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

RESERVES BRAVE BUT NOT VICTORIOUS

Friday, September 27, 2013 - 2:14 PM

A TERRIFIC season by West Perth's reserves wasn’t rewarded with a premiership on Sunday but there was a lot to like about the efforts that got them there.

The side is the second youngest in the WAFL reserves competition and their effort to reach the grand final was outstanding. At the end of the day the bigger bodies and greater experience of the Bulldogs was too much to overcome and they lost by 36 points. As a result they weren’t the first West Perth reserves side since 1960 to win a flag but there is no doubt that the pressure they put on the league side for places was a contributing factor to their well earned victory.

The Bulldogs jumped to the front early and were never headed. It was an even first quarter but South Fremantle made best use of the conditions to lead by two goals at the first change. The two goal scorers for the Falcons were Corey Chalmers and Drew Rohde. Both have shown that they are part of a band of young players who will be pushing for league selection next year. The Bulldogs looked likely to run away with the game at different times but the young Falcons hung tough. Quarter time scores were South Fremantle 4.2 (26) to West Perth 2.2 (14).

The second quarter was probably the key one of the game. The Falcons attacked regularly but were only able to kick 2.6 as opposed to the Bulldogs five straight. At one stage West Perth kicked four behinds in five minutes but they could not find the big opening. Matt Johnson showed his class with a great run and carry goal while the other goal scorer was Ben O’Regan who finished on the run from 50. The job was in front of the Falcons as they trailed 9.2 (56) to 4.8 (32) at the main break.

The game really opened up in the third quarter but unfortunately for the Falcons the Bulldogs were the first to hit the scoreboard. Simon Panizza kicked his second to put Souths 30 in front. West Perth then came back strongly and narrowed the gap to 11 by the 16-minute mark. Kris Shannon finished from 50, Joel Latham marked 30 out and kicked accurately and then Ben McNamara snapped a beauty. Unfortunately West Perth were unable to sustain the challenge as the Bulldogs piled on four goals in quick time to take the lead out to 36. The Falcons finished the term best kicking another two while the Bulldogs added one but after a term of good footy South Fremantle had actually increased their lead to 30 to safely have the game in hand. They led 15.3 (93) to 9.9 (63).

West Perth continued to press hard but the accurate kicking of South Fremantle helped to set up the victory. During the course of the term Chalmers, Brayden Antonio and the skipper Cameron Branch, added to their goal tallies but it wasn’t enough to close the gap and South Fremantle ran out 36-point victors; 19.6 (120) to 12.12 (84). The scoring shots were even all day but the better finishing gave the Bulldogs the edge.

 

It was a wonderful season for the playing group who after seven rounds were looking at the wooden spoon. Paul Sanzone and his coaching team helped the group to come together and play a very good second half of the season. The team contains a number of players who have been exposed to ;eague football or are capable of playing it. Despite the result there is a lot to look forward to.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

WEST PERTH GRAND FINAL PLAYER RATINGS

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 7:55 PM

WEST Perth beat East Perth by 49 points in Sunday's WAFL grand final to claim the Falcons' first premiership since 2003 and all 22 players made a strong contribution in the premiership triumph.

1. Aaron Black - 7
The 20-year-old has 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.
Spending most of his time on the wing, Black has 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.
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.
2. Jason Salecic - 6
The skipper was the only player in the West Perth team to have played in a WAFL grand final previously having been there for the 2002 loss to East Perth and the 2003 triumph over Subiaco.
It has been a long 10 years until this year's grand final, but Salecic now is a dual premiership player and a premiership captain as the 213-game, Breckler Medal winning captain's reputation as an all-time great of the West Perth Football Club continues to grow.
The 29-year-old played most of the grand final across half-forward and was closely minded by East Perth's Ryan Maldenis, but he still contributed 13 possessions, five tackles, three inside-50 entries and a goal midway through the third quarter.
3. Andrew Strijk - 6
The 25-year-old was playing his 133rd game in his first grand final and put in a brave showing to be a strong contributor for the Falcons across the half-back line.
He hurt his shoulder in the first half, but fought through that pain to continue to play a physical style of football and was even still able to spoil and mark above his head despite his shoulder complaint.
Finished with 16 possessions, five marks, three inside-50 entries and three rebounds from the defensive 50.
4. Rohan Kerr - 9
Arrived at West Perth at the start of 2013 after three years listed with Carlton without breaking through for an AFL game, and quickly established himself as one of the most damaging wingmen/half forwards in the competition.
Showed all of his finishing capabilities with a superb grand final ending up booting a game-high five goals from 19 possessions and six marks to be one of the very best players on the ground.
His first goal was the opening major of the game when he kicked a beauty from deep in the forward pocket before he added a second at the 15-minute of the first quarter, his third just before half-time, fourth at the 15-minute mark of the last quarter and then fifth at the 30-minute mark.
5. Jordan Jones - 6
The former West Coast and Peel Thunder versatile utility is now a premiership player after two years with West Perth and the 23-year-old had a superb 2013 season, and a rock solid grand final in defence.
He struggled to find his best position in 2012 in his first year off the Eagles list, but settled into a role in defence during the 2013 season and shone whether playing on small or tall forwards from the opposition, and whether asked to play lockdown roles or to be the general to set up play from defence.
Had another solid performance in the grand final with 14 possessions, four marks, two inside-50 entries and four rebounds from the defensive 50.
6. Marc Crisp – 6.5
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.
That saw him have a massive say in West Perth making the grand final when he kicked four goals in the second semi-final win over Claremont at Claremont Oval.
The 26-year-old added another two goals in the grand final when he kicked his first just before half-time and then second at the 12-minute mark of the third term to put West Perth back out to a nine-point lead.
He also had 15 possessions, six marks and three inside-50 entries to go with his two goals.
7. Steven Browne - 6
The hard-as-nails half-back has been as consistent as anyone in the West Perth line-up since he returned to the Falcons in 2011 after 23 AFL games with Carlton in three years, and finished off with a strong showing in his first grand final.
His physicality, tackling ability and refusal to be beaten in a contest continues to lead the way for the Falcons and that made him a natural match-up for East Perth co-captain Craig Wulff early in the grand final.
He had several different opponents throughout the day and continued to be a crucial member of the West Perth defence finishing with 12 possessions and five rebounds out of the defensive 50.
8. Mark Hutchings – 9.5
The 22-year-old starred in all 11 of his home and away season games with West Perth in 2013 when not playing with the Eagles, put in a strong showing in the second semi-final win over Claremont and then was simply brilliant in the grand final victory over East Perth.
He finished with the Simpson Medal after being judged best afield for his performance that saw him collect 29 possessions, win eight clearances, take five marks, lay five tackles, drive the ball inside-50 on three occasions and kick three crucial goals.
He thought he had four goals as well before the umpires reversed a decision in the second quarter that was initially paid a goal when they determined it had been touched off his boot.
The Hutchings story saw him initially drafted to St Kilda from East Perth but after just one year with the Saints he was delisted and returned to the WAFL and signed with West Perth.
He had an outstanding two seasons ending up with West Coast rookie-listing him for 2013 and now, when not playing with the Eagles in 2014 he will be back at East Perth because of the alignment.
10. Matt Guadagnin – 8.5
Has built his reputation over the past decade as one of the hardest working, toughest, most consistent and respected West Perth players and now after 162 matches with the Falcons he has played in his first grand final, and is a premiership player.
There has been no more committed West Perth midfielder over the past decade as he continually puts his body on the line for the Falcons, and now he has been rewarded with a premiership and played a tremendous grand final himself.
The 29-year-old finished with 24 possessions, 12 clearances, seven tackles and five inside-50 entries with the conditions making the game a tight and tough affair, and that suited him right down to the ground.
12. Dan Hunt – 7
The veteran defender had to wait until his 150th game with West Perth to play in his first winning final in the second semi-final win over Claremont, and in game No. 151 he played in his first grand final and now is a premiership player.
With Michael Pettigrew ruled out with a hamstring injury, he had the big job on Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith in the grand final and despite Smith booting two goals in the first quarter and four minutes of the game, he did a tremendous job on him all afternoon.
Smith didn’t add another goal and Hunt's performance of shutting him down went a long way to West Perth's eventual victory.
14. Shane Nelson – 9.5
The 20-year-old midfielder had a breakout 2012 season, has consolidated and built on that with an outstanding and consistent year on the ball for the Falcons and then put together one of the very best grand finals from a youngsters in the win over East Perth.
Unlucky to be just edged out for the Simpson Medal by fellow midfielder Mark Hutchings, he was 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.
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. 
17. Matt Fowler - 6
The full-forward from Queensland is now a premiership player with West Perth after two years with the Falcons.
The 21-year-old earned his place in the team thanks to some outstanding goalkicking form in the reserves and he has some very obvious strengths to his game that make him an important cog in the forward-line – the ability to mark on the lead and generally to kick straight.
He finished the grand final with two goals from four kicks and with two of the biggest goal celebrations you are likely to see. He booted his first goal late in the third quarter from a near impossible angle outside the boundary before adding a second during the last term.
18. Jay van Berlo - 8
The now 25-year-old veteran of 79 WAFL games won a Breckler Medal in 2008 before going on to play 32 AFL matches with Fremantle in four years, but has returned to the Falcons full-time in 2013 and been outstanding in the midfield.
Played for WA in the win over Victoria and then made a quicker than expected return from a knee injury late in the season to be able to become a premiership player and a key component of the team that won the grand final.
He finished the grand final with 18 possessions but perhaps more impressively seven clearances to go with four tackles and four inside-50 entries.
19. Chris Keunen - 7
The 130-game experienced ruckman was entrusted with carrying West Perth's ruck duties up against both Paul Johnson and Scott Lycett in Sunday's grand final, and did an outstanding job to end up being a massive reason why the Falcons beat East Perth to claim the 2013 premiership.
He admittedly likes to carry the majority of the ruck load to himself during games where he can showcase his outstanding fitness, and the coaching staff backed him in despite the temptation of selecting Frank Stockley to help him out.
In the end, Keunen was terrific in the grand final up against two men with AFL experience not to mention who both had a height and weight advantage over him.
He ended up with 13 possessions, 31 hit outs, six clearances and four inside-50 entries to be a strong contributor to West Perth's win while also limiting the influence for East Perth of Johnson and Lycett around the ground.
20. Shaun Marusic - 6
After arriving from Frankston in the VFL over the off-season, he didn’t make his league debut for West Perth until Round 12, but once in the side he remained there as an important big man at either end of the ground.
Initially he came into the team to play as a tall forward target and to help back up Keunen in the ruck, but over the last month he has switched to the back-line and done some big jobs and did another one in the grand final.
While he had no kicks and just three handballs himself, he did work hard laying five tackles and most importantly was tremendously defensively on both Scott Lycett and Paul Johnson when they weren’t in the ruck, and he limited their influence almost totally on the game when they were playing as forwards.
21. Laine Rasmussen - 6
The 20-year-old had an outstanding start to the 2013 season as a small defender but he then got hurt and only managed to play three of the last 13 matches in the league side to close the home and away season.
However, he returned in the reserves in Round 24 against Swan Districts and was backed in to play in the league second semi-final against Claremont, and put in a strong showing and held his spot for the grand final and did well limited the influence of East Perth's small forwards, and had four rebounds from the defensive 50 himself.
23. Luke Tedesco – 5.5
The vice-captain had to put in an enormous rehab program to get himself right to play in the finals after tearing his calf in Round 23 against East Fremantle.
He worked tirelessly to get himself right and wasn’t set to go for semi-final weekend, but then did play in West Perth's reserves preliminary final win over Perth and that saw him available for selection in the league grand final.
The coaching staff backed him in as he took the place of the unlucky Trent Manzone, and he more than held his own in the grand final in his 105th match with the Falcons as he became a premiership player.
25. Ray Bartholomew – 5.5
The veteran wingman also had to fight back from a serious calf injury midway through the season but made it back into the West Perth side in Round 19, and now after his 153rd game with the Falcons was his first grand final and he is now a premiership player.
The 28-year-old finished the grand final with 15 possessions, four tackles, two clearances, two inside-50 entries and two rebounds from the defensive 50.
27. Steve Potente - 6
After previously playing 24 games with Swan Districts including two finals in 2009, the 22-year-old was offered a fresh start in 2013 at West Perth as he tried to put his horror injury run behind him.
That didn’t get off to the perfect start with him sidelined early on in the season, but he came in to play two matches in the reserves before coming into the league side for the Falcons in Round 11 and remained there from Round 15 onwards.
He played some outstanding run-with roles in the midfield and was also a strong ball-winner in his own right on the ball, and in the grand final he finished with 15 possessions, five clearances, three inside-50 entries and a clever goal early in the second quarter.
40. Josh Mellington – 6.5
The Fremantle-listed forward has been a regular member of the West Perth team for three seasons now and is a deserved premiership player, and a strong contributor to the team that firstly made the finals, won the second semi-final and then beat Claremont in the second semi-final.
He then was the main target in the forward-line for much of the grand final and contributed strongly with 14 possessions, five inside-50 entries and four goals. He kicked two goals as well but could have had a massive game had it not been for his four behinds.
Mellington will now revert to playing with Peel Thunder in the WAFL in 2014 if he remains on Fremantle's list.
44. Nick Rodda – 5.5
The young big man played three league games in 2012 for the Falcons as a key defender, but has spent the majority of 2013 as the main tall target in the forward-line and despite being just 19 years of age, has held up remarkably well.
After just having played 23 matches, he is now a premiership player and made a solid contribution in the grand final win over East Perth with two goals from nine disposals, five marks, three clearances, three tackles, two inside-50 entries and two hit outs.
47. Kody Manning – 7.5
Has now played 40 league matches with West Perth and built his reputations as one of the hardest players in the competition, and one of the very best tacklers and he only enhanced his reputation on grand final day.
Prior to 2013, he had always played as a defender and given West Perth's strong back-line he might not have held his spot there but he has turned himself into a forward this year with his main job to apply enormous pressure and he has done that outstandingly well.
Had a superb grand final across half-forward finishing with 17 possessions, nine tackles, four clearances, four inside-50 entries and a goal to start off the final quarter to put West Perth up by 17 points.

WEST Perth beat East Perth by 49 points in Sunday's WAFL grand final to claim the Falcons' first premiership since 2003 and all 22 players made a strong contribution in the premiership triumph.

1. Aaron Black - 7

The 20-year-old has 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.

Spending most of his time on the wing, Black has 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.

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.

2. Jason Salecic - 6

The skipper was the only player in the West Perth team to have played in a WAFL grand final previously having been there for the 2002 loss to East Perth and the 2003 triumph over Subiaco.

It has been a long 10 years until this year's grand final, but Salecic now is a dual premiership player and a premiership captain as the 213-game, Breckler Medal winning captain's reputation as an all-time great of the West Perth Football Club continues to grow.

The 29-year-old played most of the grand final across half-forward and was closely minded by East Perth's Ryan Maldenis, but he still contributed 13 possessions, five tackles, three inside-50 entries and a goal midway through the third quarter.

3. Andrew Strijk - 6.5

The 25-year-old was playing his 133rd game in his first grand final and put in a brave showing to be a strong contributor for the Falcons across the half-back line.

He hurt his shoulder in the first half, but fought through that pain to continue to play a physical style of football and was even still able to spoil and mark above his head despite his shoulder complaint.

Finished with 16 possessions, five marks, three inside-50 entries and three rebounds from the defensive 50.

4. Rohan Kerr - 9

Arrived at West Perth at the start of 2013 after three years listed with Carlton without breaking through for an AFL game, and quickly established himself as one of the most damaging wingmen/half forwards in the competition.

Showed all of his finishing capabilities with a superb grand final ending up booting a game-high five goals from 19 possessions and six marks to be one of the very best players on the ground.

His first goal was the opening major of the game when he kicked a beauty from deep in the forward pocket before he added a second at the 15-minute of the first quarter, his third just before half-time, fourth at the 15-minute mark of the last quarter and then fifth at the 30-minute mark.

5. Jordan Jones - 6

The former West Coast and Peel Thunder versatile utility is now a premiership player after two years with West Perth and the 23-year-old had a superb 2013 season, and a rock solid grand final in defence.

He struggled to find his best position in 2012 in his first year off the Eagles list, but settled into a role in defence during the 2013 season and shone whether playing on small or tall forwards from the opposition, and whether asked to play lockdown roles or to be the general to set up play from defence.

Had another solid performance in the grand final with 14 possessions, four marks, two inside-50 entries and four rebounds from the defensive 50.

6. Marc Crisp – 7

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.

That saw him have a massive say in West Perth making the grand final when he kicked four goals in the second semi-final win over Claremont at Claremont Oval.

The 26-year-old added another two goals in the grand final when he kicked his first just before half-time and then second at the 12-minute mark of the third term to put West Perth back out to a nine-point lead.

He also had 15 possessions, six marks and three inside-50 entries to go with his two goals.

7. Steven Browne - 6.5

The hard-as-nails half-back has been as consistent as anyone in the West Perth line-up since he returned to the Falcons in 2011 after 23 AFL games with Carlton in three years, and finished off with a strong showing in his first grand final.

His physicality, tackling ability and refusal to be beaten in a contest continues to lead the way for the Falcons and that made him a natural match-up for East Perth co-captain Craig Wulff early in the grand final.

He had several different opponents throughout the day and continued to be a crucial member of the West Perth defence finishing with 12 possessions and five rebounds out of the defensive 50.

8. Mark Hutchings – 9.5

The 22-year-old starred in all 11 of his home and away season games with West Perth in 2013 when not playing with the Eagles, put in a strong showing in the second semi-final win over Claremont and then was simply brilliant in the grand final victory over East Perth.

He finished with the Simpson Medal after being judged best afield for his performance that saw him collect 29 possessions, win eight clearances, take five marks, lay five tackles, drive the ball inside-50 on three occasions and kick three crucial goals.

He thought he had four goals as well before the umpires reversed a decision in the second quarter that was initially paid a goal when they determined it had been touched off his boot.

The Hutchings story saw him initially drafted to St Kilda from East Perth but after just one year with the Saints he was delisted and returned to the WAFL and signed with West Perth.

He had an outstanding two seasons ending up with West Coast rookie-listing him for 2013 and now, when not playing with the Eagles in 2014 he will be back at East Perth because of the alignment.

10. Matt Guadagnin – 8.5

Has built his reputation over the past decade as one of the hardest working, toughest, most consistent and respected West Perth players and now after 162 matches with the Falcons he has played in his first grand final, and is a premiership player.

There has been no more committed West Perth midfielder over the past decade as he continually puts his body on the line for the Falcons, and now he has been rewarded with a premiership and played a tremendous grand final himself.

The 29-year-old finished with 24 possessions, 12 clearances, seven tackles and five inside-50 entries with the conditions making the game a tight and tough affair, and that suited him right down to the ground.

12. Dan Hunt – 7

The veteran defender had to wait until his 150th game with West Perth to play in his first winning final in the second semi-final win over Claremont, and in game No. 151 he played in his first grand final and now is a premiership player.

With Michael Pettigrew ruled out with a hamstring injury, he had the big job on Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith in the grand final and despite Smith booting two goals in the first quarter and four minutes of the game, he did a tremendous job on him all afternoon.

Smith didn’t add another goal and Hunt's performance of shutting him down went a long way to West Perth's eventual victory.

14. Shane Nelson – 9.5

The 20-year-old midfielder had a breakout 2012 season, has consolidated and built on that with an outstanding and consistent year on the ball for the Falcons and then put together one of the very best grand finals from a youngster in the win over East Perth.

Unlucky to be just edged out for the Simpson Medal by fellow midfielder Mark Hutchings, he was 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.

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. 

17. Matt Fowler - 6

The full-forward from Queensland is now a premiership player with West Perth after two years with the Falcons.

The 21-year-old earned his place in the team thanks to some outstanding goalkicking form in the reserves and he has some very obvious strengths to his game that make him an important cog in the forward-line – the ability to mark on the lead and generally to kick straight.

He finished the grand final with two goals from four kicks and with two of the biggest goal celebrations you are likely to see. He booted his first goal late in the third quarter from a near impossible angle outside the boundary before adding a second during the last term.

18. Jay van Berlo - 8

The now 25-year-old veteran of 79 WAFL games won a Breckler Medal in 2008 before going on to play 32 AFL matches with Fremantle in four years, but has returned to the Falcons full-time in 2013 and been outstanding in the midfield.

Played for WA in the win over Victoria and then made a quicker than expected return from a knee injury late in the season to be able to become a premiership player and a key component of the team that won the grand final.

He finished the grand final with 18 possessions but perhaps more impressively seven clearances to go with four tackles and four inside-50 entries.

19. Chris Keunen - 7.5

The 130-game experienced ruckman was entrusted with carrying West Perth's ruck duties up against both Paul Johnson and Scott Lycett in Sunday's grand final, and did an outstanding job to end up being a massive reason why the Falcons beat East Perth to claim the 2013 premiership.

He admittedly likes to carry the majority of the ruck load to himself during games where he can showcase his outstanding fitness, and the coaching staff backed him in despite the temptation of selecting Frank Stockley to help him out.

In the end, Keunen was terrific in the grand final up against two men with AFL experience not to mention who both had a height and weight advantage over him.

He ended up with 13 possessions, 31 hit outs, six clearances and four inside-50 entries to be a strong contributor to West Perth's win while also limiting the influence for East Perth of Johnson and Lycett around the ground.

20. Shaun Marusic - 6

After arriving from Frankston in the VFL over the off-season, he didn’t make his league debut for West Perth until Round 12, but once in the side he remained there as an important big man at either end of the ground.

Initially he came into the team to play as a tall forward target and to help back up Keunen in the ruck, but over the last month he has switched to the back-line and done some big jobs and did another one in the grand final.

While he had no kicks and just three handballs himself, he did work hard laying five tackles and most importantly was tremendously defensively on both Scott Lycett and Paul Johnson when they weren’t in the ruck, and he limited their influence almost totally on the game when they were playing as forwards.

21. Laine Rasmussen - 6

The 20-year-old had an outstanding start to the 2013 season as a small defender but he then got hurt and only managed to play three of the last 13 matches in the league side to close the home and away season.

However, he returned in the reserves in Round 24 against Swan Districts and was backed in to play in the league second semi-final against Claremont, and put in a strong showing and held his spot for the grand final and did well limited the influence of East Perth's small forwards, and had four rebounds from the defensive 50 himself.

23. Luke Tedesco – 5.5

The vice-captain had to put in an enormous rehab program to get himself right to play in the finals after tearing his calf in Round 23 against East Fremantle.

He worked tirelessly to get himself right and wasn’t set to go for semi-final weekend, but then did play in West Perth's reserves preliminary final win over Perth and that saw him available for selection in the league grand final.

The coaching staff backed him in as he took the place of the unlucky Trent Manzone, and he more than held his own in the grand final in his 105th match with the Falcons as he became a premiership player.

25. Ray Bartholomew – 5.5

The veteran wingman also had to fight back from a serious calf injury midway through the season but made it back into the West Perth side in Round 19, and now after his 153rd game with the Falcons was his first grand final and he is now a premiership player.

The 28-year-old finished the grand final with 15 possessions, four tackles, two clearances, two inside-50 entries and two rebounds from the defensive 50.

27. Steve Potente - 6

After previously playing 24 games with Swan Districts including two finals in 2009, the 22-year-old was offered a fresh start in 2013 at West Perth as he tried to put his horror injury run behind him.

That didn’t get off to the perfect start with him sidelined early on in the season, but he came in to play two matches in the reserves before coming into the league side for the Falcons in Round 11 and remained there from Round 15 onwards.

He played some outstanding run-with roles in the midfield and was also a strong ball-winner in his own right on the ball, and in the grand final he finished with 15 possessions, five clearances, three inside-50 entries and a clever goal early in the second quarter.

40. Josh Mellington – 6.5

The Fremantle-listed forward has been a regular member of the West Perth team for three seasons now and is a deserved premiership player, and a strong contributor to the team that firstly made the finals, won the second semi-final and then beat Claremont in the second semi-final.

He then was the main target in the forward-line for much of the grand final and contributed strongly with 14 possessions, five inside-50 entries and four goals. He kicked two goals as well but could have had a massive game had it not been for his four behinds.

Mellington will now revert to playing with Peel Thunder in the WAFL in 2014 if he remains on Fremantle's list.

44. Nick Rodda – 5.5

The young big man played three league games in 2012 for the Falcons as a key defender, but has spent the majority of 2013 as the main tall target in the forward-line and despite being just 19 years of age, has held up remarkably well.

After just having played 23 matches, he is now a premiership player and made a solid contribution in the grand final win over East Perth with two goals from nine disposals, five marks, three clearances, three tackles, two inside-50 entries and two hit outs.

47. Kody Manning – 7.5

Has now played 40 league matches with West Perth and built his reputations as one of the hardest players in the competition, and one of the very best tacklers and he only enhanced his reputation on grand final day.

Prior to 2013, he had always played as a defender and given West Perth's strong back-line he might not have held his spot there but he has turned himself into a forward this year with his main job to apply enormous pressure and he has done that outstandingly well.

Had a superb grand final across half-forward finishing with 17 possessions, nine tackles, four clearances, four inside-50 entries and a goal to start off the final quarter to put West Perth up by 17 points.

FALCONS RUN RIOT IN LAST TERM TO WIN 2013 PREMIERSHIP

Sunday, September 22, 2013 - 7:47 PM

WEST Perth had too much left in the tank for East Perth in the 2013 WAFL grand final with the Falcons overpowering the Royals in the final quarter after a tight tussle all day to end up winning by 49 points.

Precious little separated both sides throughout the first three quarters of a ferocious contest made all the more tough and physical because of the wet conditions.
With nine lead changes over the opening three quarters, it appeared that a grandstand finish in the final quarter was in the making, but the last term was all West Perth.
With the advantage of the breeze and clearly being more ferocious, fresher and having plenty more run in their league the Falcons booted seven goals to one in a blistering final quarter to run out 20.11 (131) to 12.10 (82) victors.
The win is West Perth's first premiership since beating Subiaco in 2003, the fourth since moving to Arena Joondalup in 1994 after triumphs previously in 1995, 1999 and 2003 and 19th flag overall in the competition.
West Perth had not won a final since the 2003 grand final before this year and now, after a second semi-final win over the reigning premiers Claremont and now grand final win over their arch-enemy in front of a crowd 20,008, the Falcons are back on top of the WAFL competition.
Captain Jason Salecic was the only West Perth player to have played in a grand final before and now the 213-game veteran is a dual premiership player, and premiership captain.
Mark Hutchings was outstanding for West Perth with 36 possessions, eight clearances and three goals.
Young midfielder Shane Nelson was also brilliant with 36 disposals and a massive 13 clearances while Carlton recruit Rohan Kerr showed what a great pick-up he has been by booting five goals.
Veteran midfielder Matt Guadagnin had 24 touches and 12 clearances with Aaron Black gathering 23 disposals, Jay van Berlo 18 and Kody Manning 17 to go with nine tackles.
Ruckman Chris Keunen fought hard with 13 possessions, 31 hit outs and six clearances up against both Paul Johnson (10 touches, 46 hit outs) and Scott Lycett (eight touches, 36 hit outs, two goals).
Veteran defender Dan Hunt was also outstanding holding Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith to two goals and five kicks.
East Perth only guaranteed itself a finals berth by beating Subiaco in the final round and then downed Swan Districts in the first semi-final and Claremont in the preliminary final to make the grand final, but in the end they ran out of legs against the Falcons in the final quarter.
East Perth was well served by its two co-captains with Brendan Lee leading the way with 37 possessions and 10 clearances while Craig Wulff had 24 disposals and seven clearances.
Adam Selwood worked hard with 32 touches and 10 clearances as well while Aaron Sweet finished with 29 disposals and Blayne Wilson 22 in defence.
Jamie Cripps kicked three goals with Lycett, Mat Seal and Smith adding two apiece.
West Perth skipper Salecic won the toss and decided to kick into the breeze and it paid immediate dividends with the Falcons kicking the first goal of the game just two minutes in after Kerr marked on the lead and kicked truly from the pocket.
Even though East Perth got the next goal through Lycett to tie scores up after eight minutes, the Falcons booted the grand final's next three goals in the space of nine minutes through Josh Mellington, Kerr and then Hutchings after a brilliant bit of roving off his Eagles teammate, but Royals rival Lycett.
West Perth had the momentum at the 22-minute of the first term, but East Perth then kicked the last four goals of the quarter though Johnson, Smith and then two to Seal to suddenly be leading by a goal at the first change.
The Royals then continued that momentum to start the second quarter when Smith booted his second with a clever snap and their lead was out to 13 points, but three goals in six minutes for the Falcons soon saw the lead change again.
West Perth was back in front by five points after Mellington kicked his second of the day after a 50-metre penalty against Lycett.
The lead then continued to see-saw right up until just before half-time when West Perth kicked the last two goals through Kerr and Crisp to lead by 11 points at the main break.
That came after a moment of controversy when a goal was initially paid to Hutchings at the 26-mimute mark that could have put West Perth back in front, but it had been touched off the boot and with the intervening of a boundary umpire the right decision was eventually reached.
The Falcons still led by almost two goals at the main break but the Royals were soon on top again early in the second half thanks to early goals to Eagles pair Cripps and Lycett.
The Royals were then about to have a crack at another goal when Wilson received a 50-metre for a late bump from Salecic, but then the umpires made their mark on the contest.
A bit of push and shove from Cripps with Salecic ended with the Falcons captain falling over hoping to lure a reversal from the umpire, and he got his wish by fooling the man in orange and subsequently Hutchings marked up against the goal post, and kicked his third goal of the game.
That put West Perth back in front by three points and then it was nine when Crisp snapped another just a minute later before full-forward Matt Fowler kicked a beauty from the boundary at the 26-minute mark with the Falcons leading by 15 points.
West Perth missed a couple of gettable shots at one end to stretch the lead further through Steve Potente and Mellington, but East Perth went down the other end with Cripps goal just before three quarter-time to make the margin just 11 points at three quarter-time.
Both sides kicked a goal each in the first three minutes of the final quarter to have things back at an 11-point West Perth lead, but the Falcons finished with the advantage of the breeze and all the run, kicking the grand final's last six goals thanks to Nick Rodda, Kerr, Fowler, Kerr again, Nelson and then Rodda with another to end up winning by 49 points.
WEST PERTH 4.2 10.3 13.7 20.11 (131)
EAST PERTH 5.2 8.4 11.8 12.10 (82)
WEST PERTH – Goals: Kerr 5; Hutchings 3; Rodda, Crisp, Mellington, Fowler 2; Nelson, Manning, Salecic, Potente.
Best: Hutchings, Nelson, Kerr, Guadagnin, Hunt, Manning, Black, van Berlo.
EAST PERTH – Goals: Cripps 3; Lycett, Smith, Seal 2; Wulff, Swan, Johnson.
Best: Lee, Sweet, Wulff, Selwood, Wilson, Anderson.
Simpson Medal: Mark Hutchings (West Perth).
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth had too much left in the tank for East Perth in the 2013 WAFL grand final with the Falcons overpowering the Royals in the final quarter after a tight tussle all day to end up winning by 49 points.

Precious little separated both sides throughout the first three quarters of a ferocious contest made all the more tough and physical because of the wet conditions.

With nine lead changes over the opening three quarters, it appeared that a grandstand finish in the final quarter was in the making, but the last term was all West Perth.

With the advantage of the breeze and clearly being more ferocious, fresher and having plenty more run in their league the Falcons booted seven goals to one in a blistering final quarter to run out 20.11 (131) to 12.10 (82) victors.

The win is West Perth's first premiership since beating Subiaco in 2003, the fourth since moving to Arena Joondalup in 1994 after triumphs previously in 1995, 1999 and 2003 and 19th flag overall in the competition.

West Perth had not won a final since the 2003 grand final before this year and now, after a second semi-final win over the reigning premiers Claremont and now grand final win over their arch-enemy in front of a crowd 20,008, the Falcons are back on top of the WAFL competition.

Captain Jason Salecic was the only West Perth player to have played in a grand final before and now the 213-game veteran is a dual premiership player, and premiership captain.

Mark Hutchings was outstanding for West Perth with 36 possessions, eight clearances and three goals.

Young midfielder Shane Nelson was also brilliant with 36 disposals and a massive 13 clearances while Carlton recruit Rohan Kerr showed what a great pick-up he has been by booting five goals.

Veteran midfielder Matt Guadagnin had 24 touches and 12 clearances with Aaron Black gathering 23 disposals, Jay van Berlo 18 and Kody Manning 17 to go with nine tackles.

Ruckman Chris Keunen fought hard with 13 possessions, 31 hit outs and six clearances up against both Paul Johnson (10 touches, 46 hit outs) and Scott Lycett (eight touches, 36 hit outs, two goals).

Veteran defender Dan Hunt was also outstanding holding Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith to two goals and five kicks.

East Perth only guaranteed itself a finals berth by beating Subiaco in the final round and then downed Swan Districts in the first semi-final and Claremont in the preliminary final to make the grand final, but in the end they ran out of legs against the Falcons in the final quarter.

East Perth was well served by its two co-captains with Brendan Lee leading the way with 37 possessions and 10 clearances while Craig Wulff had 24 disposals and seven clearances.

Adam Selwood worked hard with 32 touches and 10 clearances as well while Aaron Sweet finished with 29 disposals and Blayne Wilson 22 in defence.

Jamie Cripps kicked three goals with Lycett, Mat Seal and Smith adding two apiece.

West Perth skipper Salecic won the toss and decided to kick into the breeze and it paid immediate dividends with the Falcons kicking the first goal of the game just two minutes in after Kerr marked on the lead and kicked truly from the pocket.

Even though East Perth got the next goal through Lycett to tie scores up after eight minutes, the Falcons booted the grand final's next three goals in the space of nine minutes through Josh Mellington, Kerr and then Hutchings after a brilliant bit of roving off his Eagles teammate, but Royals rival Lycett.

West Perth had the momentum at the 22-minute of the first term, but East Perth then kicked the last four goals of the quarter though Johnson, Smith and then two to Seal to suddenly be leading by a goal at the first change.

The Royals then continued that momentum to start the second quarter when Smith booted his second with a clever snap and their lead was out to 13 points, but three goals in six minutes for the Falcons soon saw the lead change again.

West Perth was back in front by five points after Mellington kicked his second of the day after a 50-metre penalty against Lycett.

The lead then continued to see-saw right up until just before half-time when West Perth kicked the last two goals through Kerr and Crisp to lead by 11 points at the main break.

That came after a moment of controversy when a goal was initially paid to Hutchings at the 26-mimute mark that could have put West Perth back in front, but it had been touched off the boot and with the intervening of a boundary umpire the right decision was eventually reached.

The Falcons still led by almost two goals at the main break but the Royals were soon on top again early in the second half thanks to early goals to Eagles pair Cripps and Lycett.

The Royals were then about to have a crack at another goal when Wilson received a 50-metre for a late bump from Salecic, but then the umpires made their mark on the contest.

A bit of push and shove from Cripps with Salecic ended with the Falcons captain falling over hoping to lure a reversal from the umpire, and he got his wish by fooling the man in orange and subsequently Hutchings marked up against the goal post, and kicked his third goal of the game.

That put West Perth back in front by three points and then it was nine when Crisp snapped another just a minute later before full-forward Matt Fowler kicked a beauty from the boundary at the 26-minute mark with the Falcons leading by 15 points.

West Perth missed a couple of gettable shots at one end to stretch the lead further through Steve Potente and Mellington, but East Perth went down the other end with Cripps goal just before three quarter-time to make the margin just 11 points at three quarter-time.

Both sides kicked a goal each in the first three minutes of the final quarter to have things back at an 11-point West Perth lead, but the Falcons finished with the advantage of the breeze and all the run, kicking the grand final's last six goals thanks to Nick Rodda, Kerr, Fowler, Kerr again, Nelson and then Rodda with another to end up winning by 49 points.

WEST PERTH 4.2 10.3 13.7 20.11 (131)

EAST PERTH 5.2 8.4 11.8 12.10 (82)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Kerr 5; Hutchings 3; Rodda, Crisp, Mellington, Fowler 2; Nelson, Manning, Salecic, Potente.

Best: Hutchings, Nelson, Kerr, Guadagnin, Hunt, Manning, Black, van Berlo.

EAST PERTH – Goals: Cripps 3; Lycett, Smith, Seal 2; Wulff, Swan, Johnson.

Best: Lee, Sweet, Wulff, Selwood, Wilson, Anderson.

Simpson Medal: Mark Hutchings (West Perth).

BY CHRIS PIKE

FALCONS' RESERVES FALL SHORT IN GRAND FINAL

Sunday, September 22, 2013 - 5:08 PM

WEST Perth's reserves put in a tremendous effort to make the grand final of 2013 and continued to fight hard but in the end went down to a star-studded South Fremantle team by 36 points.

The Bulldogs qualified for the grand final having beaten minor premier Perth in the second semi-final a fortnight ago and despite the Falcons reserves storming into the decider on a nine-game winning run, South Fremantle was too good in the grand final winning 19.6 (120) to 12.12 (84).
South Fremantle had a strong team in with 17 of the players having played league football previously with the Bulldogs including some regular players in the senior team in the second half of the year like Tim Kelly, Brendan Verrier, James Laurino, Blaine Johnson, Marlon Pickett and Warrick Andreoli.
Then the Bulldogs also had a league premiership player in its midst in the form of Reece Adams, but West Perth was far from lacking talent and had done a tremendous job to win nine straight matches, and come from fourth spot to make the grand final.
Trent Manzone was the unlucky Falcon to miss out on selection in the West Perth league side in the grand final as well later in the day against East Perth with him making way for returning vice-captain Luke Tedesco.
League-experienced and calibre players James Embley, Frank Stockley, Kris Shannon, Brayden Antonio and Matt Johnson also lined up for the Falcons meaning that both sides deserved to head into the grand final thinking they were a good chance to win.
South Fremantle led all day, though, and despite a rally from West Perth closing to within 11 points midway through the third term, but the Bulldogs responded and ended up winning by 36 points.
South Fremantle teenager Blaine Johnson won the Merv McIntosh Medal as best afield after he kicked five goals from eight kicks.
Kaiden Matera also booted four goals for the Bulldogs with Alex Grima adding two, Simon Panizza two and Kingsley Smith two.
Jason Maskos was outstanding running off half-back finishing with 22 possessions, six rebounds from the defensive 50 and four tackles.
Tim Kelly picked up 18 possessions to go with six clearances while captain Tyler Hall gathered 17 disposals, Jarrad Winter 17, Brendan Verrier 16 and Reece Adams 14.
For the second straight week Corey Chalmers had plenty of chances on goal for West Perth but couldn’t kick straight finishing with 2.5 but he still was one of the Falcons' best performers on the day with 20 possessions and four inside-50 entries.
It was Frank Stockley who was West Perth's best, though, with the Prendergast Medallist finishing with a dominant 18 possessions, 38 hit outs, 11 clearances and five inside-50 entries.
James Embley also gathered 19 possessions and had six clearances for West Perth with Trent Manzone finishing with 19 disposals, Ben McNamara 19, Kris Shannon 17 and Brayden Antonio 16.
South Fremantle started the game on fire after having the week off with Smith kicking two early goals and despite Drew Rohde and Chalmers adding majors for the Falcons, the Bulldogs were in control by 12 points at quarter-time.
West Perth made a charge early in the second quarter to close South Fremantle's lead, but the Bulldogs caught fire just before half-time with goals to Panizza, Johnson, Strom and Johnson again to hold a 24-point advantage at the main break.
Three quick goals for West Perth from the seven to the 13-minute mark of the third quarter had the Falcons back to within 11 points all of a sudden, but South Fremantle wouldn’t be denied.
Four goals in three minutes to the Bulldogs from Matera (two), Johnson and Grima blew South Fremantle's lead out to 36 points, and despite the Falcons continuing to fight they never again got closer than 25 points and ended up losing by36. 
WEST PERTH 2.2 4.8 9.9 12.12 (84)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.2 9.2 15.3 19.6 (120)
WEST PERTH – Goals: Chalmers, Rohde 2; McNamara, Shannon, Latham, Branch, Morrow, Johnson, Antonio, O'Regan.
Best: Stockley, Embley, Manzone, Branch, Chalmers, McNamara.
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Johnson 5; Matera 4; Grima, Panizza, Smith 2; Kelly, Verrier, Strom, Parry.
Best: Johnson, Grima, Maskos, Kelly, Hall, Matera, Verrier, Winter. 
Merv McIntosh Medal: Blaine Johnson (South Fremantle).
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth's reserves put in a tremendous effort to make the grand final of 2013 and continued to fight hard but in the end went down to a star-studded South Fremantle team by 36 points.

The Bulldogs qualified for the grand final having beaten minor premier Perth in the second semi-final a fortnight ago and despite the Falcons reserves storming into the decider on a nine-game winning run, South Fremantle was too good in the grand final winning 19.6 (120) to 12.12 (84).

South Fremantle had a strong team in with 17 of the players having played league football previously with the Bulldogs including some regular players in the senior team in the second half of the year like Tim Kelly, Brendan Verrier, James Laurino, Blaine Johnson, Marlon Pickett and Warrick Andreoli.

Then the Bulldogs also had a league premiership player in its midst in the form of Reece Adams, but West Perth was far from lacking talent and had done a tremendous job to win nine straight matches, and come from fourth spot to make the grand final.

Trent Manzone was the unlucky Falcon to miss out on selection in the West Perth league side in the grand final as well later in the day against East Perth with him making way for returning vice-captain Luke Tedesco.

League-experienced and calibre players James Embley, Frank Stockley, Kris Shannon, Brayden Antonio and Matt Johnson also lined up for the Falcons meaning that both sides deserved to head into the grand final thinking they were a good chance to win.

South Fremantle led all day, though, and despite a rally from West Perth closing to within 11 points midway through the third term, but the Bulldogs responded and ended up winning by 36 points.

South Fremantle teenager Blaine Johnson won the Merv McIntosh Medal as best afield after he kicked five goals from eight kicks.

Kaiden Matera also booted four goals for the Bulldogs with Alex Grima adding two, Simon Panizza two and Kingsley Smith two.

Jason Maskos was outstanding running off half-back finishing with 22 possessions, six rebounds from the defensive 50 and four tackles.

Tim Kelly picked up 18 possessions to go with six clearances while captain Tyler Hall gathered 17 disposals, Jarrad Winter 17, Brendan Verrier 16 and Reece Adams 14.

For the second straight week Corey Chalmers had plenty of chances on goal for West Perth but couldn’t kick straight finishing with 2.5 but he still was one of the Falcons' best performers on the day with 20 possessions and four inside-50 entries.

It was Frank Stockley who was West Perth's best, though, with the Prendergast Medallist finishing with a dominant 18 possessions, 38 hit outs, 11 clearances and five inside-50 entries.

James Embley also gathered 19 possessions and had six clearances for West Perth with Trent Manzone finishing with 19 disposals, Ben McNamara 19, Kris Shannon 17 and Brayden Antonio 16.

South Fremantle started the game on fire after having the week off with Smith kicking two early goals and despite Drew Rohde and Chalmers adding majors for the Falcons, the Bulldogs were in control by 12 points at quarter-time.

West Perth made a charge early in the second quarter to close South Fremantle's lead, but the Bulldogs caught fire just before half-time with goals to Panizza, Johnson, Strom and Johnson again to hold a 24-point advantage at the main break.

Three quick goals for West Perth from the seven to the 13-minute mark of the third quarter had the Falcons back to within 11 points all of a sudden, but South Fremantle wouldn’t be denied.

Four goals in three minutes to the Bulldogs from Matera (two), Johnson and Grima blew South Fremantle's lead out to 36 points, and despite the Falcons continuing to fight they never again got closer than 25 points and ended up losing by36. 

WEST PERTH 2.2 4.8 9.9 12.12 (84)

SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.2 9.2 15.3 19.6 (120)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Chalmers, Rohde 2; McNamara, Shannon, Latham, Branch, Morrow, Johnson, Antonio, O'Regan.

Best: Stockley, Embley, Manzone, Branch, Chalmers, McNamara.

SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Johnson 5; Matera 4; Grima, Panizza, Smith 2; Kelly, Verrier, Strom, Parry.

Best: Johnson, Grima, Maskos, Kelly, Hall, Matera, Verrier, Winter. 

Merv McIntosh Medal: Blaine Johnson (South Fremantle).

BY CHRIS PIKE

RESERVES GRAND FINAL PREVIEW V SOUTH FREMANTLE

Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 3:26 PM

WEST Perth and South Fremantle finished 2013 as the two most in-form reserves teams and as a result have made the grand final and are sure to play out a hard fought contest to determine the premiers.

West Perth lost its first three games of the reserves season and then sat at 1-6 after eight rounds, but things then began to turn with three straight wins and now the Falcons have not lost since going down to Swan Districts at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval in Round 15.
The Falcons won seven straight matches over Peel, South Fremantle, East Perth, Peel, Perth, East Fremantle and Swan Districts to qualify for the finals from fourth position.
And in the finals, West Perth beat East Perth in the first semi-final at Claremont Oval by nine points to book in a preliminary final berth where the Falcons downed the minor premier Perth by 42 points to book in a grand final spot on a nine-game winning run.
The Bulldogs reserves began the season reasonably slowly as did their league side with a host of injuries and young players still adjusting to senior football, but the longer the 2013 campaign went the better the whole senior squad went.
South Fremantle's league team finished off the season with some momentum and the improved form of the main side meant that there were more quality players in the reserves line-up, and more players looking to pressing up for a league berth.
South Fremantle's reserves lost its first two games to Claremont and Perth and then again lost two more in Round 11 to East Fremantle and Round 12 to Subiaco, but since then the Bulldogs have been outstanding.
There was a hiccup against West Perth in Round 18, but aside from that South Fremantle's reserves won eight of its last nine games to finish the home and away season in second position on the ladder.
That set up a second semi-final against Perth and the Bulldogs held on to win by five points to advance straight through to the grand final.
South Fremantle and West Perth met just twice during the season with the Bulldogs winning at Fremantle Oval in Round 4 by 19 points and then the Falcons prevailed by 34 points at Arena Joondalup in Round 18.
South Fremantle's reserves have not won a premiership since 2009 when both the Bulldogs' league and reserves sides were triumphant.
Remarkably, West Perth's reserves has not won a premiership since 1960 and also in that year both the Falcons' league and reserves teams won the flag.
Both teams are full of a combination of league experienced and youthful talent as well.
South Fremantle even has a league premiership player in its midst from 2009 with Reece Adams lining up for the Bulldogs after managing just 12 matches in the league side this year to take his career tally to 61.
Jarrad Winter has also played 65 league games for the Bulldogs and will line-up in the grand final along with fellow experienced campaigners Shaun Bewick and Alex Grima.
Warrick Andreoli, Tyler Hall, Blaine Johnson, Tim Kelly, James Laurino, Jason Maskos, Kaiden Matera, Justin Monaco, Marlon Pickett, Kingsley Smith, Zac Strom and Brendan Verrier will also play for South Fremantle in the grand final after having played at least one league game in 2013.
West Perth's reserves team won't be without some league experience either and as usual with a club with a league side in the grand final also, there's usually a player or several players who are unlucky not to be in the main show.
Trent Manzone fits that bill for West Perth this year after making way in the league side for returning vice-captain Luke Tedesco.
Manzone played 14 straight matches for the West Perth league side this year to close out the season after being recruited from Queensland, and also lined up in the second semi-final win over Claremont but he is the unlucky man to make way for Tedesco.
Ruckman Frank Stockley has been outstanding all year as well in the reserves and won the Prendergast Medal but he also missed selection in the league side as have exciting youngsters Brayden Antonio and Matt Johnson meaning they will play in the reserves grand final.
Ben McNamara, Joe Morrow, Luke Meadows, James Batterham and Kris Shannon will also play having played at least one league game this season with James Embley, Michael Mascoulis and Drew Rohde having previously played league football as well.
Bounce down for the reserves grand final at Patersons Stadium, Subiaco on Sunday will be at 11.30am.
WEST PERTH TEAM:
Max Alexander, Brayden Antonio, James Batterham, Cameron Branch, Corey Chalmers, James Embley, Stephen Healy, Matt Johnson, Joel Latham, Aidan Lynch, Trent Manzone, Michael Mascoulis, Ben McNamara, Mitch McPhee, Luke Meadows, Jordan Mills, Samuel Money, Joel Morrow, Ben O'Regan, Drew Rohde, Tom Shadbolt, Kris Shannon, Frank Stockley, Tim Sutherland, Jack Thrum, Mitch van Berlo.
SOUTH FREMANTLE TEAM:
Reece Adams, Warrick Andreoli, Shaun Bewick, Myles Bolger, Steven Borovac, Rhys D'Alton, Jayden D'Vauz, Alex Grima, Tyler Hall, Dale Hamilton, Blaine Johnson, Tim Kelly, James Laurino, Jason Maskos, Kaiden Matera, Justin Monaco, Simon Panizza, Joseph Pantano, Jarrod Parry, Marlon Pickett, Michael Russell, Kingsley Smith, Zac Strom, Anthony Van Manen, Brendan Verrier, Jarrad Winter.
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth and South Fremantle finished 2013 as the two most in-form reserves teams and as a result have made the grand final and are sure to play out a hard fought contest to determine the premiers.

West Perth lost its first three games of the reserves season and then sat at 1-6 after eight rounds, but things then began to turn with three straight wins and now the Falcons have not lost since going down to Swan Districts at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval in Round 15.

The Falcons won seven straight matches over Peel, South Fremantle, East Perth, Peel, Perth, East Fremantle and Swan Districts to qualify for the finals from fourth position.

And in the finals, West Perth beat East Perth in the first semi-final at Claremont Oval by nine points to book in a preliminary final berth where the Falcons downed the minor premier Perth by 42 points to book in a grand final spot on a nine-game winning run.

The Bulldogs reserves began the season reasonably slowly as did their league side with a host of injuries and young players still adjusting to senior football, but the longer the 2013 campaign went the better the whole senior squad went.

South Fremantle's league team finished off the season with some momentum and the improved form of the main side meant that there were more quality players in the reserves line-up, and more players looking to pressing up for a league berth.

South Fremantle's reserves lost its first two games to Claremont and Perth and then again lost two more in Round 11 to East Fremantle and Round 12 to Subiaco, but since then the Bulldogs have been outstanding.

There was a hiccup against West Perth in Round 18, but aside from that South Fremantle's reserves won eight of its last nine games to finish the home and away season in second position on the ladder.

That set up a second semi-final against Perth and the Bulldogs held on to win by five points to advance straight through to the grand final.

South Fremantle and West Perth met just twice during the season with the Bulldogs winning at Fremantle Oval in Round 4 by 19 points and then the Falcons prevailed by 34 points at Arena Joondalup in Round 18.

South Fremantle's reserves have not won a premiership since 2009 when both the Bulldogs' league and reserves sides were triumphant.

Remarkably, West Perth's reserves has not won a premiership since 1960 and also in that year both the Falcons' league and reserves teams won the flag.

Both teams are full of a combination of league experienced and youthful talent as well.

South Fremantle even has a league premiership player in its midst from 2009 with Reece Adams lining up for the Bulldogs after managing just 12 matches in the league side this year to take his career tally to 61.

Jarrad Winter has also played 65 league games for the Bulldogs and will line-up in the grand final along with fellow experienced campaigners Shaun Bewick and Alex Grima.

Warrick Andreoli, Tyler Hall, Blaine Johnson, Tim Kelly, James Laurino, Jason Maskos, Kaiden Matera, Justin Monaco, Marlon Pickett, Kingsley Smith, Zac Strom and Brendan Verrier will also play for South Fremantle in the grand final after having played at least one league game in 2013.

West Perth's reserves team won't be without some league experience either and as usual with a club with a league side in the grand final also, there's usually a player or several players who are unlucky not to be in the main show.

Trent Manzone fits that bill for West Perth this year after making way in the league side for returning vice-captain Luke Tedesco.

Manzone played 14 straight matches for the West Perth league side this year to close out the season after being recruited from Queensland, and also lined up in the second semi-final win over Claremont but he is the unlucky man to make way for Tedesco.

Ruckman Frank Stockley has been outstanding all year as well in the reserves and won the Prendergast Medal but he also missed selection in the league side as have exciting youngsters Brayden Antonio and Matt Johnson meaning they will play in the reserves grand final.

Ben McNamara, Joe Morrow, Luke Meadows, James Batterham and Kris Shannon will also play having played at least one league game this season with James Embley, Michael Mascoulis and Drew Rohde having previously played league football as well.

Bounce down for the reserves grand final at Patersons Stadium, Subiaco on Sunday will be at 11.30am.

WEST PERTH TEAM:

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

SOUTH FREMANTLE TEAM:

Reece Adams, Warrick Andreoli, Shaun Bewick, Myles Bolger, Steven Borovac, Rhys D'Alton, Jayden D'Vauz, Alex Grima, Tyler Hall, Dale Hamilton, Blaine Johnson, Tim Kelly, James Laurino, Jason Maskos, Kaiden Matera, Justin Monaco, Simon Panizza, Joseph Pantano, Jarrod Parry, Marlon Pickett, Michael Russell, Kingsley Smith, Zac Strom, Anthony Van Manen, Brendan Verrier, Jarrad Winter.

BY CHRIS PIKE

GRAND FINAL PREVIEW V EAST PERTH

Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 2:13 PM

WEST Perth and East Perth have both waited a long time for another WAFL grand final appearance and now it just happens to be up against one another with the Falcons and Royals entering the premiership decider with similar form lines.

The Falcons have not played in a grand final since winning the 2003 premiership and in fact had not won a final of any type in six attempts before winning the second semi-final over Claremont at Claremont Oval a fortnight ago by four points.
West Perth was in the second semi-final after finishing the home and away season with a 13-7 record to be in second position, and then the Falcons advanced straight to the grand final with the win over Claremont that could have been by so much more if they kicked straight.
East Perth, on the other hand, only guaranteed its place in the finals with a final round victory over Subiaco and ended up finishing in fourth spot before beating Swan Districts at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval in the first semi-final.
The Royals then turned on their best performance of the whole 2013 season in last Sunday's preliminary final beating Claremont by 63 points at Claremont Oval to set up a derby grand final for the first time since 2002.
That 2002 decider where East Perth beat West Perth by 60 points was the Royals' last appearance in a grand final.
Sunday will be the seventh Perth derby grand final in history with West Perth having won four and East Perth two.
The first came in 1922 when East Perth won by 16 points with West Perth getting revenge 10 years later in 1932 with a 43-point victory.
It took 28 years for the two teams to meet in the big day again and it was West Perth who prevailed by 32 points with the then Cardinals also winning by 73 points in 1969.
West Perth also won in 1971 by 32 points before East Perth got over the line by 60 points in 2002 to complete the Royals' premiership hat-trick.
The Falcons and Royals met three times this season with West Perth scoring a thumping 75-point win in Round 1 and also winning by 30 points at Arena Joondalup in Round 19, but East Perth won the Foundation (WA) Day clash at Medibank Stadium by 19 points thanks to a huge last quarter.
Given it's a derby and the passion is so intense between both clubs, the start is sure to be on for young and old, but East Perth will have to be on guard to start well.
Over the course of the season, West Perth has been terrific in opening quarters outscoring its opposition by 45 points.
While the Falcons did also win their second and last terms over the season, they were by smaller margins but they did also dominate third quarters with a 10.21 advantage over their oppositions.
East Perth's first quarters might not have been good over the course of the 2013 season with the Royals outscored by 88 points, they have had a tendency to get better the longer games have gone on.
While losing first quarters, East Perth has won its second terms by 18 points, third by 38 and then final terms by 88 points.
There will be enthralling battles all over the field come Sunday as well starting in the middle with the ruck clash between West Perth's 129-game veteran Chris Keunen and East Perth's experienced former AFL big man Paul Johnson, who will also be helped out by Scott Lycett.
Then there will be the midfield battle at the big men's feet featuring West Perth's Mark Hutchings, Jay van Berlo, Matt Guadagnin, Shane Nelson and Aaron Black, and East Perth's Brendan Lee, Jamie Cripps, Craig Wulff, Mat Seal and Adam Selwood.
West Perth will be without full-back Michael Pettigrew due to a hamstring injury meaning the job of trying to stop Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith will fall to 150-game veteran Dan Hunt.
Shaun Marusic or Nick Rodda will then share the job on Lycett or Johnson when they are forward for East Perth with Jordan Jones, Steven Browne, Andrew Strijk and whichever two are picked out of Luke Tedesco, Laine Rasmussen and Trent Manzone to get the jobs on Michael Swan, Arthur Bennell, Dean Cadwallader and other Royals small/mid-size forwards.
West Perth has a somewhat unconventional forward-line with either Marusic or Rodda to be the main target and matched up by East Perth defender Jacob Derickx. East Perth's top defender Kyle Anderson could then go to Fremantle's Josh Mellington.
There will be an incredible five radio stations plus ABC TV broadcasting the clash.
On top of ABC TV telecasting the game state-wide, 720 ABC Perth, 882 6PR, 91.3 SportFM, 990am Informational Radio and Hot Country Digital will all be providing the coverage of the 2013 WAFL grand final between the Falcons and Royals this Sunday afternoon.
BY CHRIS PIKEWest Perth and East Perth have both waited a long time for another WAFL grand final appearance and now it just happens to be up against one another with the Falcons and Royals entering the premiership decider with similar form lines.

The Falcons have not played in a grand final since winning the 2003 premiership and in fact had not won a final of any type in six attempts before winning the second semi-final over Claremont at Claremont Oval a fortnight ago by four points.

West Perth was in the second semi-final after finishing the home and away season with a 13-7 record to be in second position, and then the Falcons advanced straight to the grand final with the win over Claremont that could have been by so much more if they kicked straight.

East Perth, on the other hand, only guaranteed its place in the finals with a final round victory over Subiaco and ended up finishing in fourth spot before beating Swan Districts at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval in the first semi-final.

The Royals then turned on their best performance of the whole 2013 season in last Sunday's preliminary final beating Claremont by 63 points at Claremont Oval to set up a derby grand final for the first time since 2002.

That 2002 decider where East Perth beat West Perth by 60 points was the Royals' last appearance in a grand final.

Sunday will be the seventh Perth derby grand final in history with West Perth having won four and East Perth two.

The first came in 1922 when East Perth won by 16 points with West Perth getting revenge 10 years later in 1932 with a 43-point victory.

It took 28 years for the two teams to meet in the big day again and it was West Perth who prevailed by 32 points with the then Cardinals also winning by 73 points in 1969.

West Perth also won in 1971 by 32 points before East Perth got over the line by 60 points in 2002 to complete the Royals' premiership hat-trick.

The Falcons and Royals met three times this season with West Perth scoring a thumping 75-point win in Round 1 and also winning by 30 points at Arena Joondalup in Round 19, but East Perth won the Foundation (WA) Day clash at Medibank Stadium by 19 points thanks to a huge last quarter.

Given it's a derby and the passion is so intense between both clubs, the start is sure to be on for young and old, but East Perth will have to be on guard to start well.

Over the course of the season, West Perth has been terrific in opening quarters outscoring its opposition by 45 points.

While the Falcons did also win their second and last terms over the season, they were by smaller margins but they did also dominate third quarters with a 10.21 advantage over their oppositions.

East Perth's first quarters might not have been good over the course of the 2013 season with the Royals outscored by 88 points, they have had a tendency to get better the longer games have gone on.

While losing first quarters, East Perth has won its second terms by 18 points, third by 38 and then final terms by 88 points.

There will be enthralling battles all over the field come Sunday as well starting in the middle with the ruck clash between West Perth's 129-game veteran Chris Keunen and East Perth's experienced former AFL big man Paul Johnson, who will also be helped out by Scott Lycett.

Then there will be the midfield battle at the big men's feet featuring West Perth's Mark Hutchings, Jay van Berlo, Matt Guadagnin, Shane Nelson and Aaron Black, and East Perth's Brendan Lee, Jamie Cripps, Craig Wulff, Mat Seal and Adam Selwood.

West Perth will be without full-back Michael Pettigrew due to a hamstring injury meaning the job of trying to stop Bernie Naylor Medallist Josh Smith will fall to 150-game veteran Dan Hunt.

Shaun Marusic or Nick Rodda will then share the job on Lycett or Johnson when they are forward for East Perth with Jordan Jones, Steven Browne, Andrew Strijk and whichever two are picked out of Luke Tedesco, Laine Rasmussen and Trent Manzone to get the jobs on Michael Swan, Arthur Bennell, Dean Cadwallader and other Royals small/mid-size forwards.

West Perth has a somewhat unconventional forward-line with either Marusic or Rodda to be the main target and matched up by East Perth defender Jacob Derickx. East Perth's top defender Kyle Anderson could then go to Fremantle's Josh Mellington.

There will be an incredible five radio stations plus ABC TV broadcasting the clash.

On top of ABC TV telecasting the game state-wide, 720 ABC Perth, 882 6PR, 91.3 SportFM, 990am Informational Radio and Hot Country Digital will all be providing the coverage of the 2013 WAFL grand final between the Falcons and Royals this Sunday afternoon.

BY CHRIS PIKE

KEUNEN READY TO LEAD FALCONS FROM THE RUCK IN GRAND FINAL

Friday, September 20, 2013 - 8:55 PM

CHRIS Keunen had to bide his time and show loyalty and patience to become West Perth's No. 1 ruckman and now he will have one of the biggest jobs on the ground in Sunday's grand final against East Perth at Patersons Stadium.

When Keunen arrived at West Perth in 2006 from amateur Victorian club St Bernard's and had to battle with Rob Warnock, Darren Atkinson, Mark Seaby and then Mitch Andrews in the early years for a spot in the ruck, but he has now well and truly cemented himself as the Falcons' No. 1 big man.
While those first few years saw him battling for a spot and now he needs to continue to perform to hold out the emerging Frank Stockley, Keunen has developed into one of the best and most consistent big men in the competition.
The 29-year-old has played 132 games and the 199cm big man has been able to carry the ruck load virtually on his own often being double-teamed by the opposition, and more than holding his own both in the actual ruck contests and in picking up plenty of the ball around the ground.
That will again be the case in this Sunday's grand final against East Perth with the Royals to throw their duo Paul Johnson and Scott Lycett at him.
However, Keunen has stood up to every challenge asked of him since Bill Monaghan took over as coach in 2009 and by now getting to play in his first grand final and West Perth's first since 2003, it's a great reward for him sticking at it and showing loyalty to the Falcons.
"It obviously is a bit of a reward for sticking around when I had a few opportunities to go elsewhere, but being a one club player at the end of the day and having the opportunity to play 100 games at the footy club meant a lot to me," Keunen said.
"Personally when I played my 100th game I said that I probably didn’t work hard enough earlier in my career and I expected things to happen, but now I've had to work harder and force myself into the No. 1 position rather than being in and out of the team.
"Now that I have cemented my spot, I have to keep working hard and playing well because Frank Stockley is chomping at the bit for an opportunity."
When Keunen first arrived at West Perth he thought it might be just a fun experiment to play in the west for a couple of years, but he fell in love with the West Perth Football Club and living in Perth so much that it's now where he will finish his career and continue to live afterwards.
"At the time of moving over I probably thought we'd stay for a couple of years. My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, spoke about staying two years to give it a good opportunity and now we don't even think about going home at all, Perth is our home," he said.
"Back then it was just about playing footy for a club which at that time I had never heard of, but now obviously it's a massive part of my life.
"My name is the first one on the No. 19 locker and now the opportunity to get to 150 games in the next year or two is really what is driving me as is trying to win a premiership with the club."
Even though it did take some time for Keunen to lock in the No. 1 ruck spot, he has had it for several years now and isn’t at all fazed about taking on two ruckmen on his own on Sunday in the grand final because that is exactly when he feels he plays his best football.
"I've been pretty much the only ruckman for the last three or four years now and I'm pretty comfortable with where I'm at fitness-wise and what I can do by myself. It's always nice to have an extra set of legs out there at times to help you out, but I'm pretty confident either way," Keunen said.
"Since I've come over here I have tended to play better football when I have had the role in the ruck to myself because to me coming on and off the bench loses a bit of your momentum, but if I can stay out there you get into a groove and work into the game better.
"That is something I have had to work on as well because in Victoria I was used to smaller grounds but playing on the bigger grounds like Joondalup has helped me get my fitness base right up there."
Keunen does need to keep performing, though, because Stockley has dominated in the reserves throughout 2013 and won the Prendergast Medal for the best player in the competition.
However, Keunen knows exactly how he feels and hopes Stockley stays patient because he will be the ideal partner for Keunen when the coaching staff want two ruckmen and he's the perfect replacement for him when he retires in the next one, two or three years.
"If he sticks at it, he's already shown what he can do both in the reserves and league team, then it's just about him grabbing those chances when they come," he said.
"He is fantastic around the club, he loves everyone at the club and is always smiling and happy, and having a laugh and joking around with everyone. He is passionate about what he's doing and the footy club, and if he sticks with it obviously more opportunities will come his way."
Keunen has no doubt that his first finals victory in the second semi-final over Claremont at Claremont Oval was the highlight of his career, but just making a grand final isn’t something anyone wants to settle for, they want to win the premiership.
Keunen is glad to be sharing the grand final with teammates like Jason Salecic, Matt Guadagnin, Ray Bartholomew, Andrew Strijk and Dan Hunt, though, who he has played his entire career at the Falcons with.
"For sure it was the best moment in my career so far, it was pretty special. It's a bit hard to explain because at the same time you are stoked to be in it, but you know you still have another game to go," Keunen said.
"It was a matter of trying to keep a lid on it but enjoying the moment at the same time because it obviously doesn’t come around too often. We knew that having played in two prelims before and being beaten in them so the opportunity to now get to play in a grand final is fantastic.
"It's fantastic to share a grand final now with guys like Dan Hunt, Jason Salecic and Matt Guadagnin who have been around a lot longer than me. The one we are most disappointed for is 'Slick' for missing out on this, but for us older guys who have now played a lot of footy together it's going to be a special moment to run out there. It has been 10 years since the club has been in a grand final so it's going to be great to try and create some history for the club."
Keunen is looking forward to now being involved in the very first contest of the grand final when he contests the centre bounce up against Johnson, and he is confident that he can match the experienced big man throughout the day on what will be the biggest day of his career.
"It will be a pretty special moment to be part of that first bounce down of the game, and making the first contest. Hopefully I can have a big influence in that and get the game off to the right start for us," Keunen said.
"I think I have done OK against him in the past. Obviously he is a big possession winner for them so I have to try to quell him getting the footy around the ground, particularly around the forward 50 where he can score goals. He is also good at running forward hard from a contest so I just have to try to stop him getting forward of the play as much as I can.
"It is going to be a massive event. There is talk that the crowd is possibly going to be huge. It doesn’t matter who you play, it's a grand final so everything is going to step up. Just because it's a derby that will add a little bit of spice particularly in the first five or 10 minutes when everyone's adrenaline is pumping, but at the end of the day it's a grand final and you just have to do your best to try and win the premiership."
BY CHRIS PIKECHRIS Keunen had to bide his time and show loyalty and patience to become West Perth's No. 1 ruckman and now he will have one of the biggest jobs on the ground in Sunday's grand final against East Perth at Patersons Stadium.

When Keunen arrived at West Perth in 2006 from amateur Victorian club St Bernard's and had to battle with Rob Warnock, Darren Atkinson, Mark Seaby and then Mitch Andrews in the early years for a spot in the ruck, but he has now well and truly cemented himself as the Falcons' No. 1 big man.

While those first few years saw him battling for a spot and now he needs to continue to perform to hold out the emerging Frank Stockley, Keunen has developed into one of the best and most consistent big men in the competition.

The 29-year-old has played 132 games and the 199cm big man has been able to carry the ruck load virtually on his own often being double-teamed by the opposition, and more than holding his own both in the actual ruck contests and in picking up plenty of the ball around the ground.

That will again be the case in this Sunday's grand final against East Perth with the Royals to throw their duo Paul Johnson and Scott Lycett at him.

However, Keunen has stood up to every challenge asked of him since Bill Monaghan took over as coach in 2009 and by now getting to play in his first grand final and West Perth's first since 2003, it's a great reward for him sticking at it and showing loyalty to the Falcons.

"It obviously is a bit of a reward for sticking around when I had a few opportunities to go elsewhere, but being a one club player at the end of the day and having the opportunity to play 100 games at the footy club meant a lot to me," Keunen said.

"Personally when I played my 100th game I said that I probably didn’t work hard enough earlier in my career and I expected things to happen, but now I've had to work harder and force myself into the No. 1 position rather than being in and out of the team.

"Now that I have cemented my spot, I have to keep working hard and playing well because Frank Stockley is chomping at the bit for an opportunity."

When Keunen first arrived at West Perth he thought it might be just a fun experiment to play in the west for a couple of years, but he fell in love with the West Perth Football Club and living in Perth so much that it's now where he will finish his career and continue to live afterwards.

"At the time of moving over I probably thought we'd stay for a couple of years. My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, spoke about staying two years to give it a good opportunity and now we don't even think about going home at all, Perth is our home," he said.

"Back then it was just about playing footy for a club which at that time I had never heard of, but now obviously it's a massive part of my life.

"My name is the first one on the No. 19 locker and now the opportunity to get to 150 games in the next year or two is really what is driving me as is trying to win a premiership with the club."

Even though it did take some time for Keunen to lock in the No. 1 ruck spot, he has had it for several years now and isn’t at all fazed about taking on two ruckmen on his own on Sunday in the grand final because that is exactly when he feels he plays his best football.

"I've been pretty much the only ruckman for the last three or four years now and I'm pretty comfortable with where I'm at fitness-wise and what I can do by myself. It's always nice to have an extra set of legs out there at times to help you out, but I'm pretty confident either way," Keunen said.

"Since I've come over here I have tended to play better football when I have had the role in the ruck to myself because to me coming on and off the bench loses a bit of your momentum, but if I can stay out there you get into a groove and work into the game better.

"That is something I have had to work on as well because in Victoria I was used to smaller grounds but playing on the bigger grounds like Joondalup has helped me get my fitness base right up there."

Keunen does need to keep performing, though, because Stockley has dominated in the reserves throughout 2013 and won the Prendergast Medal for the best player in the competition.

However, Keunen knows exactly how he feels and hopes Stockley stays patient because he will be the ideal partner for Keunen when the coaching staff want two ruckmen and he's the perfect replacement for him when he retires in the next one, two or three years.

"If he sticks at it, he's already shown what he can do both in the reserves and league team, then it's just about him grabbing those chances when they come," he said.

"He is fantastic around the club, he loves everyone at the club and is always smiling and happy, and having a laugh and joking around with everyone. He is passionate about what he's doing and the footy club, and if he sticks with it obviously more opportunities will come his way."

Keunen has no doubt that his first finals victory in the second semi-final over Claremont at Claremont Oval was the highlight of his career, but just making a grand final isn’t something anyone wants to settle for, they want to win the premiership.

Keunen is glad to be sharing the grand final with teammates like Jason Salecic, Matt Guadagnin, Ray Bartholomew, Andrew Strijk and Dan Hunt, though, who he has played his entire career at the Falcons with.

"For sure it was the best moment in my career so far, it was pretty special. It's a bit hard to explain because at the same time you are stoked to be in it, but you know you still have another game to go," Keunen said.

"It was a matter of trying to keep a lid on it but enjoying the moment at the same time because it obviously doesn’t come around too often. We knew that having played in two prelims before and being beaten in them so the opportunity to now get to play in a grand final is fantastic.

"It's fantastic to share a grand final now with guys like Dan Hunt, Jason Salecic and Matt Guadagnin who have been around a lot longer than me. The one we are most disappointed for is 'Slick' for missing out on this, but for us older guys who have now played a lot of footy together it's going to be a special moment to run out there. It has been 10 years since the club has been in a grand final so it's going to be great to try and create some history for the club."

Keunen is looking forward to now being involved in the very first contest of the grand final when he contests the centre bounce up against Johnson, and he is confident that he can match the experienced big man throughout the day on what will be the biggest day of his career.

"It will be a pretty special moment to be part of that first bounce down of the game, and making the first contest. Hopefully I can have a big influence in that and get the game off to the right start for us," Keunen said.

"I think I have done OK against him in the past. Obviously he is a big possession winner for them so I have to try to quell him getting the footy around the ground, particularly around the forward 50 where he can score goals. He is also good at running forward hard from a contest so I just have to try to stop him getting forward of the play as much as I can.

"It is going to be a massive event. There is talk that the crowd is possibly going to be huge. It doesn’t matter who you play, it's a grand final so everything is going to step up. Just because it's a derby that will add a little bit of spice particularly in the first five or 10 minutes when everyone's adrenaline is pumping, but at the end of the day it's a grand final and you just have to do your best to try and win the premiership."

BY CHRIS PIKE

GRAND FINAL THE REWARD FOR GUADAGNIN'S PERSEVERENCE

Friday, September 20, 2013 - 3:21 PM

TOUGH-as-nails West Perth midfielder Matt Guadagnin is one of a host of experienced players who has waited for years for the chance to play in a WAFL grand final that presents this Sunday at Patersons Stadium.

Guadagnin made his league debut in the grand final year of 2002, but as a 19-year-old played just two matches and then missed all of the 2003 premiership year with a knee injury.
However, ever since Guadagnin has been a permanent fixture of the West Perth midfield playing in six finals matches before 2013 without tasting a win and it took until his 161st game with the Falcons for him to taste a win in September that came over Claremont in the second semi-final.
Guadagnin has been the heart and soul of the West Perth side for 10 years now with his unwavering dedication to train and play despite continuing to work on his farm in York, and it is this opportunity to play in a grand final that has continued to spur him on.
The 29-year-old is excited to now be preparing for Sunday's grand final against East Perth but he's sure it means more to share it with long-term teammates Jason Salecic, Ray Bartholomew, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Andrew Strijk and Luke Tedesco if he's selected on return from injury.
"Your goal is obviously to qualify for the finals when you start any season and then once you get there, to qualify for the grand final and if you get there, you don’t want to bloody lose it," Guadagnin said.
"There's probably a couple of guys who have played one or two years longer than they would have if they had success earlier in their career, but the main reason why everyone is here is because we love each other and love the club. That's probably why we play so well as a team and it will be amazing now if we are able to win a grand final."
Another aspect of the club that has spurred Guadagnin on, and continues to, is the West Perth supporters and members.
They waited patiently for a decade to see their team get back into a grand final and the way they celebrated the second semi-final win at Claremont Oval showed Guadagnin just how much the team's success meant to them.
"Our supporters are fantastic. I don’t think many other people in the competition like them, but they come everywhere to watch us," he said.
"They follow us to Moora or any country game, and you can always hear them. There's a core bunch there who come to every game and you can hear them every weekend, and they love the club as much as we do. We play for them and it's just fantastic to see them enjoy our success as much as we do, and they are there step by step with us."
Only one player who took part in the second semi-final win over Claremont had played in a winning WAFL final before, and he is also the only one in the team who will play in the grand final who has played on the biggest WAFL day of the year previously also.
That is current captain Jason Salecic who played in the losing 2002 grand final against East Perth and the premiership win over Subiaco in 2003.
For 10 years now, Salecic's long-time teammates like Guadagnin, Hunt, Bartholomew, Anthony Tsalikis, Strijk, Tedesco and Keunen have desperately wanted to get back to the grand final with their inspirational skipper.
While there are other veteran Falcons like Josh Pearce, Dustin Burns and Dion Fleay who didn’t quite make it to 2013 to be there, and Tsalikis will heartbreakingly miss the clash on Sunday with injury, Guadagnin is glad to be sharing it with Salecic and the other veterans of the club.
"Jase had a chance early in his career and it was an awesome experience for him, but I know he wants to now do it with a group he has played most of his footy with and I can't wait to play a grand final with him," he said.
"We have a core group here that have played a lot of football together so to have success with them will be a massive achievement."
Guadagnin is fully aware that because West Perth is facing East Perth in Sunday's grand final that it adds extra spice for supporters and even staff at both clubs, but for the players and coaching staff they can't let it make things any different than for any other opponent.
He is looking forward to playing in front of a huge crowd, though, and continuing on the form that saw them beat Claremont in the second semi-final to earn a week off and get into the grand final.
"Obviously because it's East Perth it will be a massive crowd given it's a derby and the fans will be very excited, but I don’t think we can get much more excited than by just being in the grand final anyway," Guadagnin said.
"It's an awesome feeling to be in the grand final after getting over the line last week. We went into the game confident of getting the job done, but to actually do it and get into the grand final is a relief knowing we could spend a week getting ready while the other two teams go at it.
"We know that the job is not even half done, though, and the group is really focused on getting out onto the ground now and getting the grand final underway."
West Perth did everything tremendously in the win over Claremont to advance to the grand final aside from kicking straight on goal, but given that hasn’t been an issue all season, Guadagnin doesn’t expect it to be a problem come Sunday either.
"There's no doubt that Claremont is still an unbelievable side and we knew we had to bring our best defensive game," he said.
"We talked about that over the last two or three weeks leading into the finals and we knew that we had to give our best defensive game for the year, and we brought that. To win was such a great feeling.
"Unfortunately we didn’t kick straight and I was one of the main culprits, but that happens sometimes. We aren’t too concerned about that.
"Our main focus was our defensive pressure and we caused so many turnovers that created so many scoring opportunities. I just think it started off on the wrong foot in the first quarter and it was one of those things that just snowballed and everyone seemed to catch the disease."
Despite the fact that he is less than a month from turning 30, Guadagnin's 2013 season has been every bit as good a season as he's had in his 161-game career with the Falcons.
He had a brilliant 2011 season where he led the Sandover Medal before breaking his leg in Round 20 and still finished runner-up in the count that year to Claremont's Luke Blackwell.
However, further complications from that injury saw him struggle at times in 2012 and then have a brief pre-season campaign heading into 2013.
He wasn’t so sure about that when he had a quiet start to the season, but his form since the first couple of rounds this year has been outstanding and he's glad he and the club decided to give him some time off last year in the pre-season now.
"I started the year really slowly in the pre-season and that was something that we talked about in the review of last season," he said.
"I started this year really slowly and I was thinking what we did might have been a mistake, but as the year's gone on I've got fitter and my body is still fresh and I'm still getting a kick. I'm obviously enjoying my footy and can't wait to get out there for the grand final."
For every good story in grand final week, there's always the heartbreaking ones and for West Perth without question that falls to 169-game, five-time leading goalkicking forward Tsalikis who injured his shoulder in Round 23 against East Fremantle and will now miss the grand final.
"It's horrible and you hear stories like that every year. I sort of know what he's going through because I thought when I broke my leg in 2011 I thought the boys were going to at least make a grand final and I was going to miss it, but I ended up making it back for the prelim that year," Guadagnin said.
"It's a horrible feeling for 'Slick' I'm sure and there might be a couple of others who miss out as well. There's not much you can say for the poor buggers, you just have to support them as much as you can."
BY CHRIS PIKE

TOUGH-as-nails West Perth midfielder Matt Guadagnin is one of a host of experienced players who has waited for years for the chance to play in a WAFL grand final that presents this Sunday at Patersons Stadium.

Guadagnin made his league debut in the grand final year of 2002, but as a 19-year-old played just two matches and then missed all of the 2003 premiership year with a knee injury.

However, ever since Guadagnin has been a permanent fixture of the West Perth midfield playing in six finals matches before 2013 without tasting a win and it took until his 161st game with the Falcons for him to taste a win in September that came over Claremont in the second semi-final.

Guadagnin has been the heart and soul of the West Perth side for 10 years now with his unwavering dedication to train and play despite continuing to work on his farm in York, and it is this opportunity to play in a grand final that has continued to spur him on.

The 29-year-old is excited to now be preparing for Sunday's grand final against East Perth but he's sure it means more to share it with long-term teammates Jason Salecic, Ray Bartholomew, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Andrew Strijk and Luke Tedesco if he's selected on return from injury.

"Your goal is obviously to qualify for the finals when you start any season and then once you get there, to qualify for the grand final and if you get there, you don’t want to bloody lose it," Guadagnin said.

"There's probably a couple of guys who have played one or two years longer than they would have if they had success earlier in their career, but the main reason why everyone is here is because we love each other and love the club. That's probably why we play so well as a team and it will be amazing now if we are able to win a grand final."

Another aspect of the club that has spurred Guadagnin on, and continues to, is the West Perth supporters and members.

They waited patiently for a decade to see their team get back into a grand final and the way they celebrated the second semi-final win at Claremont Oval showed Guadagnin just how much the team's success meant to them.

"Our supporters are fantastic. I don’t think many other people in the competition like them, but they come everywhere to watch us," he said.

"They follow us to Moora or any country game, and you can always hear them. There's a core bunch there who come to every game and you can hear them every weekend, and they love the club as much as we do. We play for them and it's just fantastic to see them enjoy our success as much as we do, and they are there step by step with us."

Only one player who took part in the second semi-final win over Claremont had played in a winning WAFL final before, and he is also the only one in the team who will play in the grand final who has played on the biggest WAFL day of the year previously also.

That is current captain Jason Salecic who played in the losing 2002 grand final against East Perth and the premiership win over Subiaco in 2003.

For 10 years now, Salecic's long-time teammates like Guadagnin, Hunt, Bartholomew, Anthony Tsalikis, Strijk, Tedesco and Keunen have desperately wanted to get back to the grand final with their inspirational skipper.

While there are other veteran Falcons like Josh Pearce, Dustin Burns and Dion Fleay who didn’t quite make it to 2013 to be there, and Tsalikis will heartbreakingly miss the clash on Sunday with injury, Guadagnin is glad to be sharing it with Salecic and the other veterans of the club.

"Jase had a chance early in his career and it was an awesome experience for him, but I know he wants to now do it with a group he has played most of his footy with and I can't wait to play a grand final with him," he said.

"We have a core group here that have played a lot of football together so to have success with them will be a massive achievement."

Guadagnin is fully aware that because West Perth is facing East Perth in Sunday's grand final that it adds extra spice for supporters and even staff at both clubs, but for the players and coaching staff they can't let it make things any different than for any other opponent.

He is looking forward to playing in front of a huge crowd, though, and continuing on the form that saw them beat Claremont in the second semi-final to earn a week off and get into the grand final.

"Obviously because it's East Perth it will be a massive crowd given it's a derby and the fans will be very excited, but I don’t think we can get much more excited than by just being in the grand final anyway," Guadagnin said.

"It's an awesome feeling to be in the grand final after getting over the line last week. We went into the game confident of getting the job done, but to actually do it and get into the grand final is a relief knowing we could spend a week getting ready while the other two teams go at it.

"We know that the job is not even half done, though, and the group is really focused on getting out onto the ground now and getting the grand final underway."

West Perth did everything tremendously in the win over Claremont to advance to the grand final aside from kicking straight on goal, but given that hasn’t been an issue all season, Guadagnin doesn’t expect it to be a problem come Sunday either.

"There's no doubt that Claremont is still an unbelievable side and we knew we had to bring our best defensive game," he said.

"We talked about that over the last two or three weeks leading into the finals and we knew that we had to give our best defensive game for the year, and we brought that. To win was such a great feeling.

"Unfortunately we didn’t kick straight and I was one of the main culprits, but that happens sometimes. We aren’t too concerned about that.

"Our main focus was our defensive pressure and we caused so many turnovers that created so many scoring opportunities. I just think it started off on the wrong foot in the first quarter and it was one of those things that just snowballed and everyone seemed to catch the disease."

Despite the fact that he is less than a month from turning 30, Guadagnin's 2013 season has been every bit as good a season as he's had in his 161-game career with the Falcons.

He had a brilliant 2011 season where he led the Sandover Medal before breaking his leg in Round 20 and still finished runner-up in the count that year to Claremont's Luke Blackwell.

However, further complications from that injury saw him struggle at times in 2012 and then have a brief pre-season campaign heading into 2013.

He wasn’t so sure about that when he had a quiet start to the season, but his form since the first couple of rounds this year has been outstanding and he's glad he and the club decided to give him some time off last year in the pre-season now.

"I started the year really slowly in the pre-season and that was something that we talked about in the review of last season," he said.

"I started this year really slowly and I was thinking what we did might have been a mistake, but as the year's gone on I've got fitter and my body is still fresh and I'm still getting a kick. I'm obviously enjoying my footy and can't wait to get out there for the grand final."

For every good story in grand final week, there's always the heartbreaking ones and for West Perth without question that falls to 169-game, five-time leading goalkicking forward Tsalikis who injured his shoulder in Round 23 against East Fremantle and will now miss the grand final.

"It's horrible and you hear stories like that every year. I sort of know what he's going through because I thought when I broke my leg in 2011 I thought the boys were going to at least make a grand final and I was going to miss it, but I ended up making it back for the prelim that year," Guadagnin said.

"It's a horrible feeling for 'Slick' I'm sure and there might be a couple of others who miss out as well. There's not much you can say for the poor buggers, you just have to support them as much as you can."

BY CHRIS PIKE

GRAND FINAL RECEIVES TREMENDOUS MEDIA COVERAGE

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 10:41 PM

SUNDAY'S derby WAFL grand final between West Perth and East Perth has created enormous interest amongst the media and football followers alike this week, and there will be an incredible five radio stations plus ABC TV broadcasting the clash.

Whether you won't be able to make it to Subiaco's Patersons Stadium on Sunday and wish to stay at home and watch the game on ABC TV, or indeed on one of the five radio stations, or listen on in the car or wherever you happen to be, or tune in while at the ground your needs will be well catered for.
On top of ABC TV telecasting the game state-wide, 720 ABC Perth, 882 6PR, 91.3 SportFM, 990am Informational Radio and Hot Country Digital will all be providing the coverage of the 2013 WAFL grand final between the Falcons and Royals this Sunday afternoon.
ABC Television has once again been a strong partner of the WAFL competition throughout the 2013 season broadcasting a match every Saturday afternoon, or as has been the case during the finals on Sunday.
They will again be on air from 2pm on Sunday led by Clint Wheeldon, Phil Lamb and Ken Judge to provide all the action from the first derby grand final between West Perth and East Perth since 2002.
On top of the television broadcast, 720 ABC Perth will be covering the game on radio as a continued strong supporter of the WAFL competition. The broadcast will be available on 720am, ABC Grandstand Digital and at www.abc.net.au/perth.
882 6PR might not have been a regular broadcaster of WAFL matches during the season but are on board for the grand final to provide their unique coverage of the premiership decider on Sunday. It will be available on 882am and at www.6pr.com.au.
990am Information Radio will be on air from 1pm on Sunday for the station's 11th consecutive broadcast of a WAFL grand final.
Regular commentators Russell Dower and Brendan Rhodes will be joined by former Claremont captain and 2005 Sandover Medallist Jaxon Crabb to not only broadcast the game and call the grand final, but all up 990am will be on air for four and-a-half hours on Sunday.
In addition to coverage pre and post-match of the grand final itself, 990am will also be announcing the winners of the Player of the Year and Rising Star awards during the broadcast.
The broadcast will also be available through Radio 6GS 1422am in the Upper Great Southern, via digital radio and online at www.radiogreatsouthern.com.
91.3 SportFM will be on air for the longest of all stations on Sunday commencing their coverage of the 2013 grand final at 12.30pm with the pre-match not only featuring the usual commentary team but also a host of guests leading up to the big game.
The station has been a tremendous supporter of the WAFL again in 2013 not only presenting WAFL World each week on a Wednesday evening, but club shows from Swan Districts, East Fremantle and Perth weekly, and regular interviews with past and present WAFL personalities. 
Hot Country Digital, powered by 6IX, is a newcomer to broadcast the WAFL in 2013 and with a commentary team made up of Glen Mitchell, John Lennon and Ryan Turnbull, have been a tremendous addition to the competition.
They will again be broadcasting the grand final on Sunday and will be available on digital radio or online by clicking here: http://www.hotcountryfootball.com.au/
BY CHRIS PIKESUNDAY'S derby WAFL grand final between West Perth and East Perth has created enormous interest amongst the media and football followers alike this week, and there will be an incredible five radio stations plus ABC TV broadcasting the clash.

Whether you won't be able to make it to Subiaco's Patersons Stadium on Sunday and wish to stay at home and watch the game on ABC TV, or indeed on one of the five radio stations, or listen on in the car or wherever you happen to be, or tune in while at the ground your needs will be well catered for.

On top of ABC TV telecasting the game state-wide, 720 ABC Perth, 882 6PR, 91.3 SportFM, 990am Informational Radio and Hot Country Digital will all be providing the coverage of the 2013 WAFL grand final between the Falcons and Royals this Sunday afternoon.

ABC Television has once again been a strong partner of the WAFL competition throughout the 2013 season broadcasting a match every Saturday afternoon, or as has been the case during the finals on Sunday.

They will again be on air from 2pm on Sunday led by Clint Wheeldon, Phil Lamb and Ken Judge to provide all the action from the first derby grand final between West Perth and East Perth since 2002.

On top of the television broadcast, 720 ABC Perth will be covering the game on radio as a continued strong supporter of the WAFL competition. The broadcast will be available on 720am, ABC Grandstand Digital and at www.abc.net.au/perth.

882 6PR might not have been a regular broadcaster of WAFL matches during the season but are on board for the grand final to provide their unique coverage of the premiership decider on Sunday. It will be available on 882am and at www.6pr.com.au.

990am Information Radio will be on air from 1pm on Sunday for the station's 11th consecutive broadcast of a WAFL grand final.

Regular commentators Russell Dower and Brendan Rhodes will be joined by former Claremont captain and 2005 Sandover Medallist Jaxon Crabb to not only broadcast the game and call the grand final, but all up 990am will be on air for four and-a-half hours on Sunday.

In addition to coverage pre and post-match of the grand final itself, 990am will also be announcing the winners of the Player of the Year and Rising Star awards during the broadcast.

The broadcast will also be available through Radio 6GS 1422am in the Upper Great Southern, via digital radio and online at www.radiogreatsouthern.com.

91.3 SportFM will be on air for the longest of all stations on Sunday commencing their coverage of the 2013 grand final at 12.30pm with the pre-match not only featuring the usual commentary team but also a host of guests leading up to the big game.

The station has been a tremendous supporter of the WAFL again in 2013 not only presenting WAFL World each week on a Wednesday evening, but club shows from Swan Districts, East Fremantle and Perth weekly, and regular interviews with past and present WAFL personalities. 

Hot Country Digital, powered by 6IX, is a newcomer to broadcast the WAFL in 2013 and with a commentary team made up of Glen Mitchell, John Lennon and Ryan Turnbull, have been a tremendous addition to the competition.

They will again be broadcasting the grand final on Sunday and will be available on digital radio or online by clicking here: http://www.hotcountryfootball.com.au/

BY CHRIS PIKE