals in the second semi-final win over Claremont and two in the grand final to cap off a terrific season. Crisp also received the Coach's Award from Bill Monaghan.

Young key position player Nick Rodda was also acknowledged for his season that ended in the premiership receiving the Santana Electrical Rising Star Award.

Jordan Jones made no secret that he came to West Perth to be part of team success ahead of the 2012 season once his time in the AFL with the West Coast Eagles ended, and he got the premiership in 2013 and was presented with the Carbone/De Vita Award.

Premiership defenders Luke Tedesco and Steven Browne were also presented with the City of Joondalup Best Clubman and Wayne Dayman Courage Awards respectively while the Townshend Financial Solutions Sacrificial Act Award went to Kody Manning.

The West Perth reserves team put in a terrific showing to make the grand final in 2013 and Swan Districts recruit James Embley won the Roy Ennis Medal as the fairest and best winner ahead of Jack Thrum and Frank Stockley.

LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS

Breckler Medal (Fairest and Best): Andrew Strijk, Shane Nelson

Runner-up Fairest and Best: Matt Guadagnin

Ken Ashdown Memorial Award (Third Fairest and Best): Aaron Black

Past Players Award (Fourth Fairest and Best): Marc Crisp

Santana Electrical Rising Star Award: Nick Rodda

Carbone/De Vita Award: Jordan Jones

League Coach's Award: Marc Crisp

City of Joondalup Best Clubman Award: Luke Tedesco

Wayne Dayman Courage Award: Steven Browne

Ray Scott Memorial Award (Leading Goalkicker): Marc Crisp, Josh Mellington

Townshend Financial Solutions Sacrificial Act Award: Kody Manning

 

RESERVES AWARD WINNERS

Roy Ennis Medal (Fairest and Best): James Embley

Runner-up Fairest and Best: Jack Thrum

Past Players Award (Third Fairest and Best): Frank Stockley

Reserves Coach's Award: Luke Meadows

BY CHRIS PIKE

FALCONS BIG MEN STAND TALL AGAINST THE ODDS

Monday, September 30, 2013 - 1:21 PM

WEST Perth entered the 2013 WAFL grand final having to hear all the talk surrounding East Perth's potential dominance in the big men department, but Chris Keunen, Dan Hunt, Shaun Marusic and Nick Rodda all played as big a part in the premiership win as anyone.

Much of the talk heading into the 2013 grand final was surrounding the potential dominance of East Perth's big men – ruckman Paul Johnson, full-forward Josh Smith and ruck/forward Scott Lycett.
With Michael Pettigrew also ruled out of the game for West Perth with his hamstring injury, it meant that both Hunt and Marusic had to stand tall in defence with Keunen going up virtually alone in the ruck against two quality big men and then Rodda had to stand tall as the main target in attack.
While West Perth's midfielders Shane Nelson and Mark Hutchings, and half-forward Rohan Kerr might have received the main accolades for their performances in leading the Falcons to their first WAFL premiership since 2003, it couldn’t have happened without those big men.
In the end, 151-game veteran defender Hunt did well on the Bernie Naylor Medallist Smith holding him to two goals in the first quarter and five minutes from just five kicks.
Marusic, in his first season with West Perth after crossing from Frankston in the VFL, had the job to play on either Lycett or Johnson when they were playing forward, and did well to limit their influence.
Up forward, 19-year-old key position player Rodda was the main tall target and played his role finishing with two goals from nine possessions and five marks.
And then there was 130-game ruckman Keunen who had the biggest job of all on grand final day up against both Johnson and Lycett.
The X-year-old did an outstanding job with 13 possessions and 31 hit outs himself and even though Johnson and Lycett had plenty of hit outs, Johnson only had 10 disposals and Lycett had just the eight.
West Perth Bill Monaghan was full of praise afterwards for the efforts of his big men.
"They might have had a perceived advantage with their talls and the weather negated that a bit, but our three big men Keunen, Hunt and Marusic all did a good job, and then Rodda played his cameo when he needed to," Monaghan said.
"I thought we really matched them in the big men department and we felt our ability to run, and move the ball quick at times would get them in the end."
West Perth captain Jason Salecic never doubted that the Falcons big men could take up the challenge against the Royal opponents, and acknowledged afterwards the crucial role they played in the premiership win.
"Shaun played in the VFL last year and he made the Team of the Year so he's always had that ability since coming here even though he's still a young kid," Salecic said.
"He's proven throughout the year that he can do jobs like that for us and Keuns was sensational, and so was Dan. Dan always does the job for us and so does Keuns even though they don’t get a lot of recognition, but they both played their roles and that's the result we get because of their efforts."
Veteran Falcons midfielder Matt Guadagnin always had the faith that Keunen could get the job done as well.
"To be honest, we thought Keuns has done the job all year against Johnson," Guadagnin said.
"We know Johnno is an unbelievable ruckman and the best big man in the comp, but Keuns is our most important player. He did his role in the grand final and that allowed all of us to do our role, so he was a crucial part of our win."
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth entered the 2013 WAFL grand final having to hear all the talk surrounding East Perth's potential dominance in the big men department, but Chris Keunen, Dan Hunt, Shaun Marusic and Nick Rodda all played as big a part in the premiership win as anyone.

Much of the talk heading into the 2013 grand final was surrounding the potential dominance of East Perth's big men – ruckman Paul Johnson, full-forward Josh Smith and ruck/forward Scott Lycett.

With Michael Pettigrew also ruled out of the game for West Perth with his hamstring injury, it meant that both Hunt and Marusic had to stand tall in defence with Keunen going up virtually alone in the ruck against two quality big men and then Rodda had to stand tall as the main target in attack.

While West Perth's midfielders Shane Nelson and Mark Hutchings, and half-forward Rohan Kerr might have received the main accolades for their performances in leading the Falcons to their first WAFL premiership since 2003, it couldn’t have happened without those big men.

In the end, 151-game veteran defender Hunt did well on the Bernie Naylor Medallist Smith holding him to two goals in the first quarter and five minutes from just five kicks.

Marusic, in his first season with West Perth after crossing from Frankston in the VFL, had the job to play on either Lycett or Johnson when they were playing forward, and did well to limit their influence.

Up forward, 19-year-old key position player Rodda was the main tall target and played his role finishing with two goals from nine possessions and five marks.

And then there was 130-game ruckman Keunen who had the biggest job of all on grand final day up against both Johnson and Lycett.

The 29-year-old did an outstanding job with 13 possessions and 31 hit outs himself and even though Johnson and Lycett had plenty of hit outs, Johnson only had 10 disposals and Lycett had just the eight.

West Perth Bill Monaghan was full of praise afterwards for the efforts of his big men.

"They might have had a perceived advantage with their talls and the weather negated that a bit, but our three big men Keunen, Hunt and Marusic all did a good job, and then Rodda played his cameo when he needed to," Monaghan said.

"I thought we really matched them in the big men department and we felt our ability to run, and move the ball quick at times would get them in the end."

West Perth captain Jason Salecic never doubted that the Falcons big men could take up the challenge against the Royal opponents, and acknowledged afterwards the crucial role they played in the premiership win.

"Shaun played in the VFL last year and he made the Team of the Year so he's always had that ability since coming here even though he's still a young kid," Salecic said.

"He's proven throughout the year that he can do jobs like that for us and Keuns was sensational, and so was Dan. Dan always does the job for us and so does Keuns even though they don’t get a lot of recognition, but they both played their roles and that's the result we get because of their efforts."

Veteran Falcons midfielder Matt Guadagnin always had the faith that Keunen could get the job done as well.

"To be honest, we thought Keuns has done the job all year against Johnson," Guadagnin said.

"We know Johnno is an unbelievable ruckman and the best big man in the comp, but Keuns is our most important player. He did his role in the grand final and that allowed all of us to do our role, so he was a crucial part of our win."

BY CHRIS PIKE

NELSON AND BLACK SHINE ON GRAND FINAL STAGE

Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 2:07 PM

WEST Perth youngsters Shane Nelson and Aaron Black have answered every challenge the last two years leading up to starring in the 2013 grand final and their teammates and coach hope it can now lead them onto the next level.

Twenty-year-old midfielder Nelson had a breakout 2012 season and consolidated and built on that with an outstanding and consistent 2013, and then put together one of the very best grand finals from a youngster in the win over East Perth.
He was perhaps unlucky to be just edged out for the Simpson Medal by fellow midfielder Mark Hutchings after being simply brilliant with the conditions allowing him to showcase his ability to win the ball in close and feed it out to his running midfielders, and to dominate at the stoppages.
He finished the grand final with a team-high 36 possessions and an incredible 13 clearances of which seven came from centre bounces.
He also drove the ball inside-50 on six occasions and kicked a terrific goal from outside 50 with the advantage of the wind at the 31-minute mark of the final quarter with the Falcons in full celebration mode. 
West Perth coach Bill Monaghan has no doubt that with Nelson's ball winning ability, hard work and dedication to improve, that he will receive an opportunity from an AFL before too long.
"He is an outstanding player. Whilst there are always people who think there are areas that he can improve in, for him to do that in the big stage of a grand final against mature bodies in conditions that probably don't necessarily suit his physique, he is an absolute ripper," Monaghan said.
"We think that his weight of numbers will eventually get an AFL club to say they have to pick him up whether that's this year, next year or in five years time. You can't underestimate 36 touches in a grand final.
"People find fault in some of the touches he has, but some of his work inside and the cleanness of his hands, and his ability to get himself out of traffic is outstanding.
"All he can do is keep doing what he does well and hopefully Shane will be keen to keep improving on the areas he needs to brush up on, and that's our job to help him through that. He's a kid who will continue to improve."
Black is also just 20 years of age having already now played 63 league games already for West Perth and now can call himself a premiership player before his 21st birthday on Christmas Day later this year.
Black had an outstanding 2013 season which saw him also represent Western Australia in the state game win over Victoria in Northam, and he had another outstanding game in the grand final.
He finished the grand final with 23 possessions and four clearances as he continues to build his reputation as one of the very best emerging talents in the WAFL.
Jason Salecic is now a dual premiership player with West Perth and a premiership captain, and he was especially happy to see Black perform well on the big stage, and has no doubt that he and Nelson both deserve an opportunity in the AFL.
"These young blokes have come up through our colts and I've had a lot to do with Blacky, and I'm happy for him and hopefully he can go on further," Salecic said.
"The same with Nelly and whenever they've been challenged they stand up and they showed again in the grand final how good they are. I hope they get an opportunity at a higher level because they are high quality players to start with, and high quality people to go with that."
West Perth midfielder Matt Guadagnin became one of the most heart-warming stories of grand final day winning a premiership in his 162nd game for the Falcons, and he was delighted to share it with youngsters like not only Nelson and Black, but also Kody Manning and Nick Rodda.
"He (Nelson) was unbelievable and he's been great the whole year as have our other young players like Blacky, Kody and Rodds," Guadagnin said.
"That's why we've been such a good team because everyone has played their role no matter if they are in their first or 12th year. Everyone has done what they have needed to do and that's why we are a premiership side."
Luke Tedesco also played his 105th match in the grand final with the tough defender getting himself right to go after overcoming a calf injury, and he can't help but admire the work of Black and Nelson and the results of that dedication are of no surprise to him.
"Those two guys have got an amazing amount of talent, but they are also such hard workers," Tedesco said.
"It really is a reward for effort for those two boys as well and I hope there is bigger things to come for them as well."
Jordan Jones has been another crucial addition to West Perth over the past 18 months helping the Falcons become a premiership team.
He spent three years on an AFL list with West Coast and played two matches with the Eagles so he knows what it takes to get to the next level, and with the year he's had in 2013 he might still get drafted again, but he can't help but marvel at the efforts of Nelson as well.
"He is a great young kid and he's only going to keep getting better and better, so that's pretty scary," Jones said.
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth youngsters Shane Nelson and Aaron Black have answered every challenge the last two years leading up to starring in the 2013 grand final and their teammates and coach hope it can now lead them onto the next level.

Twenty-year-old midfielder Nelson had a breakout 2012 season and consolidated and built on that with an outstanding and consistent 2013, and then put together one of the very best grand finals from a youngster in the win over East Perth.

He was perhaps unlucky to be just edged out for the Simpson Medal by fellow midfielder Mark Hutchings after being simply brilliant with the conditions allowing him to showcase his ability to win the ball in close and feed it out to his running midfielders, and to dominate at the stoppages.

He finished the grand final with a team-high 36 possessions and an incredible 13 clearances of which seven came from centre bounces.

He also drove the ball inside-50 on six occasions and kicked a terrific goal from outside 50 with the advantage of the wind at the 31-minute mark of the final quarter with the Falcons in full celebration mode. 

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan has no doubt that with Nelson's ball winning ability, hard work and dedication to improve, that he will receive an opportunity from an AFL before too long.

"He is an outstanding player. Whilst there are always people who think there are areas that he can improve in, for him to do that in the big stage of a grand final against mature bodies in conditions that probably don't necessarily suit his physique, he is an absolute ripper," Monaghan said.

"We think that his weight of numbers will eventually get an AFL club to say they have to pick him up whether that's this year, next year or in five years time. You can't underestimate 36 touches in a grand final.

"People find fault in some of the touches he has, but some of his work inside and the cleanness of his hands, and his ability to get himself out of traffic is outstanding.

"All he can do is keep doing what he does well and hopefully Shane will be keen to keep improving on the areas he needs to brush up on, and that's our job to help him through that. He's a kid who will continue to improve."

Black is also just 20 years of age having already now played 63 league games already for West Perth and now can call himself a premiership player before his 21st birthday on Christmas Day later this year.

Black had an outstanding 2013 season which saw him also represent Western Australia in the state game win over Victoria in Northam, and he had another outstanding game in the grand final.

He finished the grand final with 23 possessions and four clearances as he continues to build his reputation as one of the very best emerging talents in the WAFL.

Jason Salecic is now a dual premiership player with West Perth and a premiership captain, and he was especially happy to see Black perform well on the big stage, and has no doubt that he and Nelson both deserve an opportunity in the AFL.

"These young blokes have come up through our colts and I've had a lot to do with Blacky, and I'm happy for him and hopefully he can go on further," Salecic said.

"The same with Nelly and whenever they've been challenged they stand up and they showed again in the grand final how good they are. I hope they get an opportunity at a higher level because they are high quality players to start with, and high quality people to go with that."

West Perth midfielder Matt Guadagnin became one of the most heart-warming stories of grand final day winning a premiership in his 162nd game for the Falcons, and he was delighted to share it with youngsters like not only Nelson and Black, but also Kody Manning and Nick Rodda.

"He (Nelson) was unbelievable and he's been great the whole year as have our other young players like Blacky, Kody and Rodds," Guadagnin said.

"That's why we've been such a good team because everyone has played their role no matter if they are in their first or 12th year. Everyone has done what they have needed to do and that's why we are a premiership side."

Luke Tedesco also played his 105th match in the grand final with the tough defender getting himself right to go after overcoming a calf injury, and he can't help but admire the work of Black and Nelson and the results of that dedication are of no surprise to him.

"Those two guys have got an amazing amount of talent, but they are also such hard workers," Tedesco said.

"It really is a reward for effort for those two boys as well and I hope there is bigger things to come for them as well."

Jordan Jones has been another crucial addition to West Perth over the past 18 months helping the Falcons become a premiership team.

He spent three years on an AFL list with West Coast and played two matches with the Eagles so he knows what it takes to get to the next level, and with the year he's had in 2013 he might still get drafted again, but he can't help but marvel at the efforts of Nelson as well.

"He is a great young kid and he's only going to keep getting better and better, so that's pretty scary," Jones said.

BY CHRIS PIKE

IT’S A GRAND OLD FLAG NUMBER 19

Friday, September 27, 2013 - 5:26 PM

THE Falcons showed that they were the best team in 2013 when they scored a resounding 49-point victory against the Royals at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

There was a degree of confidence in the West Perth camp going into the match despite the predictions of tipsters and the self belief was evident from the first bounce. The Falcons were in front for the great majority of the game and supporters were able to sit back and relax as they ran away with it late in the final quarter.

The conditions were wet and blustery for the whole game and as a result both teams were hard at it. The first goal of the game went to Rohan Kerr who marked and finished from 40 right on the boundary. He is a great finisher and it was the first of five for the game. Scott Lycett evened it up for East Perth shortly after but the Falcons controlled the next 15 minutes and kicked three unanswered goals. The first was the result of another great finish 50 out on the boundary. This time it was Josh Mellington who steered it through. Rohan Kerr followed up with his second and when Mark Hutchings roved the ball from a throw in and kicked his first the lead was out to 18 after 22 minutes. It was then East Perth’s turn to control the play and they piled on the last four goals of the quarter to take a six-point lead into the first change. The majors went to Paul Johnson, Josh Smith and Matthew Seal kicked two. All of the quarters ran well over 30 minutes and the first was no exception. East Perth led 5.2 (32) to 4.2 (26).

At the four-minute mark Josh Smith kicked his second and final goal for the game giving the Royals five unanswered goals. For the great majority of the game he was well held by the West Perth defence. The lead was now 13 and Falcons supporters were becoming a little concerned but as they have done all year West Perth responded. A second to Hutchings, a precise finish by Steven Potente and a second to Mellington saw them grab a five point lead after 12 minutes. The teams traded goals with Michael Swan grabbing the lead back for the Royals before the skipper, Jason Salecic, applied tremendous forward line pressure to regain the lead before a free to Craig Wulff saw him put East Perth’s nose back in front. In a fluctuating term Kerr kicked his third with another terrific finish. The ball came straight out of the middle and Marc Crisp, who has turned into an important small forward, scored from 40 to give West Perth an 11-point half time lead. The tight contest had continued and at the main break the Falcons led 10.3 (63) to 8.4 (52).

 

The third quarter was more of the same as both teams battled to get on top. They scored three goals four apiece and enjoyed patches of superiority during the quarter. By the eight-minute mark East Perth had wrestled back the lead after goals to Jamie Cripps and a second to Lycett. The turning point of the game came at the 12-minute mark when West Perth had been given a free and 50 metres against them. This would have put East Perth well inside 50 and given them a huge opportunity to extend their three-point lead. Some push and shove occurred and the result was a reversal of the previous decision. The consequence was a Shane Nelson pass to Hutchings who kicked his third to give the Falcons back the lead that they didn’t relinquish for the rest of the game. A second to 'Chippa' followed but for the next 13 minutes the teams traded behinds before Matt Fowler marked 50 out, where the boundary and 50 metre arc intersected. His wonderful finish took the Falcons lead out to 17 but not to be outdone Cripps kicked his second to ensure that the third quarter was a tie leaving West Perth with their 11-point half time advantage. Scores were 13.7 (85) to 11.8 (74).

It was fair to say that the game was still up for grabs going into the last quarter. A long 50 metre goal to Kody Manning saw the lead extended before Cripps kicked his third to restore the status quo but from here it was all West Perth as they kicked the last six majors of the match. Nick Rodda marked 20 out and converted and the lead was out to twenty two when a long Manning kicked was marked by Kerr who kicked his fourth. This knocked the wind out of the sails of the Royals and the Falcons took control to kick four quick goals. Fowler kicked his second, Kerr scored his fifth from the boundary, Nelson added his name to the goal kickers list and Rodda finished the game with his second. It was great to see a relaxed and smiling West Perth bench during the last 10 minutes of the game. At the final siren West Perth had won their 19th flag with a 20.1 (131) to 12.10 (82) victory.

 

It is hard to over look the contribution of the Simpson Medallist, Hutchings, who was outstanding in his final game for the Falcons before heading off as a result of the AFL alignment. Nelson once again showed that he has what it takes to go to the next level and Kerr put the icing on the cake with his five goals. Chris Keunen held his own all day in the ruck and Dan Hunt led a tenacious backline. All players made a meaningful contribution on Sunday and the victory wouldn’t have been possible if everyone didn’t play their role. The victory has been the culmination of a lot of effort from a lot of people. Congratulations to the entire playing group and coaching staff. The board and administration have done a wonderful job to keep this playing group together and stand by their convictions in relation to choosing the best people for the job. Members and supporters should not underestimate their role as they make the club worth playing for. See you next year.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY