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BILL'S GRILL – ROUND 1

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 4:22 PM

WE couldn’t have made any better start to the season than our win in the derby on Saturday but we all know that it's just Round 1 and Subiaco this week will be a lot tougher opponent than what we saw especially in the second half against East Perth.

We did a lot of things right and unfortunately early on I thought some of our execution was ordinary with our skills when we kicked the ball away a bit, and we missed some relatively easy handball targets. But it was the first game of the year, hot weather and playing for four points the pressure was on early.

Then after half-time obviously when we got our running game up and going, we thought we had a clear pace advantage over East Perth and we tried to exploit that. It worked. That doesn’t mean we are always going to have a pace advantage or that we will always be able to play like that, but the most pleasing thing was probably the form of our young players.

We've got a good group of young players and what we need to do is keep them focused and make sure they keep trying to improve and don’t rest on their laurels after one decent game.

Once you start controlling the ball and kick goals, you naturally appear fresher anyway and it's really hard to chase when the game is gone. The margin probably blew out a little more than we expected, but it was really pleasing that the hard work over the pre-season paid off. They did things little bit different with our new strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley, but they've been impressive and that showed on Saturday.

You don’t go into games expecting to beat anyone by that amount and especially not East Perth. Traditionally once a side in derbies sneaks behind the crowd and coaches tend to fire up and the players lift to another level, but on Saturday I think it was just our ability to sustain our efforts that didn’t allow East Perth back in and that was pleasing.

Young guys like Shane Nelson and Aaron Black were great again in the midfield and they bring a real vibrancy to our group. They work hard off the track, they are good mates and that includes Rasmussen, Manning and good young fellas like that too. Rodda and Johnson graduated out of the colts last year and we are excited with what they bring, but we also need to keep remembering that it's Round 1 and we have plenty of work to do.


It was Matt Johnson's first taste of senior footy since playing in the Foxtel Cup last year, and for him to take them on and use his pace, and even give it off and keep going again was a fantastic way to start his career. Johnno has worked really hard and we are proud of the way he has embraced everything we've asked him to do, and he's taken on board some of the things that he had never done before in terms of tackling, chasing and second and third efforts. He has been a revelation through the pre-season and he just needs to make sure he stays grounded now.

Our experienced defenders were both fantastic and Pettigrew did a fantastic job on Josh Smith and Dan Hunt was able to float around as the second tall. Whilst we've lost a lot of experience, Luke Tedesco is in our leadership group, Steven Browne was used all over the park last year before settling down back and he has played a lot of state league footy, and 20-odd AFL games. We were able to use Strijky off half-back and Jordan Jones as well. We made an effort once we lost that experience down back to replace them with guys who have been exposed to the top level and that's been a real plus for us. Laine Rasmussen is also doing a fantastic job as a replacement for Dustin Burns.


Two of our recruits Rohan Kerr and Trent Manzone were both more than serviceable as well. It's a tough ask and very different adjusting to WAFL footy and even talking to them after the game knowing that we'd played our practice games at Fremantle and Peel, the two smallest grounds, to get out on Joondalup on a host Saturday afternoon in a derby could potentially expose guys who were playing on smaller grounds or in Trent's case in some ways what is a lesser competition. They did what was asked of them, but we think it could be six, eight or 10 weeks until they are playing their best footy once they get used to me, the playing group, the big grounds and the competition.

It's a derby week so that compounds it a little bit and the Eagles have a few injury concerns, Hutchy missed last week and there's a few rumours floating around that he might be in line to play for the derby, but we probably plan a scenario to have him and not to have him. Kepler Bradley is the other one and with Zac Clarke injuring an ankle probably means he is in the mix. We will pick a side with both of them and if we get them, then it's a bonus but we do have to make at least one change because we are going from 23 down to 22. We have to make one change and potentially up to three.

BY BILL MONAGHAN

THE BLVD TAVERN JOINS FORCES WITH THE FALCONS

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 11:13 AM

The Falcons are proud to welcome new club sponsor The Blvd Tavern to the club.

Managing Director Frank Cicchini has a long history of supporting the Falcons over many years.

With his fantastic venue in the heart of Joondalup and Falcons just minutes away at the Arena Joondalup it seemed a perfect fit for both parties.

West Perth President Brett Raponi welcomed Frank and The BLVD Tavern to the Falcons nest. “I am delighted that Frank and his business have joined forces with the Falcons. We are the highest profile sporting team in the Northern Suburbs and we reside right here in Joondalup on The BLVD’s doorstep. I am sure that the players, members and all football fans will appreciate the support and no doubt patronise The BLVD Tavern over the winter months ahead. On behalf of all Falcon fans I thank Frank for his commitment to support the Club in 2013 and urge all members to support the BLVD Tavern.”

The Blvd Tavern is a landmark location. The Blvd Tavern is situated on the corner of Grand Boulevard & Boas Avenue, right in the heart of Joondalup.

The Blvd name is an obvious abbreviation of the word Boulevard & is proudly the new brand. The building originally purpose built a decade ago is licensed for up to 600 persons throughout the Lounge, Bar, Cafe & Courtyard.

Check out the website for more details: www.blvdtavern.com.au.

AN IMPRESSIVE VICTORY

Monday, March 18, 2013 - 9:00 AM

A well drilled and hard running West Perth team were far too good for East Perth at the Arena on Saturday.

Their attack on the football, fierce tackling and four quarter effort was a reflection of the planning and preparation that has gone into the pre-season. The Falcons presented as a committed group of players with a specific game plan and a desire to be a competitive team in 2013.

The first five minutes of the game announced the arrival of youngster Matt Johnson. He was in everything and kicked the first of his six goals at the two minute mark. It was the result of carrying the ball from the wing, handballing it off to Matt Fowler, receiving it back and kicking from twenty out. Johnson also kicked the next two behinds and was responsible for the eight point Falcon lead at the six minute mark. The Royals kicked the next two courtesy of Ryan Maldenis and Gary Moss and they led by three midway through the term. Another youngster who was impressive was Nick Rodda and he combined with new recruit Rohan Kerr to get the ball into the hands of Matt Johnson for his second. The West Perth lead was out to nine after a long bomb from Ray Bartholomew bounced over the pack for a major. East Perth steadied to kick the last two of the term. One went to dangerous big man Paul Johnson. The Royals led by three at the first change; 4.1 (25) to 3.4 (22).

After five minutes of the second term East Perth led by fifteen thanks to a second for Paul Johnson and a first to Michael Swan. West Perth quickly settled and the lead was narrowed thanks to a strong Nick Rodda mark forty out. He kicked accurately. Shortly after Dean Cadwallader kicked his second to extend the lead but soon after Matt Johnson was once again back in the action. He kicked his third after he took advantage of a kick scrambled forward by Andrew Strijk. The margin was back to two when Anthony Tsalikis kicked the ball to the advantage of Marc Crisp who ran into an open goal. The Royals then took advantage of an umpiring non decision that should have seen a West Perth mark paid in their goal square to scramble a major. West Perth shrugged this aside to kick the last two goals of the half. The first was to Josh Mellington from twenty and a terrific chase and tackle saw Matt Johnson kick his fourth. It was a wonderful effort by West Perth to recover and regain the lead to be four points in front. They led; 8.5 (53) to 8.1 (49).

It would be fair to say that the Falcons dominated the second half. They continued to run in waves to support each other and set up scoring opportunities. Their attack on the ball was first class and the Royals wilted under the tremendous pressure. By the twenty minute mark the lead was out to thirty eight. Ray Bartholomew took the ball after an East Perth kick in to score his second, Josh Mellington snapped out of the pack from thirty to add to his total, a terrific passage of play that featured a number of players saw Rohan Kerr get the ball into the hands of Anthony Tsalikis who finished accurately, the new recruits in Trent Manzone and Rohan Kerr were involved when they assisted “Slick” to kick his second and the sequence concluded when a clever tap from Rohan Kerr enabled Matt Johnson to kick his fifth. It was a dominant period of football by West Perth and it was a pleasure to watch. The only East Perth goal for the term was a long kick from Craig Wulff. The Falcon lead of thirty eight was restored after the siren when busy forward Matt Fowler kicked accurately from forty. Going into the last quarter West Perth led 14.9 (93) to 9.1 (55).

The West Perth dominance continued in the final term and the final margin of seventy six could have been much higher as they kicked five goals ten to the Royals two behinds. The running in waves by the Falcons continued unabated for the term and it was a tribute to their fitness levels. The goal scorers for West Perth were the hard running Shane Nelson, Matt Johnson who showed another touch of class when he weaved between East Perth defenders to kick his sixth, Marc Crisp finished accurately for his second, Josh Mellington showed his class with a clever snap for his third and the skipper, Jason Salecic, received his reward for hard running with the final goal of the game. An impressive West Perth thoroughly deserved their 19.19 (133) to 9.3 (57) victory.

It was a consistent team performance by West Perth and any number of players could have been chosen for awards. Those to be recognised were Aaron Black, Jay Van Berlo, Steven Browne, Michael Pettigrew and best was Matthew Johnson. Dan Hunt would be considered unlucky as he hardly lost a contest all day. Two of the recruits, Rohan Kerr and Trent Manzone, certainly showed enough to suggest that they are going to be valuable acquisitions as they are both hard at the ball and use it very well. The Reserves were unlucky to lose by two points as they led until the last minute of the game. Best players were Mitch Van Berlo, Frank Stockley, James Embley and Joe Morrow. The Colts won by a solitary behind and have started the season well. Next week the Falcons take on Subiaco in a Friday night game at Medibank Stadium. See you there.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

FALCONS THRASH ROYALS TO OPEN SEASON

Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 12:57 PM

WEST Perth could not have possibly made a more emphatic or exciting start to the 2013 WAFL season than beating East Perth by 75 points in the derby at Arena Joondalup on Saturday.

After an even first half that saw the Falcons lead by just four points at the main break, West Perth put on a remarkable display of football in the second half to kick 11 goals to just one from its fierce rivals to run out massive 19.18 (132) to 9.3 (57) winners.

The 75-point win is the biggest in a Perth derby since East Perth beat West Perth by 76 points back in Round 1, 2002 at Leederville Oval.

West Perth came into the 2013 season confident after a big campaign over summer and with strong practice match form with good wins over South Fremantle and Peel, and that buoyant feeling translated into Saturday's incredible performance at Arena Joondalup.

It was an even opening half with East Perth kicking four goals to three in the first quarter to lead by three points at quarter-time, and then the Falcons kicked five goals to four in the second term to hold a narrow four-point lead at the half-time break.

However, it was all West Perth after the interval with the Falcons piling on six goals to one in the third quarter to lead by 38 points at the last change, and then another five goals nil in the final term to end up winning by 75 points.

The margin could have actually been much closer to 100 points had West Perth not also kicked nine behinds in the final quarter, but no doubt everyone at the Falcons would have been more than happy with the 75-point winning margin over the old enemy.

The star of the day without a doubt for West Perth was debutant Matthew Johnson. The 18-year-old did play one Foxtel Cup match last year, but Saturday's derby was his official WAFL debut and what an impact he made.

Johnson kicked six goals from 18 possessions and five marks to set the Falcons faithful alight.

He received good support up forward as well with Fremantle's Josh Mellington kicking three goals and Anthony Tsalikis two while Marc Crisp and Ray Bartholomew also chipped in with two apiece.

Emerging midfielder Shane Nelson continued on his form from last year to rack up 30 possessions, but he didn’t enjoy his time in front of goal kicking 1.5.

There were plenty more strong ball winners for the Falcons as well with Steven Browne gathering 24 possessions, Aaron Black 23, Jay van Berlo 20, Bartholomew 19, Jordan Jones 19 and Andrew Strijk 19.

Two of West Perth's recruits Rohan Kerr and Trent Manzone also had good debuts in the red-and-blue with 19 disposals apiece. Both showed that they look set to be more than handy pick ups throughout 2013.

Chris Keunen had a good battle in the ruck with East Perth's Paul Johnson and finished with 17 possessions, six marks and 25 hit outs.

While it was youngsters like Black, Johnson and Nelson who might have received all the accolades, veteran defenders Michael Pettigrew and Dan Hunt were outstanding with Jason Salecic and Matt Guadagnin chipping in when needed to help the young side shine. 

Earlier, the reserves lost a thriller by two points to East Perth with Anton Saylor kicking three goals and Max Alexander two. Corey Chalmers picked up 22 possessions, Aidan Lynch 22, Broderick Walton 20, James Embley 18 and Joe Morrow 17. Frank Stockley had 32 hit outs in the ruck.

The colts, though, started the day off on a winning note for West Perth with a 6.7 (43) to 5.12 (42) win over the Royals.

Nicholas Robertson was brilliant for West Perth with 36 possessions and two goals. Blake Acres also picked up 32 disposals, Jesse Kirwen 21, Luke Meadows 19 and William Michell 19.

 

WEST PERTH                                      3.4          8.5          14.9        19.18     (132)

EAST PERTH                                        4.1          8.1          9.1          9.3          (57)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Johnson 6; Mellington 3; Crisp, Tsalikis, Bartholomew 2; Salecic, Fowler, Rodda, Nelson.

Best: Johnson, Nelson, Black, Pettigrew, Browne, Kerr, Black, Hunt, Keunen.

EAST PERTH – Goals: Johnson, Cadwallader 2; Seal, Moss, Maldenis, Wulff, Swan.

Best: Wulff, Moss, Lee, Wilson, Johnson, Chartres.

 

BY CHRIS PIKE

ROUND 1 PREVIEW v EAST PERTH

Friday, March 15, 2013 - 10:59 AM

WEST Perth kicks off its 2013 WAFL season with a derby against East Perth at Arena Joondalup this Saturday with the Falcons backing in the strong work over summer to have them raring to go.

West Perth has had a strong pre-season campaign under strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley and now comes into the 2013 season proper on the back of impressive scratch match victories over South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval and Peel at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium.
That gives the Falcons some momentum, confidence and form to take into Saturday's derby against East Perth.
There will be new faces in the West Perth line-up including recruits Rohan Kerr (Carlton), Shaun Marusic (Frankston) and Trent Manzone (Queensland) while Jay van Berlo and Andrew Strijk will both be suiting up for the Falcons after being delisted by Fremantle and West Coast respectively.
While West Perth has lost some experience with the retirement of three champions – Dion Fleay, Brent LeCras and Dustin Burns since the end of last season, there is still a good blend of experience and youth in the 2013 team.
Captain Jason Salecic, Anthony Tsalikis, Matt Guadagnin, Michael Pettigrew, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen and Ray Bartholomew all have a lot of experience now while Steven Browne, Luke Tedesco, Strijk, van Berlo and Jordan Jones have also played plenty of senior football.
There is excitement surrounding the youngsters as well with midfielders Shane Nelson and Aaron Black coming off outstanding 2012 seasons, Matthew Johnson looking a likely type up forward and Nick Rodda the same down back.
East Perth will have the benefit of West Coast's Blayne Wilson and Cale Morton on Saturday ahead of the full alignment with West Coast taking place from 2014.
However, West Perth coach Bill Monaghan is just focusing on making sure he has the Falcons ready to fire come Saturday to start the season off on a positive note.
He certainly would like to knock the Royals off, though, and urges all West Perth supporters to get to Arena Joondalup and have a look at one of the last three 'real' derbies before East Perth joins up fully with West Coast next year.
"We will only get a couple more cracks at the real derby before that changes so I guess all those passionate West Perth people should frequent all three games against them this year starting Round 1 before we start having a derby with the East Perth Eagles," Monaghan said.
"They are always great challenges against East Perth, but at the end of the day whether it's East Perth or Claremont or Peel in Round 1, we just need to back our systems into place and we will pick 22 fit players who are eager to play.
"We will just go out and give it everything and we are confident that will be good enough."
BY CHRIS PIKE

West Perth has had a strong pre-season campaign under strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley and now comes into the 2013 season proper on the back of impressive scratch match victories over South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval and Peel at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium.

That gives the Falcons some momentum, confidence and form to take into Saturday's derby against East Perth.

There will be new faces in the West Perth line-up including recruits Rohan Kerr (Carlton), Shaun Marusic (Frankston) and Trent Manzone (Queensland) while Jay van Berlo and Andrew Strijk will both be suiting up for the Falcons after being delisted by Fremantle and West Coast respectively.

While West Perth has lost some experience with the retirement of three champions – Dion Fleay, Brent LeCras and Dustin Burns since the end of last season, there is still a good blend of experience and youth in the 2013 team.

Captain Jason Salecic, Anthony Tsalikis, Matt Guadagnin, Michael Pettigrew, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen and Ray Bartholomew all have a lot of experience now while Steven Browne, Luke Tedesco, Strijk, van Berlo and Jordan Jones have also played plenty of senior football.

There is excitement surrounding the youngsters as well with midfielders Shane Nelson and Aaron Black coming off outstanding 2012 seasons, Matthew Johnson looking a likely type up forward and Nick Rodda the same down back.

East Perth will have the benefit of West Coast's Blayne Wilson and Cale Morton on Saturday ahead of the full alignment with West Coast taking place from 2014.

However, West Perth coach Bill Monaghan is just focusing on making sure he has the Falcons ready to fire come Saturday to start the season off on a positive note.

He certainly would like to knock the Royals off, though, and urges all West Perth supporters to get to Arena Joondalup and have a look at one of the last three 'real' derbies before East Perth joins up fully with West Coast next year.

"We will only get a couple more cracks at the real derby before that changes so I guess all those passionate West Perth people should frequent all three games against them this year starting Round 1 before we start having a derby with the East Perth Eagles," Monaghan said.

"They are always great challenges against East Perth, but at the end of the day whether it's East Perth or Claremont or Peel in Round 1, we just need to back our systems into place and we will pick 22 fit players who are eager to play.

"We will just go out and give it everything and we are confident that will be good enough."

BY CHRIS PIKE

FALCONS PAY TRIBUTE TO EDDIE WYLDE

Friday, March 15, 2013 - 9:42 AM

The West Perth Football Club is mourning the passing of 1960 Premiership player Eddie Wylde who sadly passed away earlier this week.

A  Life Member of the Falcons, Eddie played 200 games and kicked 145 goals. An outstanding footballer, he was runner-up to Merv McIntosh in the 1954 Sandover Medal.

In 1960 he became a Premiership player and also represented WA in State football.

He was friends with both Ray and Don Marinko Jnr, growing up together and playing in the Temperance League and Mt Hawthorn Metropolitan League before they went to West Perth.

Eddie, Ray and Don all played in the 1960 flag.

West Perth players will wear black armbands this weekend against East Perth.

Condolences from everyone at the West Perth Football Club to Eddie’s family.

GET YOUR FALCONS SHIRT AT THE GATE ON SATURDAY

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 2:24 PM

MAKE sure you are dressed in red and blue at the derby this Saturday at Arena Joondalup by getting your limited edition Falcons t-shirt at the gate.

The limited edition shirts will be on sale at the front gate at Arena Joondalup on Saturday ahead of the season-opening derby when West Perth hosts East Perth.
The Falcons want everyone to be dressed in red and blue to show their support for the team as they run out and attempt to start the season off on a winning note against the old enemy.
These limited shirts are available in adult sizes for just $15 and in children's sizes for $10 and are a great way to show your support for the Falcons as the club gears up for an exciting 2013 campaign.
West Perth president Brett Raponi is excited by the initiative of getting West Perth supporters and members into the shirts, and hopes those that come to the derby at Arena Joondalup get right behind the idea.
"These are once off with limited stock. We want everyone in red and blue and this is an economical way for some to show their support for the Falcons," Raponi said.
"I saw the idea in Adelaide at last year’s state game . The SA jumper was replicated into t-shirts and they sold over 1000 on the day! I hope our West Perth fans now get right behind the concept."

The limited edition shirts will be on sale at the front gate at Arena Joondalup on Saturday ahead of the season-opening derby when West Perth hosts East Perth.

The Falcons want everyone to be dressed in red and blue to show their support for the team as they run out and attempt to start the season off on a winning note against the old enemy.

These limited shirts are available in adult sizes for just $15 and in children's sizes for $10 and are a great way to show your support for the Falcons as the club gears up for an exciting 2013 campaign.

West Perth president Brett Raponi is excited by the initiative of getting West Perth supporters and members into the shirts, and hopes those that come to the derby at Arena Joondalup get right behind the idea.

"These are once off with limited stock. We want everyone in red and blue and this is an economical way for some to show their support for the Falcons," Raponi said.

"I saw the idea in Adelaide at last year’s state game . The SA jumper was replicated into t-shirts and they sold over 1000 on the day! I hope our West Perth fans now get right behind the concept."

QUEENSLANDER MANZONE READY FOR DERBY DEBUT

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 12:36 PM

TRENT Manzone was instantly impressed with what he saw at West Perth in the derby win late last year and now the Queensland recruit can't wait to run out there to make his debut for the Falcons this Saturday against the Royals.
Manzone arrives from Queensland where he most recently played in the new North Eastern Australian Football League with Apsley as a talented and hard-running wingman/half-back with good kicking skills.
He saw firsthand what a Perth derby was like in Round 24 last year and now can't wait to play in one himself when he lines up for West Perth against East Perth at Arena Joondalup this Saturday.
"Everyone has been telling me not only that there's a rivalry, but about the amount of people that come and watch the game. Even last year when we played East Perth and there wasn’t much riding on it, there was a lot of excitement with that many people at the game," Manzone said.
"It's good to have that rivalry and back home there were only little rivalries because the competition isn’t really old enough. It's good being here having those cross-town rivals and I've got my parents coming across for my first game, so they are pretty excited to see me run out of the first time and so am I."
West Perth did welcome Manzone into its nest late last year for the derby with East Perth which the Falcons won in the final round. He was impressed with everything he saw as a spectator that day and from that day on he always knew he wanted to be part of the club.
"They did bring me over at the end of last year to watch them play East Perth in the last round so I got to know the blokes then and they were really inviting, so that was pretty good," he said.
"Anything and everything I have needed in the move, the club has had answers or got me to the right people and they have done everything they can to help me settle in. It's only been training that has been the hard part really and that's to be expected."
While perhaps best suited to a role running off half-back where he can show his kicking and running abilities, Manzone is happy to play where coach Bill Monaghan wants him to in the side, but he does feel the running style of WAFL football will suit him down to the tee.
He also is fitter than he's ever been after the pre-season session under strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley.
"Last year I played the last three quarters of the year across half-back and played really well. I was pretty happy with the way I was at with it, but other than that I've always played through the midfield or when I was even younger, forward," he said.
"But I've told Bill I will play wherever they need me whether it half-back, forward, midfield or wing. I will just be happy if I'm getting a game and playing to my standards. I think it's just the load of training that I've had to adjust to.
"At home we would train Monday, Tuesday and Thursday but Monday was a recovery session, and Tuesday and Thursday was always tough for me to get to all the time because it was an hour's drive from the sunshine coast and the training is on a different level here.
"Soles is our strength and conditioning coach here and he's the best one I've had so far and the intensity and level of training is a bit better. There are grounds here twice the size of back home but it's just the load and time spent training is a step up here.
"Ross Parker is one of the reasons I came across and he always let me know that the speed was one thing with WAFL footy, but the fitness really is the thing I had to get on top. Blokes here aren’t really focused on being big and strong, it's all about fitness and that long distance running."
Even though Manzone had some distant family living in WA who he has connected up with, he essentially made the move along with his girlfriend while knowing nobody in the entire state.
That didn’t scare him off, though, in fact he was looking forward to that challenge and has enjoyed the whole pre-season.
"I have some family as such over here on my dad's side and I have got to know them to help me settle in, but I didn’t really know anyone at all when I got here. It wasn’t so much daunting, it was more the unknown of not being at home with the family and in your home state, but it's been good so far and has helped me grow up a little bit," Manzone said.
"I have really enjoyed the move so far. Even the last couple of years playing in the NEAFL it has always been an option to come across, and I was lucky enough to get offered a contract by West Perth.
"I have settled in well and the club has been pretty good, and the coaches are really good and the personnel are all great around the club. It probably has helped that I brought my girlfriend across too to help settle in and it's all been good so far."
Manzone has had one experience of playing in WA before when he represented Queensland back in 2011. He was one of the Maroons better players in a narrow six-point loss in Mandurah. He enjoyed that experience of playing against WA and now is glad to be part of the WAFL. 
"I was pretty glad I was lucky enough to play in that game and to come over here to play was a real eye-opener of what the new standard of footy is like," he said.
"We have a pretty good standard back home with Brisbane and the Gold Coast combined with the new conference, but to come across to WA and play against the best of the best from WAFL was good, and a real eye-opener to play against some ex-AFL players.
"I really enjoyed it and it was a good experience, and I played alright. The whole time our attitude was not to give up and play our style of footy, and the conditions went our way and we were lucky that Dayne Zorko kicked a few last quarter goals that got us back into it.
"We were pretty rapt to get within a goal considering two years before when we played them two years ago in Townville they did us pretty easily. All the boys were pretty happy in that aspect and it was good to see that the gap is starting to close between the two states."
While he still has no doubt that WAFL football will be a step up for him, Manzone has been impressed with the improved standard back home since the inception of the NEAFL to include teams from Sydney, Canberra, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
"The standard has really improved and you can see that by the quality of players starting to come into the league," Manzone said.
"My old team Apsley from last year have got Cheynee Stiller from the Brisbane Lions and have brought in another guy from SANFL, and are starting to get either ex-AFL players or players from other leagues like the SANFL or WAFL.
"The crossover of the northern and eastern conference gives you the ability to play that elite level with the travel, and it gives you the opportunity to go down and play in Canberra or Sydney, or up in the Northern Territory. It gives it that extra dimension and I have noticed since we went to the NEAFL there has been a lot more exposure and the play has been on a lot higher level."
BY CHRIS PIKE

TRENT Manzone was instantly impressed with what he saw at West Perth in the derby win late last year and now the Queensland recruit can't wait to run out there to make his debut for the Falcons this Saturday against the Royals.

Manzone arrives from Queensland where he most recently played in the new North Eastern Australian Football League with Apsley as a talented and hard-running wingman/half-back with good kicking skills.

He saw firsthand what a Perth derby was like in Round 24 last year and now can't wait to play in one himself when he lines up for West Perth against East Perth at Arena Joondalup this Saturday.

"Everyone has been telling me not only that there's a rivalry, but about the amount of people that come and watch the game. Even last year when we played East Perth and there wasn’t much riding on it, there was a lot of excitement with that many people at the game," Manzone said.

"It's good to have that rivalry and back home there were only little rivalries because the competition isn’t really old enough. It's good being here having those cross-town rivals and I've got my parents coming across for my first game, so they are pretty excited to see me run out of the first time and so am I."

West Perth did welcome Manzone into its nest late last year for the derby with East Perth which the Falcons won in the final round. He was impressed with everything he saw as a spectator that day and from that day on he always knew he wanted to be part of the club.

"They did bring me over at the end of last year to watch them play East Perth in the last round so I got to know the blokes then and they were really inviting, so that was pretty good," he said.

"Anything and everything I have needed in the move, the club has had answers or got me to the right people and they have done everything they can to help me settle in. It's only been training that has been the hard part really and that's to be expected."

While perhaps best suited to a role running off half-back where he can show his kicking and running abilities, Manzone is happy to play where coach Bill Monaghan wants him to in the side, but he does feel the running style of WAFL football will suit him down to the tee.

He also is fitter than he's ever been after the pre-season session under strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley.

"Last year I played the last three quarters of the year across half-back and played really well. I was pretty happy with the way I was at with it, but other than that I've always played through the midfield or when I was even younger, forward," he said.

"But I've told Bill I will play wherever they need me whether it half-back, forward, midfield or wing. I will just be happy if I'm getting a game and playing to my standards. I think it's just the load of training that I've had to adjust to.

"At home we would train Monday, Tuesday and Thursday but Monday was a recovery session, and Tuesday and Thursday was always tough for me to get to all the time because it was an hour's drive from the sunshine coast and the training is on a different level here.

"Soles is our strength and conditioning coach here and he's the best one I've had so far and the intensity and level of training is a bit better. There are grounds here twice the size of back home but it's just the load and time spent training is a step up here.

"Ross Parker is one of the reasons I came across and he always let me know that the speed was one thing with WAFL footy, but the fitness really is the thing I had to get on top. Blokes here aren’t really focused on being big and strong, it's all about fitness and that long distance running."

Even though Manzone had some distant family living in WA who he has connected up with, he essentially made the move along with his girlfriend while knowing nobody in the entire state.

That didn’t scare him off, though, in fact he was looking forward to that challenge and has enjoyed the whole pre-season.

"I have some family as such over here on my dad's side and I have got to know them to help me settle in, but I didn’t really know anyone at all when I got here. It wasn’t so much daunting, it was more the unknown of not being at home with the family and in your home state, but it's been good so far and has helped me grow up a little bit," Manzone said.

"I have really enjoyed the move so far. Even the last couple of years playing in the NEAFL it has always been an option to come across, and I was lucky enough to get offered a contract by West Perth.

"I have settled in well and the club has been pretty good, and the coaches are really good and the personnel are all great around the club. It probably has helped that I brought my girlfriend across too to help settle in and it's all been good so far."

Manzone has had one experience of playing in WA before when he represented Queensland back in 2011. He was one of the Maroons better players in a narrow six-point loss in Mandurah. He enjoyed that experience of playing against WA and now is glad to be part of the WAFL. 

"I was pretty glad I was lucky enough to play in that game and to come over here to play was a real eye-opener of what the new standard of footy is like," he said.

"We have a pretty good standard back home with Brisbane and the Gold Coast combined with the new conference, but to come across to WA and play against the best of the best from WAFL was good, and a real eye-opener to play against some ex-AFL players.

"I really enjoyed it and it was a good experience, and I played alright. The whole time our attitude was not to give up and play our style of footy, and the conditions went our way and we were lucky that Dayne Zorko kicked a few last quarter goals that got us back into it.

"We were pretty rapt to get within a goal considering two years before when we played them two years ago in Townville they did us pretty easily. All the boys were pretty happy in that aspect and it was good to see that the gap is starting to close between the two states."

While he still has no doubt that WAFL football will be a step up for him, Manzone has been impressed with the improved standard back home since the inception of the NEAFL to include teams from Sydney, Canberra, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

"The standard has really improved and you can see that by the quality of players starting to come into the league," Manzone said.

"My old team Apsley from last year have got Cheynee Stiller from the Brisbane Lions and have brought in another guy from SANFL, and are starting to get either ex-AFL players or players from other leagues like the SANFL or WAFL.

"The crossover of the northern and eastern conference gives you the ability to play that elite level with the travel, and it gives you the opportunity to go down and play in Canberra or Sydney, or up in the Northern Territory. It gives it that extra dimension and I have noticed since we went to the NEAFL there has been a lot more exposure and the play has been on a lot higher level."

BY CHRIS PIKE

KERR WANTS TO HELP LEAD FALCONS TO SUCCESS

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 6:17 PM

NOT only does Rohan Kerr want to offer plenty on the field to West Perth, but coming off his experience in the AFL with Carlton he wants to provide some leadership to hopefully put the Falcons within premiership contention in 2013.

Kerr joins West Perth for the 2013 WAFL season after spending the last three years with Carlton where he was taken at pick No. 59 in the 2009 draft from the Dandenong Stingrays.

While he couldn’t quite crack it for an AFL game, whether as a midfielder, wingman or half-forward, he played well at VFL level before being delisted at the end of 2012.

The 21-year-old wanted to make a completely fresh start and decided to come west. West Perth then proved his most attractive option and now after a strong pre-season with the Falcons, he can't wait to make his debut this Saturday against East Perth at Arena Joondalup.

"It's a big rivalry I hear and especially to have it at Joondalup in front of the home fans will be a bit more special. Hopefully we can get a win on the board to kick start 2013 off on a high note," Kerr said.

"Everyone talks up the East-West derby and it makes you want to try that extra bit harder to win it. It's something the boys have all been talking about and just can't wait to start the season with that.

"We have done everything in our preparation to give us the best chance to start the season off on the right note against East Perth."

West Perth wasn’t a completely foreign club to Kerr with his former Carlton teammates Steven Browne and Josh Donaldson in the group, and with Darren Harris highly recommending the club he is a premiership captain and coach of.

Kerr has found himself having no trouble settling in and already feels the West Perth culture rubbing off on him.

"It definitely has been different and I suppose that is one of the reasons I came here. The boys have made it a pretty smooth transition and I've known a few guys previously from Carlton like Browney and Darren Harris," he said.

"On that part of it, it's been pretty smooth and I'm enjoying the change so far both for footy and with the better weather compared to Melbourne. I've really noticed the mateship that everyone has. Over at Carlton it's a bit more serious and professional, and just to come down here with 50 of your best mates is really good.

"Everyone is obviously fighting for their spot, but at the end of the day you can walk off the track and everyone is mates, and is trying to succeed for the team to try and win that premiership. That's what we are all about."

Kerr feels that the pre-season with West Perth has been harder than his ones with Carlton simply for the fact that the same amount of work is crammed into spending significantly less time together as a group. He feels the hard work has paid off for himself and the team though.

"I actually think the pre-season has been a bit harder to be honest," Kerr said.

"Compared to an AFL pre-season, you pretty much do the same amount of things but just in a shorter amount of time because Bill only has six hours with us a week but at an AFL club, the coaches are with you all day, every day.

"From that part of it, the time frame is a lot less and the training load is definitely up there. The heat also gets you over here and that makes a difference when you are doing all the hard training."

While there is plenty of experience still in the West Perth group with the likes of captain Jason Salecic, Ray Bartholomew, Dan Hunt, Matt Guadagnin, Anthony Tsalikis, Chris Keunen, Andrew Strijk and Jay van Berlo, Kerr certainly has not been afraid to speak up and express his views.

That's something he will aim to continue to do and feels that having as much input as possible from the senior players to help coach Bill Monaghan and his coaching staff can only be beneficial towards building a successful season.

"You've also got Strijky and Van Berlo and guys like that who have had AFL experience, but if I can add to the group in any way with leadership or ideas, which I hope I have, then I will be more than happy to," he said.

"We are all striving for that premiership at the end of the year and if I can help achieve that in any way, I'm happy to do that."

Kerr sees himself playing a similar role with West Perth than he was in the VFL, but feels that the bigger grounds and open spaces of WAFL grounds could make him an even more effective player.

"I'll spend more time midfield and half-forward this year, and maybe towards the wing a fair bit to give the guys inside a bit of a chop out, and hopefully hit the scoreboard a bit more," he said.

"VFL grounds are a lot smaller and the space out here will definitely suit my game more. Personally, one of my strengths is being able to run so if I can use that to my advantage and if that can help the team in any way, then I suppose I'll be doing my job."

Kerr had West Perth highly recommended to him and now is already glad that he made the move, and will be more than happy to stay for some time unless another AFL opportunity opens up for him.

"Darren Harris was someone I had a lot to do with in the VFL and in development at Carlton, and I knew Steven Browne and Josh Donaldson who were playing here so that definitely attracted me here," Kerr said.

"I spoke to a few other WAFL clubs as well at the start, but these guys were more on the front foot and more approachable, and it just seemed right and I'm definitely happy I made the move. I'm more than happy with where I am at West Perth and I'm just taking it one year at a time.

"At this stage I will play this year and I've signed for two years, so I'm not looking beyond what is happening here at West Perth. If it happens in the AFL again then it happens and I'm sure West Perth will be happy for me, but I am happy here and hopefully we can bring in a premiership."

BY CHRIS PIKE

CORPORATE CLASSIC A MAJOR SUCCESS

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 2:03 PM

Another successful Falcons Corporate Classic has been run and won, and this year a new business has taken the main prize.

The winners are:

  • Major Sponsor – CK Plumbing & Gas
  • Associate Sponsor – Kitchen Headquarters
  • Associate Sponsor – Century 21 Gold Key Realty

It was another terrific night as all our valuable sponsors gathered in the Premier Suite to hear the announcement. Club President Brett Raponi drew out the 3 winners and the celebrations began.

West Perth Football Club would like to sincerely thank all Corporate Classic entrants. We had 80 entries in total which is another great result for the club as we surpassed our budget expectations.

The Jumper Presentation followed the Corporate Classic draw, and we were delighted to be assisted by members of the 2003 Premiership Team. This really added to the occasion as Brendon Fewster, Regan Duckworth, Brett Cousins, Glenn Britten, Troy Longmuir, Rob Hunt, Darren Harris, Callum Chambers, Todd Curley, Brendon Logan and Stevie Trewhella, assisted in handing out jumpers and reminiscing with a few tales from the flag year. It was great to see so many of these champions back at the club.


The Player Auction, held in conjunction was also well received with $40,000 raised on the night through some spirited bidding. We are very appreciative of all who attended the night and bid for player lots. Now that much of the off-field preparation has been completed, it’s time to bring on the season and start playing some real footy.