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BILL'S GRILL – ROUND 5

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 9:49 AM

WE are excited by our start to the season, but we know that this week against Claremont is a huge test and we are going to have to be at our very best. Anything less than our very best will leave us vulnerable.

Claremont are the yard stick for everyone at the moment. There were reports that they weren’t that advanced in their pre-season training, that they had a couple of weeks off and a couple of their more senior players even a bit more time. Word has it that a couple were contemplating retirement and as part of the negotiation to get them play on that was part of it, but they are a fit side, they have hard bodies and generally are a mature side.

They are going very well for a side who might have been two or three weeks behind the other sides leading into pre-season. They do have some injury concerns at the moment, but they have also been able to bring in some recruits with Seaby and Williams, and a couple of their reserves players who have been around for a couple of years playing in premierships and have stepped up especially Fong, Davies and Hamp. I guess opportunity, belief and confidence can do wonders for players like that.

They are going to be a difficult side whether they have a couple out with injuries or not. They still have access to a couple of AFL blokes and McGinnity played last week so there's still a fair bit of quality there. Murphy is a genuine on-ball star in this competition, Andrews is the back-up ruckman and they have quality all over the ground so we are going to need to be at our best.

It's their depth and quality of the people they can run through that sets them apart. We've played them when they have started Andrew Foster, Ian Richardson and Paul Medhurst all on the bench. There's a fair few other coaches who would die to have them in their starting 18.

I think historically Claremont has always been perceived as a side and group of players who might have been soft and you can go back a number of years and come up with 100 different names that Claremont has been called. But the last three or four years they have been as hard at the contest as any other side in the competition and they have a lot of strong, mature bodies. They have good quality and have been well coached, but they match that with a strong physical brand of football, and run as hard as anyone else in the competition.

Marc Webb is their coach and I know him well, and he was an outstanding leader as a player and from the outside he is as a coach. He wasn’t, and I'm sure he will say the same thing, the world's most talented player and he got the most out of himself and he was able to command respect in the players and set a great example. They are all attributes you need as a coach and I think he keeps it relatively simple, he is honest and open as a person and is coaching the same way.

The ruck battle will be great to watch and I guess you can say that there will be a victory to a West Perth ruckman with Chris Keunen taking on Mark Seaby and Mitch Andrews. We were disappointed that Seabs didn’t come back to the club, but he made a decision and he's in good form and is giving Claremont's on-ballers first use of the ball with his great ruck work. Mitch is a talented ruckman and it was more a set of circumstances than anything that led him away from us, and one of those was Andrew Ruck going down for Claremont and he was available.

He has been lucky enough to play in two premierships there and he is a quality ruckman as well, but we think Chris holds his own against all ruckmen in the competition. There probably are issues around the clinches against the big bodies because even though he's 200cm, he only weighs 87kg and he is up against guys weighing over 100kg so he's going to get pushed around at times. But with his work around the ground he is as talented as any ruckman in the competition. We might lose a little bit at times at the actual stoppages, but his whole effect on games is enormous and we expect him to have another big game this week.

Obviously this Saturday is a big game, but the group has been excited ever since coming back for pre-season. They came back full of enthusiasm and wanting to improve, and we have a number of young players who have come through our system plus we've added a couple from outside like Kerr, Fowler and Manzone. It might be that if this group stays together for a three or four-year period they will continue to improve and set high standards throughout the competition.

At this stage, Jason Salecic is on track to come back for Saturday as well. He got through training on Tuesday night and he will play now barring any mishap at training on Thursday. We think that Hutchy has to be a chance around West Coast at some stage with the form he's in and we have a few guys in the reserves who are playing really good footy. They were fantastic on the weekend so hopefully the pressure will keep coming from below to help us keep performing in the league side.

BY BILL MONAGHAN

SIX FALCONS IN WA STATE SQUAD

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 6:27 PM

AARON Black, Steven Browne, Rohan Kerr, Shane Nelson, Andrew Strijk and Jay van Berlo have all been included in Western Australia's initial squad preparing to play the VFL in Northam on Saturday May 11.

The six West Perth players have been rewarded for their outstanding form so far this season that has seen the Falcons remain unbeaten after five rounds following strong wins over East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder.

While Jordan Jones, Chris Keunen, Laine Rasmussen, Luke Tedesco, Ray Bartholomew and Michael Pettigrew deserve to be considered somewhat unlucky for also not being included for the initial squad, the six players in the mix have had outstanding starts to the season.

Young midfielders Black and Browne have both continued to emerge as two of the best and most exciting prime movers in the competition.

Both Strijk and van Berlo have returned to West Perth this season full-time after their times on West Coast and Fremantle's lists respectively came to an end, and have been tremendous with Strijk playing a new role half-back and van Berlo playing a variety of different roles.

Browne is having another tremendous season mostly off half-back but also spending time up the ground in the middle or on the wing while Kerr has made an immediate impact on arrival from Carlton this season highlighted by his six goals against Peel last Saturday.

The initial squad of 33 will commence training at Fremantle Oval at 5.30pm on Monday April 22 and train another four times in the lead up to the game including a session at Northam (4pm Friday, May 10). 

Claremont premiership coach Marc Webb will coach the side after leading the Tigers to both the WAFL and Foxtel Cup flags in his first season as a senior coach last year.

Webb said he was excited about the opportunity to coach WA and looking forward to leading the WAFL’s top players into action against the best from the VFL.

“As a player it was something I always aspired to do and now to have the opportunity to coach the State side is great. We haven’t beaten the Vics for quite a while so it’s going to be a great challenge,” Webb said.

He will be assisted in the role by current East Perth and former State coach Brian Dawson, former State 18s coach, Dockers and Claremont player Brad Wira, and ex-East Perth and Carlton player Adam Pickering.

Players will be added to or removed from the squad based on form and fitness in the lead-up to the game, with a final side to be named at a jumper presentation on Wednesday May 8.

WAFL fans can select their own side and have the chance to win some great prizes in the WAFL State Team Competition proudly supported by The West Australian by visiting – www.wafl.com.au/stateteam

WAFL STATE SQUAD

Claremont – David Crawford, Anton Hamp, Trinity Handley, Jake Murphy, Ryan Neates, Ian Richardson, Mark Seaby

East Fremantle – Steven Dodd, Rory O’Brien, Andrew Stephen

East Perth – Paul Johnson, Brendan Lee, Garry Moss, Josh Smith, Craig Wulff

Peel Thunder – Paul Bower, Marlon Motlop

Perth – Paul Bevan

South Fremantle – Sean Tighe

Subiaco – Jason Bristow, Brett Mahoney, Jarrod Kayler-Thomson

Swan Districts – Tallan Ames, Tim Geappen, Kyle Hams, Graham Jetta, Wayde Twomey

West Perth – Aaron Black, Steven Browne, Rohan Kerr, Shane Nelson, Andrew Strijk, Jay van Berlo

BY CHRIS PIKE

WE NEED YOU!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 1:55 PM

The West Perth Football Club is seeking a volunteer to assist at training on Tuesday nights.

We are looking for someone who is reliable and committed each week to pick up pasta for the Senior Squad from Bella Fonte Italian Restaurant at Hillarys Boat Harbour and deliver it to the Arena Joondalup. Ideally this would suit someone who lives in Hillarys or the surrounding suburbs. It's a great way to get up close and personal with the players and assist them with their preparation for their upcoming games.

You will be supplied with an official staff polo shirt and offered fantastic benefits as a West perth Falcons volunteer.

If you are interested in learning more about the role & helping the West Perth Football Club, please contact Jessy at the club on 08 9300 3611 or via email to promotions@falconsfc.com.au.

2013 PRESIDENT'S LUNCHEONS

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 11:29 AM

Each home game the West Perth Football Club host a President's Luncheon function in the Premiers Suite before the League game for members, sponsors and special guests to enjoy.

For just $70, guests receive a buffet lunch, wine, beer & soft drinks throughout the lunch, free entry into the ground, a Football Budget magazine, VIP parking, afternoon tea at half time and reserved seating in the Whinnen Dempsey Grandstand. And you may even spot some past players, sporting heroes and / or celebrities like Basil Zempilas and Number 1 Ticket Holder Dennis Cometti at a lunch!

The luncheon starts at 12:30pm before a home game with doors opening at 12:15pm and the lunch concludes at 2pm just before the League game commences. Each table can seat between 8 and 11 guests.

This is the perfect way to treat your staff, treating your family or just watching the footy in style!

Our remaining home games for 2013 are as follows:

- Round 10 vs Perth - Saturday 25 May

- Round 12 vs Claremont - Saturday 8 June

- Round 14 vs Subiaco - Saturday 22 June - 2003 Premiership Reunion Lunch

- Round 18 vs South Fremantle - Saturday 20 July - International Round Garlic Muncher's Challenge

- Round 19 vs East Perth - Saturday 27 July - Derby Lunch

- Round 20 vs Peel Thunder - Saturday 3 August

- Round 22 vs East Fremantle - Sunday 18 August

Round 12 vs Claremont and Round 20 vs Peel Thunder will both be stand up functions instead of sit down functions with a cocktail style lunch. The cost for these two luncheons is $50 per person instead of the normal $70 per person. 

If you are interested in booking seats to one of our President's Luncheons, please contact the club on 08 9300 3611 or by email to reception@falconsfc.com.au. Payment must be made before the lunch to secure your booking. RSVP's close for each lunch at 5pm on the Monday before each luncheon.

 

2013 PETER DAICOS LUNCH

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 9:54 AM

TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE!

The West Perth Football Club is proud to announce that AFL Legend & Collingwood 1990 Premiership Player Peter Daicos will be speaking at our first corporate luncheon for 2013 on Friday the 10th of May at the Stirling Adriatic Centre.

Daicos played 250 games for the Magpies and kicked 549 goals throughout his illustrious career. He is one of the greatest players in the history of the Australian Football League, being a member of the AFL Hall of Fame and was renowned for his consistent ability to kick freakish goals from seemingly impossible angles. During his 250 game career his league honours included the 1990 Premiership, 1991 Goal of the Year and Collingwood Best & Fairest in 1982 and 1988.

We are extremely delighted to have Peter at our luncheon and look forward to a very entertaining afternoon with the 'Macedonian Marvel' himself.

Tickets are $100 per person including GST and your ticket includes a scumptious lunch, wine, beer and soft drinks.

2013 PETER DAICOS LUNCH INVITATION

If you would like to attend the lunch, please download the booking form and forward back to the club to confirm your attendees.

2013 PETER DAICOS LUNCH BOOKING FORM

You can send the booking form back to the club by the following methods:

Fax to: 08 9300 3612

Email to: promotions@falconsfc.com.au

Post to: PO Box 11, JOONDALUP WA 6919

Please note that payment must be received to confirm your booking.

Make sure you get your RSVP's in quick so you don't miss out!!!

JESSY EDMUNDS

PROMOTIONS OFFICER

FALCONS MAKE IT FOUR STRAIGHT

Monday, April 15, 2013 - 11:17 AM

West Perth maintained their impressive start to the season with a dominant fifty eight point victory over Peel at the Arena on Saturday.

It was an even first half but the Falcons fitness and skill level was again to the fore as they ran away with the game in the second half.

It was a tight contest early and it wasn’t until the ten minute mark that the first goal was scored. This went to the Falcons when Marc Crisp received a handball after a bounce down and finished from twenty. “Chippa” has become a regular goal kicker in recent games. The second came shortly after when exciting prospect Matt Johnson bounced and carried the ball before he passed to Matt Fowler thirty out. He proceeded to kick the first of his three for the day. West Perth led by eleven at this stage and was doing best in a scrappy encounter. The next goal didn’t come for nearly ten minutes and it went to impressive recruit Rohan Kerr who read the ball off hands to kick the first of his six for the game. At the twenty five minute mark Nick Rodda kicked accurately from the boundary to give the Falcons the first four goals of the game and a twenty three point lead. Peel had the best of the last five minutes to kick their only two goals of the term and they were back in the game to trail by only eleven at the first change. Scores were 4.3 (27) to 2.4 (16).

Peel continued their good run into the second quarter and kicked the first two to lead by one after eight minutes. One of these was a second to impressive debutant Laine Wilkins. The rest of the quarter was a dour contest but West Perth kicked consecutive behinds to regain the lead before Nick Rodda once again showed his goal scoring ability by kicking his second after some good work by Mark Hutchings and Anthony Tsalikis. The seven point lead was reduced after a goal to Peel’s Kristin Thornton. The Falcons kicked the last two of the term though to have the momentum going into the main break. Nick Rodda kicked his third and Anthony Tsalikis marked fifty out right on the siren. His straight kick was a team lifting goal and gave the Falcons a thirteen point lead; 7.6 (48) to 5.5 (13).

The second half was all the Falcons as they took control of the ball and clearances. Their defensive pressure and running in waves saw them exert tremendous pressure on Peel and the score board reflected this dominance. The game was over after ten minutes during which time West Perth kicked four goals. Rohan Kerr started the run with his second after marking forty out, Matt Guadagnin finished on the run from thirty on a sharp angle, Josh Mellington roved the ball off the pack to kick his first and the run was completed when a series of precise passes enabled Jay Van Berlo to kick accurately from forty. Midway through the term Kristin Thornton kicked his second and Peel’s sixth. Kody Manning was responsible for the Falcon’s final goal for the term when he laid a great tackle which saw the ball spill to Matt Fowler who kicked his second. The lead was thirty seven at three quarter time; 12.9 (81) to 6.8 (44).

The final term was more of the same with the lead out to sixty four by the twenty three minute mark. Rohan Kerr led the way with three classy finishes and Marc Crisp kicked his second. Towards the end of the term Peel kicked two but the last major of the game went to Matt Fowler who kicked his third from forty. He is a beautiful kick for goal. Final scores were 17.13 (115) to 8.9 (57).

Once again there was a lot to like about the West Perth victory. The pressure on the ball and running in waves have been consistent features of the Falcon victories this year. This will be put to the test against competition trendsetters, Claremont, next week. There were a number of best players and they included Andrew Strijk who sets up a lot of play from half back, Chris Keunen whose ruck work continues to give midfielders opportunities, Kody Manning for his hard attack on the football, Jordan Jones who has become a key plank of the back half, Matt Guadagnin for his work around the stoppages and best was Rohan Kerr for his six majors.

Dan Hunt and Michael Pettigrew continued their terrific form down back and are both playing very good football. Congratulations to the Reserves who played a brand of football reflecting the league side to run out easy victors. Best players were Frank Stockley, Trent Manzone, Jordan Mills and best was Drew Rohde who kicked seven. The Colts are also to be commended for their hard fought three point victory. A trip to Claremont next week to play the unbeaten Tigers. Be there to see what should be an exciting match.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

FALCONS BEAT PEEL TO IMPROVE TO 4-0

Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 11:05 PM

WEST Perth made it four from four to start the 2013 WAFL season with its most comprehensive performance to date on Saturday at Arena Joondalup beating Peel Thunder by 58 points.

Even though the Falcons did beat East Perth in Round 1 by 75 points, much of that damage was done in the second but on Saturday against the Thunder, West Perth was in control from the outset before running out 17.13 (115) to 8.9 (57) winners.

The Falcons have now beaten East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder to start the season with four straight wins leading into next Saturday's clash with the also unbeaten Claremont at Claremont Oval.

West Perth kicked four goals to two in the first quarter to be 11 points up at quarter-time but Peel was hanging in there with the Falcons just up by 13 at the main change.

However, the home side blew the game open in the third quarter with five of the only six goals that were kicked. That saw West Perth leading by 37 points at the last change and then 58 by the final siren with another five goals to two in the last quarter.

In just his fourth game for the club, Carlton recruit Rohan Kerr was the star of the day for the Falcons booting six goals from 15 possessions. Nick Rodda also booted three from just four kicks with Matt Fowler also making the most of his chances nailing three goals from seven kicks and five marks.

Marc Crisp also booted two goals for West Perth from 22 possessions and eight marks.

West Perth's midfield also racked up plenty of the ball with veteran Matt Guadagnin finishing with 28 possessions, Mark Hutchings 27, Josh Mellington 23, Andrew Strijk 22, Aaron Black 21 and Jay van Berlo 21.

Once again the Falcons defence was superb led by Jordan Jones keeping his former Peel teammate Brad Holmes goalless.

The West Perth reserves also had a big win over Peel prevailing by 48 points in the end.

Drew Rohde kicked seven goals and Anton Saylor three while Trent Manzone finished with 23 possessions and two goals. Frank Stockley also had 13 touches, six marks, 23 hit outs and two goals.

Joe Morrow and Kris Shannon picked up 18 possessions apiece.

The Falcons colts also recorded a thrilling three-point victory over Peel under lights at Arena Joondalup following the league game.

Tom Shadbolt, Tim Sutherland and William Michell kicked two goals each with Blake Acres picking up 27 possessions and Shadbolt 21.

WEST PERTH                                                      4.3          7.6          12.9        17.13     (115)

PEEL THUNDER                                                 2.4          5.5          6.8          8.9          (57)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Kerr 6; Fowler, Rodda 3; Crisp 2; Guadagnin, van Berlo, Mellington.

Best: Kerr, Guadagnin, Jones, Nelson, Crisp, Mellington, Strijk.

PEEL THUNDER – Goals: Thornton 3; Wilkins 2; Travers, Crozier, Orzel.

Best: Bower, Hawksley, Garlett, Motlop, Faulks, Jones.

BY CHRIS PIKE

ROUND 5 PREVIEW V PEEL THUNDER

Friday, April 12, 2013 - 11:23 AM

WEST Perth returns to Arena Joondalup this Saturday to take on the winless Peel Thunder with the unbeaten Falcons looking to make it a fourth straight win to open the 2013 campaign.

The Falcons started the season at Arena Joondalup and beat East Perth emphatically by 75 points, but it has been on the road since then with West Perth beating Subiaco by 24 points in Round 3 and then last Friday night, South Fremantle by just three at Fremantle Oval.

That has all led to West Perth being 3-0 to start the season, though, heading into a clash with Peel who is coming off the bye last weekend following first up losses to Perth, East Perth and East Fremantle.

Despite losing, though, the Thunder have been competitive in all three matches and still have plenty of Fremantle-listed talent including Peter Faulks, Jack Hannath, Tanner Smith, Craig Moller, Alex Forster and Viv Michie.

Combined with experienced and talented players Pat Travers, James Hawksley, Matt Orzel, Brendon Jones, Kristin Thornton, Paul Bower, Brad Holmes, Marlon Motlop and Cruize Garlett, and Peel has enough talented to push West Perth.

Falcons coach Bill Monaghan certainly knows that even though West Perth holds a 16-2 record over Peel at Arena Joondalup.

At this stage, nobody is out of the West Perth team that beat South Fremantle last Friday night with Frank Stockley, Anton Saylor and Shaun Marusic coming into the squad. Captain Jason Salecic didn’t quite get up in time to be passed fit to play.

Monaghan will make sure the Falcons don't take Peel lightly.

"Peel has pretty good form for a side who is 0-3. In their first two games they kicked really poorly at goal and that probably made a significant bearing on those losses," Monaghan said.

"Then I went down and watched them against East Fremantle and their field kicking probably let them down that day.

"They were up and about, and even though East Fremantle skipped away a couple of times, they played some good footy and we will be foolish to think they won't play good footy this week."

It has been a month since West Perth has played at Arena Joondalup so Monaghan is looking forward to his team getting back out onto home turf come Saturday as Peel makes the biggest journey in WAFL football.

"It is always good to get back home," Monaghan said.

"The grass has grown back well and it has been a warm week with a forecast for some rain on Saturday, so hopefully it will hold off and we get a decent crowd for us to put on a decent performance in front of."

BY CHRIS PIKE

EMERGING STAR BLACK FOCUSES ON IMPROVEMENT

Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 8:00 PM

AARON Black is one of the young faces of West Perth looking to usher in a new era of success by being a key member of the midfield for years to come, but improvement personally and for the team continues to be his goal.

The 20-year-old has now played 42 league matches for West Perth having been a regular member of the team the last two years and now becoming a key cog of the midfield whether he's playing on the ball or on the wing.

He has had another strong start to the season including his best performance in last Friday's three-point win over South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval where he finished with 30 possessions, seven marks and four entries inside-50.

While happy with the way his game is developing, Black knows there are areas for him to improve in and kicking more goals is one of those. He has booted just 10 goals in his 42 games to date.

"I'm reasonably happy with my start but there are always things you can work on, and I think on the weekend it was probably my best game of the three," Black said.

"One thing that is really important for me is to make sure that I improve the attacking side of my game, and kick a few more goals but really I'm just happy for us to get the three wins on the board. That's the most important thing and if I can contribute, it's just a bonus."

Black was given his first taste of league football in 2010 with five games and by 2011, he had become a regular member of the team and by last year, a strong performer week in and week out in the midfield.

That has continued for Black this year and it's been a similar story for his good friend Shane Nelson.

"Definitely this year and towards the middle part of last year I really started to feel like it was my time and I started to show the coaches that they were right to show the faith in me to play me at such a young age. It's good to repay them for playing me so early and if I can continue the good form I have been showing," he said.

"Me and him always have little running competitions together because we are good mates and we push each other a little bit as well. We always get the most out of each other when we are out there playing. We do have a bit of fun and it's good to be able to play together."

While the young players like Black, Nelson, Marc Crisp, Matthew Johnson, Laine Rasmussen, Nick Rodda and Kody Manning continue to show tremendous signs of development, there's no doubt their progress is helped by the presence of Jason Salecic, Matt Guadagnin, Michael Pettigrew, Dan Hunt, Ray Bartholomew and Anthony Tsalikis, among others.

"We've learned a lot from those senior guys as well and it's great to have them around to help us, and they still give us a run for our money when they are in the middle with us as well," he said.

"It's definitely been a good help having them there and we really appreciate that Bill has given us an opportunity to get a run through the middle where we are hopefully repaying him."

Perhaps the most pleasing factors of West Perth's unbeaten start to the season is the fact that the coaching staff and playing group feel as though there is still plenty of improvement, but there's also plenty of pressure on for spots.

Anton Saylor, Michael Mascoulis, Alex Elisseou, Joe Morrow, Frank Stockley, Kris Shannon, Shaun Marusic, Brayden Antonio and Trent Manzone are in the reserves and more than capable league footballers, so the pressure is on for the entire 22 to keep performing.

"We've played really well in the first three games even though obviously there are a few things to work on, especially skill-wise," he said.

"Our kicking has probably let us down the most the first three weeks, so that's something that has been a bit disappointing but we know when that comes that we will be even better. Our defence has been really good the first three weeks and that's something we pride ourselves on under Bill.

"We are putting pressure on each other which we didn’t really do as much last year. We are putting pressure on each other to better ourselves and even though we're not playing at our best, to win games and win close games is good because we might not have been able to do that last year."

West Perth held on against a winless team South Fremantle last Friday night at Fremantle Oval and now returns to Arena Joondalup this Saturday for the first time since Round 1 to take on a Peel Thunder side that is yet to win a game in 2013.

Black knows that doesn’t mean it's going to be an easy task for the Falcons to come away with the four points though.

"It's a similar story to South Freo last week. They were 0-2 and came out and gave us a run for our money so we just have to take Peel like they are a top four side, and play like we have been and hopefully improve in the areas that we need to," Black said.

"We really try to make it a fortress and to win all our games at home, that's our goal. It's good to play in front of the home fans and get that support.

"Obviously you don’t get as much support at the other grounds and it's good to come back here. We like playing on the bigger ground too. It allows us to get our runners into space so they can take the game on a bit more."

BY CHRIS PIKE

BILL'S GRILL – ROUND 4

Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 10:34 AM

WE have been solid across the board, but I have been really impressed with our back six. We have a good blend of youth and experience down there and they have been a big reason why we are 3-0.

Dan and Petters have been outstanding and have really set the tone, and with Strijky back in the mix with Browney and Luke Ted there are some good players back there.

Rasmussen is also doing well and we have pushed Jordan Jones back to play as that third tall, and he's good in the air. He is 191cm and I don’t think people realise that he is a genuinely tall man so he has been able to play tall and a bit short at times, so that's added a bit to us. We are happy with the way they are going, but there are going to be other challenges throughout the year that we need to stand up to. At the moment it's holding up, though, and we just need to keep backing them in against whatever the opposition dish up to us.

With Strijky coming back to us the plan was to always play him back and we always thought Laine Rasmussen was a quality young player coming through and Petters was up and down last year, and had some significant issues with his knee. Whilst it was an area we potentially lost a lot in, we had been planning for Burnsy and Lecca to go at some stage, the one that threw us a bit was Dion Fleay but that's probably the role that Jordan Jones is playing at the moment.

Having Jordy in the side meant that covering 'Dizzy' hasn’t been a huge issue, but we also know that it's more to do with the quality of our defence all over the ground. We can talk about a back six, but football isn’t about that anymore. It's about the pressure you can put on from the goal line at one end to the goal line at the other end. We have been good at that even though there are still areas for us to improve in.

It was a really entertaining game last Friday and I thought both sides threw everything at it as you would expect when we were playing a side who was 0-2 and desperate to get on the board. Travelling down to Fremantle on a Friday night always poses difficulties and South are generally good down there under lights, and us coming off a bye is something we haven't been good at historically. I still think that's a general trend amongst the WAFL that sides lose a bit of continuity with a bye and can feel a bit rusty after it depending on what you do with that bye week.

With both of those being a reality on Friday night, we would have taken a win under any circumstances. Whilst we were good early, to South's credit they put us under pressure in the middle quarters and were fantastic. We got headed late in the third quarter, but the players really dug deep and played a really tough, grinding brand of footy to get the points in the end. It was a pleasure to sing the song and get out of there with another win before we start worrying about how we go about trying to beat Peel this weekend.

The players have great belief at the moment after a solid pre-season campaign followed by some good form in the pre-season matches meant that they have hit the season proper feeling confident in what we've been doing, and the structures and game plan that we are implementing. For them to be on the back foot really late in the second quarter after a couple of undisciplined acts, and then struggling to score in the third quarter and dig deep and get back to playing our brand of football was a credit to their belief in what we are doing, and also their work rate to sustain that.

We need to be careful that obviously we have started well and clubs are still feeling out where they sit in the whole pecking order, and the sides we have played might end up being good or they might not. It was great to be challenged on Friday and it was great to be able to stand up to that challenge, but we also know there are greater challenges ahead and we expect Peel this week to be just that.

BY BILL MONAGHAN