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FALCONS FINISH PRE-SEASON UNBEATEN

Monday, March 11, 2013 - 11:35 PM

WEST Perth made it two from two this pre-season beating a full-strength Peel Thunder by nine points at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

Coming off an impressive 56 point win over South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval in their first pre-season game, the Falcons were again impressive beating Peel 14.10 (94) to 13.7 (85) at Bendigo Bank Stadium following the Fremantle vs Western Bulldogs NAB Cup game.

The Falcons did fall 13 points down by half-time, but kicked six goals to two in the third quarter to set up the eventual nine-point win.

West Perth's attention now turns to the season proper that starts this Saturday at Arena Joondalup against East Perth.

Peel might have had 33 more disposals for the game than West Perth, but the Falcons were far more efficient having more inside-50 entries and 24 scoring shots to 20.

The differing game styles of the two sides was also clearly evident with West Perth having 241 kicks and just 112 handballs, while taking 126 marks and Peel's disposals consisting of 204 kicks, 182 handballs and just 92 marks.

Fremantle's Josh Mellington kicked four goals for West Perth from 13 possessions, eight marks and six tackles. Matthew Johnson also continued to put his hand up for Round 1 with another three goals with veteran Anthony Tsalikis adding two as well.

Shane Nelson had a breakout season for the Falcons in 2012 and it was somewhat of a surprise he wasn’t picked up by an AFL club, but that is West Perth's gain and he starred again on Saturday night finishing with 30 possessions, nine marks and a goal.

Steven Browne was also terrific with 28 possessions and 11 marks. Marc Crisp continued his emergence with 25 touches, Aaron Black 23, eight marks and five inside 50s, Jordan Jones 22, 15 marks and a goal and Ray Bartholomew 21, 10 marks and six tackles.

Recruits Rohan Kerr (20 possessions, six marks and four inside-50 entries), Trent Manzone (12 touches and a goal) and Shaun Marusic (11 disposals) also put in encouraging performances.

Former Port Adelaide defender Michael Pettigrew found some form as well gathering 15 possessions and taking eight marks with Frank Stockley doing well in the ruck with 11 touches, 10 hit outs and a goal.

Andrew Strijk, Matt Guadagnin, Matt Fowler, Steve Potente and Anton Saylor were among those that didn’t play against Peel down in Mandurah, but remain a chance to come in and play East Perth this Saturday in Round 1 at Arena Joondalup.

BY CHRIS PIKE

LES FONG 16'S DEVELOPMENT SQUAD ANNOUNCED

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 11:27 AM

The past 8 weeks following the Christmas break has seen our Les Fong 16's Squad ramp up training to two nights a week. All hard work and training has been noted and will ensure that players have had ample lead in to the upcoming WAFL 16's Development Carnival.

Tuesday 5th March saw the final squad recognised at their Jumper Presentation Night, held at Arena Joondalup. Les Fong, West Perth Football Club great was in attendance along with Gary and Jan O'Neill representing Kevrek Australia, West Perth Club President Brett Raponi and Directors Rebecca Daniels and Chris Erikson. Les was 7 time West Perth Football Club Captain, represented WA on 6 occasions, is a West Perth Football Club Life Member (playing a total of 284 games) as well as being inducted into the WA Football Commission Hall of Fame- and was able to impart some of his knowledge and love for the West Perth Football Club onto the players involved.

The boys will take on Perth Demons in a scratch match this Sunday 10th March at Brownes Stadium with bouncedown being 10:00am, great preparation for the clash next week against rivals East Perth FC following the league game. Please see a copy of all fixtures below and get along to see the boys in action throughout the carnival!

WAFL 16's Fixtures

Congratulations to the following players who will be pulling on the Red and Blue over the course of the WAFL Carnival:

1. Tim Smith

2. Jesse Montile

3. Scott Nelson

4. Joel Horgan

5. Jay O'Brien

6. Brad Pankasz

7. Ashley Duina

8. Angus Allen

9. Ben Mountford

10. Brandon Williams

11. Nathan Alexandre

12. Conal Lynch

13. Laughlan Roe

14. Kyle Hodson

15. Zen Best

16. Daniel Robertson

17. Trent Mullumby

18. Joshua Williams

19. Bayley Mohr

20. Ethan Mullane

21. Mitche;; Antonio

22. Kael Coleman

23. Alphonse Charlie

24. Lenny Brown

25. Alby Munns

26. Jordan Nelson

27. Josua Quaid

28. Samuel Elliott

29. Joshua Briggs

30. Roley Slater

31. Tom O'Brien

32. Riley Dolman

33. Jacob Turner

34. James Duyvestyn

35. Ethan Hills

36. Liam Logan

ANOTHER WEST PERTH GREAT IN HALL OF FAME

Friday, March 8, 2013 - 10:21 AM

THE West Perth Football Club was front and centre once again on Wednesday night when former premiership player and star goal kicker Frank Hopkins inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame.

Hopkins played 128 games for West Perth starting his career in 1926 and went on to kick 289 goals, including 79 in 1930 and was a key player in the 1932 premiership before finishing his career with Claremont where he added 70 games and 268 goals.
He also played 12 matches and kicked 39 goals in total for Western Australia, and on Wednesday night was inducted into WA Football's Hall of Fame alongside Ray Richards, Tom Wilson, Peter Bell, Chris Lewis and George Young.
The 1920s and 30s saw a whole host of spectacular aerialists but it was Hopkins that was regarded by many to be the best.
In all, he established a brilliant record over 15 seasons with both West Perth and Claremont where as a forward he kicked nearly 600 goals, won a premiership at both his WAFL clubs and earned selection for WA on 12 occasions.
Hopkins was born near Beverley in 1909 and burst onto the WAFL scene as a 17-year-old in 1926 as a tall rangy forward with brilliant marking ability and a superb long drop-kick.
He was a natural at centre half-forward from the outset where he played every game of his debut season to finish with 21 goals.
In 1928, Hopkins was selected in the West Australian team for the tour of the eastern states and by this time he was an established star. The WA Footballer on June 30 wrote, "Hopkins was nothing short of sensational. Seldom has a display of such brilliancy been seen on our grounds."
After another tremendous season for West Perth in 1929 where he kicked 62 goals and was centre half-forward in the centenary matches for WA against South Australia and Victoria, Hopkins reached his peak in 1930.
His regular displays of dominant form included him kicking 14 goals in the final game of the 1930 season against Perth and he clinched the WAFL leading goalkicker award despite the presence of Ted Tyson as West Perth's full-forward.
The presence of both Ted Flemming and Tyson in West Perth's forward-line from 1931 onwards saw Hopkins used at centre half-back in the most part for the rest of his time in red-and-blue, but he did play centre half-forward in the grand final of 1932 and kicked two goals in the drought breaking premiership.
Hopkins then went on to play the last of his 128 games with West Perth in the 1933 preliminary final.
After not playing football at all in 1934, Hopkins was cleared to Claremont in 1935 and became a highly reliable forward kicking 83 goals in 1936 and then a massive 120 in 1937 to be one of a record five players to record the century in that season.
Hopkins continued to live in Claremont until his untimely death in January 1960 aged just 50.
BY CHRIS PIKTHE West Perth Football Club was front and centre once again on Wednesday night when former premiership player and star goal kicker Frank Hopkins inducted into the WA Football Hall of Fame.

Hopkins played 128 games for West Perth starting his career in 1926 and went on to kick 289 goals, including 79 in 1930 and was a key player in the 1932 premiership before finishing his career with Claremont where he added 70 games and 268 goals.

He also played 12 matches and kicked 39 goals in total for Western Australia, and on Wednesday night was inducted into WA Football's Hall of Fame alongside Ray Richards, Tom Wilson, Peter Bell, Chris Lewis and George Young.

The 1920s and 30s saw a whole host of spectacular aerialists but it was Hopkins that was regarded by many to be the best.

In all, he established a brilliant record over 15 seasons with both West Perth and Claremont where as a forward he kicked nearly 600 goals, won a premiership at both his WAFL clubs and earned selection for WA on 12 occasions.

Hopkins was born near Beverley in 1909 and burst onto the WAFL scene as a 17-year-old in 1926 as a tall rangy forward with brilliant marking ability and a superb long drop-kick.

He was a natural at centre half-forward from the outset where he played every game of his debut season to finish with 21 goals.

In 1928, Hopkins was selected in the West Australian team for the tour of the eastern states and by this time he was an established star. The WA Footballer on June 30 wrote, "Hopkins was nothing short of sensational. Seldom has a display of such brilliancy been seen on our grounds."

After another tremendous season for West Perth in 1929 where he kicked 62 goals and was centre half-forward in the centenary matches for WA against South Australia and Victoria, Hopkins reached his peak in 1930.

His regular displays of dominant form included him kicking 14 goals in the final game of the 1930 season against Perth and he clinched the WAFL leading goalkicker award despite the presence of Ted Tyson as West Perth's full-forward.

The presence of both Ted Flemming and Tyson in West Perth's forward-line from 1931 onwards saw Hopkins used at centre half-back in the most part for the rest of his time in red-and-blue, but he did play centre half-forward in the grand final of 1932 and kicked two goals in the drought breaking premiership.

Hopkins then went on to play the last of his 128 games with West Perth in the 1933 preliminary final.

After not playing football at all in 1934, Hopkins was cleared to Claremont in 1935 and became a highly reliable forward kicking 83 goals in 1936 and then a massive 120 in 1937 to be one of a record five players to record the century in that season.

Hopkins continued to live in Claremont until his untimely death in January 1960 aged just 50.

BY CHRIS PIKE

2013 PLAYER AUCTION

Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 11:06 AM

IT'S ON TONIGHT! DOWNLOAD THE PLAYER AUCTION BOOKLET NOW TO GET YOUR BIDS READY!!!

The 2013 Season Opener comprises of the Player Auction and Jumper Presentation for the 2013 senior squad. It is our first event for the year and we need your help to make it a resounding success!

The Player Auction is a fun way for members, sponsors and supporters to get an even closer involvement with the West Perth player list this season. The Player Auction and Jumper Presentation will commence at 7pm in the Premiers Suite at Arena Joondalup.

By purchasing a players’ lot, you are eligible to receive a large cash dividend each week. The dividend will depend on the level of money in the pool. 50% of the funds raised go towards the prize pool whilst the other 50% goes into running our football department.

In 2012, the League dividend was $800.00 and for the Reserves, $400.00. One lucky person won over $9,000 last year when their players had a stellar season so if you pick the right lot, you could be in the money!

So take up the challenge, have some fun and become the proud ‘owner’ of our Captain Jason Salecic, 2012 Breckler Medallist Mark Hutchings, a new recruit like Rohan Kerr or an up and comer like Nick Rodda.

If you are unable to attend but are still interested in participating in the auction, please contact Jessy at the Club on 08 9300 3611 or by email to promotions@falconsfc.com.au with your maximum bid, player lot number/s and your contact information.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE 2013 PLAYER AUCTION BOOKLET

All sponsors, members, supporters, family and friends are invited to attend this exclusive event! The more the merrier so bring everyone you know for a great night out!

FRIDAY 8TH MARCH 2013

PREMIERS SUITE, ARENA JOONDALUP

Level 1 / Arena Joondalup, Kennedya Drive, JOONDALUP WA 6027

6:00pm to 7:00pm - CORPORATE CLASSIC SUNDOWNER

All Corporate Classic entrants are invited to attend the sundowner for some fellowship and the announcement of the 2013 Major Sponsor & Associate Sponsors. Drinks & cocktail food will be provided.

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE CORPORATE CLASSIC SUNDOWNER IS FOR CORPORATE CLASSIC ENTRANTS ONLY. ALL OTHER MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO ARRIVE AT 7PM FOR THE PLAYER AUCTION & JUMPER PRESENTATION.

7:00pm - CORPORATE CLASSIC MAJOR SPONSOR DRAW

7:00pm to 9:30pm - PLAYER AUCTION & JUMPER PRESENTATION

2003 West Perth Football Club Premiership players will be in attendance to present the 2013 senior squad with their playing Guernsey's for the season. We are extremely excited to announce that 2003 Premiership Coach Darren Harris & 2003 Premiership players Glenn Britten, Regan Duckworth, Callum Chambers, Todd Curley, Rob Hunt, Troy Longmuir, Brett Cousins, Brendon Logan & Brendon Fewster will be there on the night to help us kick off our first event for the year!

Join us as we celebrate their contribution to the Club & reminisce over the 2003 Premiership victory! Our Auctioneer Terry Hardie will commence the Player Auction after each lot of players are presented with their Guernsey's. There will also be a raffle on the night with the opportunity to win a Steve Trewhella Legend Football signed by the 2013 senior squad!

Beverages & snacks will be available for purchase at the bar.

Make sure you get in quick and RSVP by contacting the Club on 08 9300 3611 or by emailing your RSVP topromotions@falconsfc.com.au by Thursday the 7th of March 2013.

All those who RSVP for the Season Opener by Friday the 8th of March 2013 will go into the draw to win a LIMITED EDITION TRAINING GUERNSEY SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE 2013 SQUAD. The winner will be announced at the Season Opener with the prize available for collection on the night.

We urgently need your support as we start our campaign for the 2013 premiership so make sure you come down and be a part of the red and the blue.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Jessy Edmunds

PROMOTIONS OFFICER

BLISTERING START TO FALCONS' PRE-SEASON

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 1:23 AM

WEST Perth turned out for its first official pre-season clash of 2013 on Saturday night and went on to thrash South Fremantle by 56 points at Fremantle Oval.

It was a fit-looking, slick moving and well organised looking Falcons outfit that recorded a 17.11 (113) to 8.9 (57) victory over a South Fremantle team had already one pre-season match against Perth under its belt.

The Falcons will now take on Peel Thunder this Saturday night at Bendigo Bank Stadium to conclude their pre-season campaign before a Round 1 derby with East Perth at Arena Joondalup.

West Perth got off to a flying start against South Fremantle on Saturday night with five goals to two in the first quarter to lead by 21 points by quarter-time.

The Falcons' advantage extended to 27 by half-time but was down to just 13 at three quarter-time. However, West Perth had a big final term booting 8.3 to just 1.2 from South Fremantle to run out thumping 56-point victors.

It was a new-look forward-line put into action from coach Bill Monaghan and that saw Kody Manning and Matt Fowler boot three goals apiece.

Jason Salecic, Matthew Johnson and Ray Bartholomew all kicked two goals each as well.

Through the middle, last year's Breckler Medal winner Mark Hutchings continued his outstanding form that saw him rookie-listed by West Coast picking up 25 possessions, taking five marks, driving the ball inside-50 on four occasions and kicking a goal.

He had plenty of help as well with Fremantle's Josh Mellington terrific with 22 possessions, six marks, four tackles and four inside-50 entries. The only blight on his performance was his three behinds.

Experienced defender Luke Tedesco also picked up 18 possessions, Aaron Black 15, Shane Nelson 14 and Andrew Strijk 13. Frank Stockley did well in the ruck finishing with 10 disposals, 22 hit outs and a goal.

Former Carlton-listed player Rohan Kerr looked good with 12 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal with fellow recruits Trent Manzone (17 disposals, five marks) and Shaun Marusic (10 touches) also showing plenty to suggest they will be good additions to the West Perth line-up.

The Falcons were near full strength with only James Embley, Anthony Tsalikis, Shayne Zanetti and Josh Donaldson to try and come in for Round 1.

BY CHRIS PIKE

FALCONS TO GET NEW PREMISES

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 4:24 PM

West Perth Football Club will have a new Centre of Excellence at Arena Joondalup regardless of who wins the State election after Premier Colin Barnett today announced that a Liberal government would fund the project.

Surrounded by 128 years of West Perth memorabilia as he made the announcement, Mr Barnett said the State would provide $16 million for redevelopments at Arena, which also included a new basketball centre for the Wanneroo Basketball Association and more netball and rugby facilities. The City of Joondalup would provide $4 million.

West Perth has for several months lobbied the State Government and the City of Joondalup to help fund its plans for a $7.95 million AFL standard Falcons Centre of Excellence and Labor recently announced its support.

The facility, to be built where the main gate now stands, has been designed in consultation with the AFL, the WA Football Commission and the City of Joondalup and will make Arena Joondalup a viable alternative venue for AFL NAB Cup matches and AFL practice matches.

West Perth President Brett Raponi said it was a historic day for West Perth and the most important development since the club left Leederville for Joondalup at the end of 1993.

"I would really like to congratulate the State Government and the Liberal Candidate for Joondalup Jan Norberger for recognising the role West Perth plays in the local community," Raponi said.


"Jan has developed a good rapport with the club over a short period of time and I'm delighted he has endorsed the new facility. But I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Mayor Troy Pickard and the City of Joondalup, who have been advocating so strongly for the funds for Arena Joondalup and the West Perth Football Club.

"This is certainly the most significant development in our short tenure at Arena Joondalup because we now know that we will have a new facility regardless of the outcome of the election."

Among the dozens of onlookers who were on hand for this morning's announcement were young West Perth stars Aaron Black and Shane Nelson, both of whom are likely to get the chance to use the change rooms planned for the new facility.

The Falcons Centre of Excellence will also have administrative offices, coaches' rooms, a members’ bar to cater for 200 people and office space which the club will be able to lease out.

Mr Barnett said local sporting facilities were an essential part of a healthy community and West Perth needed a new home.

"The club has been based at Joondalup Arena since 1994 and has outgrown its existing club rooms," Mr Barnett said.

"The new facilities will give the Falcons the ability to run their own operations in a purpose-built home and secure the club's long-term financial viability."

Raponi said the new centre would allow the club to better support community football clubs in the area, most of whom did not have suitable facilities for their own functions.

He said the efforts of State Liberals Peter Collier and Andrea Mitchell and Federal Liberal Ian Goodenough had also been instrumental in securing the commitment.

MONAGHAN CONFIDENT OF REPLACING CHAMPIONS

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 2:23 AM

WEST Perth will be without three of their champions for 2013 following the retirements of Dion Fleay, Brent LeCras and Dustin Burns but League Coach Bill Monaghan is confident that the continued improvement of some young defenders stepping up.

The impact of the retirement of the trio who played a combined 463 games with West Perth, won a combined four Breckler Medals, two Simpson Medals and played seven matches for Western Australia will be felt particularly hard in the Falcons' back-line.
However, retirement comes to every player and Monaghan is confident that with the experience still there down back of Dan Hunt and Michael Pettigrew, and the continued development of Joe Morrow, Kris Shannon, Laine Rasmussen and Nick Rodda will still help West Perth have a strong defence.
Burns has been one of the best and most consistent small defenders in the WAFL ever since he arrived at West Perth from Wodonga in 2003.
He went on to play 171 WAFL matches, one in the Foxtel Cup and won the 2010 Breckler Medal as the club's fairest and best and is a three-time best clubman.
He retired at the end of last season but will long be remembered for his ability to both keep the opposition small forwards quiet and for his skills coming out of the back-line.
"It's never easy to replace guys who have been your better players for a long period of time and Dustin is a Breckler Medallist, and he was probably going as well at the end as he ever was," Monaghan said.
"What was Dustin's greatest strength was his speed to compete with the little fellas but his ball use was exceptional. We think in Laine Rasmussen and Kris Shannon that down the track they can develop into close to as good footballers as Dustin Burns.
"They obviously aren’t there yet, but our challenge is to get them up to that level and we are confident that in 12 to 18 months those guys will be playing really good league footy."
Despite being just 28, Fleay has been forced to retire from the WAFL because of a job opportunity that presented in Kalgoorlie.
His West Perth career ends with 146 WAFL matches, two Foxtel Cup games and three appearances for WA. Along the way he was awarded the 2006, 2007 and 2011 Breckler Medals and Monaghan has no doubt he will be near impossible to replace as a consistent and rarely beaten defender.
"He is going to be a huge loss with his competitiveness and he often fought out of his weight division, but he's got a really good opportunity to move to Kalgoorlie to work in the field that he's chosen," he said.
"He will be up there enjoying the coaching gig that he is and I think that will be a real challenge for him, but he's setting himself and his family up for future years and we wish him all the best with that. It's hard to replace triple Breckler Medallists obviously and I guess we don't need to say any more than that."
LeCras was a tremendous servant before and after his time in North Melbourne in the AFL and then in the SANFL with Port Adelaide.
The centre half-back and centre half-forward swingman finished with 141 games in the WAFL for West Perth, two in the Foxtel Cup and made four appearances for WA including winning the Simpson Medal in the thrilling win over South Australia in 2009.
He was a star in the 2003 premiership side and won the Simpson Medal for his performance on grand final day, and whether he was forward or back, he was always someone that Monaghan and West Perth coaches before him could always rely on to deliver.
"He has been a fantastic player as his record suggests. He played AFL footy, has won two Simpson Medals and is a premiership player, and played state league footy in three different states as well as up in Darwin," Monaghan said.
"He has been a real journeyman but has always put great quality out on the park, but at the end of the day had Lecca been here still we couldn’t afford to be building our side around Brent LeCras in his twilight years.
"We need to find the next Brent LeCras and it has just meant now that we don't have the option of going back to him when we are in pressure situations. We wish him all the best. Him and Lauren have just had their second baby so he is probably busy out catching crayfish and changing nappies."
Monaghan remains confident that with the likes of Rodda, Rasmussen, Morrow, Shannon, Shayne Zanetti, Josh Donaldson and the experienced Hunt and Pettigrew that West Perth's defence will still hold up solidly in 2013.
"Nick Rodda was really unlucky not to be drafted last year and he is looking fantastic, and there has probably been a bit of a query over his endurance but he has really worked hard on that during the pre-season," he said.
"He is looking in great shape and has the ability to play as a key back or even forward, or to pinch-hit in the ruck and we are expecting big things from him. Joe Morrow is only not a name that everyone talks about because he has been injured so much, but he has pretty much got through a full pre-season.
"With those two teaming up with Petters and Dan Hunt, we think that our tall back stocks are pretty good. Once Zanetti and Donaldson come back from some slight injury concerns as well, we think we will be well right down back for talls."
Monaghan is also looking to a much bigger impact from former Port Adelaide 100-game player Pettigrew in his second season back with West Perth.
"Michael, which is typical for guys straight out of the AFL system, had to adjust to being home more often and doing stuff around the house but also having to hold down a full-time job and then dealing with coming here as a part-time footballer," Monaghan said.
"That took a little while for him to get used to, but he also came out of the AFL system with some relatively serious niggles where his body took a little bit of time to get back into footy.
"We think he's pretty much over those now and the condition he's in this year compared to this time last year is a huge change, and we expect him to play his part in leading our inexperienced defence."

The impact of the retirements of the trio who played a combined 463 games with West Perth, won a combined four Breckler Medals, two Simpson Medals and played seven matches for Western Australia will be felt particularly hard in the Falcons' back-line.

However, retirement comes to every player and Monaghan is confident that with the experience of Dan Hunt and Michael Pettigrew in the backline along with the continued development of Joe Morrow, Kris Shannon, Laine Rasmussen and Nic Rodda, West Perth will still have a strong defence.


Burns has been one of the best and most consistent small defenders in the WAFL ever since he arrived at West Perth from Wodonga in 2003.

He went on to play 171 WAFL matches, one in the Foxtel Cup and won the 2010 Breckler Medal as the club's Fairest and Best and is a three-time Best Clubman.

He retired at the end of last season but will long be remembered for his ability to both keep the opposition small forwards quiet and for his skills coming out of the backline.

"It's never easy to replace guys who have been your better players for a long period of time. Dustin is a Breckler Medallist and he was probably going as well at the end as he ever was," Monaghan said.

"What was Dustin's greatest strength was his speed to compete with the little fellas but his ball use was exceptional. We think with Laine Rasmussen and Kris Shannon that down the track they can develop into good footballers like Dustin Burns.

"They obviously aren’t there yet, but our challenge is to get them up to that level and we are confident that in 12 to 18 months those guys will be playing really good league footy."

Despite being just 28, Fleay has been forced to retire from the WAFL because of a job opportunity that presented in Kalgoorlie.

His West Perth career ends with 146 WAFL matches, two Foxtel Cup games and three appearances for WA. Along the way he was awarded the 2006, 2007 and 2011 Breckler Medals and Monaghan has no doubt he will be near impossible to replace as a consistent and rarely beaten defender.

"He is going to be a huge loss with his competitiveness and he often fought out of his weight division, but he's got a really good opportunity to move to Kalgoorlie to work in the field that he's chosen," he said.

"He will be up there enjoying the coaching gig that he has and I think that will be a real challenge for him, but he's setting himself and his family up for future years and we wish him all the best with that. It's hard to replace triple Breckler Medallist's obviously and I guess we don't need to say any more than that."

LeCras was a tremendous servant before and after his time in North Melbourne in the AFL and then in the SANFL with Port Adelaide.

The centre half-back and centre half-forward swingman finished with 141 games in the WAFL for West Perth, two in the Foxtel Cup and made four appearances for WA including winning the Simpson Medal in the thrilling win over South Australia in 2009.

He was a star in the 2003 Premiership side and won the Simpson Medal for his performance on Grand Final day, and whether he was forward or back, he was always someone that Monaghan and previous West Perth coaches could always rely on to deliver.

"He has been a fantastic player as his record suggests. He played AFL footy, has won two Simpson Medals and is a Premiership player, and played state league footy in three different states as well as up in Darwin," Monaghan said.

"He has been a real journeyman and has always put great quality out on the park, but at the end of the day had Lecca still been here we couldn’t afford to be building our side around Brent LeCras in his twilight years.

"We need to find the next Brent LeCras and it has just meant now that we don't have the option of going back to him when we are in pressure situations. We wish him all the best. Him and Lauren have just had their second baby so he is probably busy out catching crayfish and changing nappies."

Monaghan remains confident that with the likes of Rodda, Rasmussen, Morrow, Shannon, Shayne Zanetti, Josh Donaldson and the experienced Hunt and Pettigrew that West Perth's defence will still hold up solidly in 2013.

"Nic Rodda was really unlucky not to be drafted last year and he is looking fantastic. There has probably been a bit of a query over his endurance but he has really worked hard on that during the pre-season," he said.

"He is looking in great shape and has the ability to play as a key back or even forward, or to pinch-hit in the ruck and we are expecting big things from him. Joe Morrow is not only a name that everyone talks about because he has been injured so much, and we are excited that he has pretty much got through a full pre-season.

"With those two teaming up with Petters and Dan Hunt, we think that our tall back stocks are pretty good. Once Zanetti and Donaldson come back from some slight injury concerns as well, we think we will be well right down back for talls."

Monaghan is also looking to a much bigger impact from former Port Adelaide 100-game player Pettigrew in his second season back with West Perth.

"Michael, which is typical for guys straight out of the AFL system, had to adjust to being home more often and doing stuff around the house but also having to hold down a full-time job and then dealing with coming here as a part-time footballer," Monaghan said.

"That took a little while for him to get used to, but he also came out of the AFL system with some relatively serious niggles where his body took a little bit of time to get back into footy.

"We think he's pretty much over those now and the condition he's in this year compared to this time last year is a huge change, and we expect him to play his part in leading our inexperienced defence."

BY CHRIS PIKE

FALCONS' PREPARATIONS HEAT UP FOR ROUND 1

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 2:23 AM

WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan has no doubt the Falcons have a squad capable of success as the 2013 pre-season gets underway this Saturday, but he isn’t putting a timeline when he thinks the group will peak.

West Perth's pre-season campaign begins this Saturday at Fremantle Oval with the colts game starting at 9am, the reserves at 4pm and the league at 6.30pm.

Then next Saturday the opponent is Peel with the league game bouncing down at 6pm with the colts and reserves both playing at Richard Guelfi Reserve in Balcatta. The colts start at 9am and the reserves at 11am.
West Perth has lost plenty of experience in recent years including the departures of Brent LeCras, Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Joel Rice coming into 2013 but there is still plenty of quality and exciting youngsters coming through.
Jason Salecic, Ray Bartholomew, Matt Guadagnin, Luke Tedesco, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew remain as senior players.
Andrew Strijk, Jay van Berlo, Shane Nelson and Aaron Black are among a group now gaining more and more experience with Kody Manning, Laine Rasmussen, Marc Crisp, Shayne Zanetti, Joe Morrow, Brayden Antonio and Nick Rodda among those young players expected to keep developing.
That all has Monaghan quite buoyant about the state of West Perth's list combined with the arrival of Rohan Kerr, Shaun Marusic, Trent Manzone, Steve Potente and James Embley.
"As everyone says at this time of year, we have been very happy with the pre-season. Probably the most pleasing aspect even though we have lost a fair bit of experience and quality, but we have seen a noticeable lift from our second and third tier players," Monaghan said.
"People are stepping up to the plate and taking a lot more ownership, and I think some of the younger players are really buoyed by the fact that there are openings in the side.
"We've lost four or five players who have basically been first 18 players for a numbers of years, so seeing guys step up has been pleasing and we've noticed that there has been a lot more communication and enthusiasm amongst the group."
While Monaghan is not quite sure when his group will peak, he has no doubt that things are on track for continued and sustained success at West Perth with the way the squad is developing.
"The great challenge for us is that we are going to be a young squad this year and last year was plagued by some real inconsistency," he said.
"What I can't predict at the moment is how quickly the squad is going to continue to develop, but we have a large number of exceptionally talented youngsters who I think are going to be long-term WAFL players and potentially push up to become AFL players. All I can ask is that the squad continues to learn, listen, develop and improve and there's going to be some fruit at the end of that.
"I don’t know if that will be Round 1 this year or in three years time, but we have a good number of 18 to 21-year-old's at this footy club who are exceptional talents. What our job is to accelerate their development and continue their improvement, and really work on their consistency.
"We as coaches and fans and supporters need to understand that when you play a large number of young kids there are going to be fluctuations in form. That's not an excuse, it's the reality and my job as coach is to make sure that the difference between our best and worst is a lot less than it was last year."
West Perth begins its season at Arena Joondalup against East Perth and with the Royals' upcoming alignment with West Coast that starts next year, it's one of the last three real derbies before that takes place.
Monaghan is looking forward to locking horns with the Royals to start off the season, but when it comes down to it then it really doesn’t matter who it is that the Falcons come up against.
"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."WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan has no doubt the Falcons have a squad capable of success as the 2013 pre-season gets underway this Saturday, but he isn’t putting a timeline when he thinks the group will peak.West Perth's pre-season campaign begins this Saturday at Fremantle Oval with the colts game starting at 9am, the reserves at 4pm and the league at 6.30pm.

Then next Saturday the opponent is Peel with the league game bouncing down at 6pm with the colts and reserves both playing at Richard Guelfi Reserve in Balcatta. The colts start at 9am and the reserves at 11am.

West Perth has lost plenty of experience in recent years including the departures of Brent LeCras, Dustin Burns, Dion Fleay and Joel Rice coming into 2013 but there is still plenty of quality and exciting youngsters coming through.



Jason Salecic, Ray Bartholomew, Matt Guadagnin, Luke Tedesco, Dan Hunt, Chris Keunen, Anthony Tsalikis and Michael Pettigrew remain as senior players.

Andrew Strijk, Jay van Berlo, Shane Nelson and Aaron Black are among a group now gaining more and more experience with Kody Manning, Laine Rasmussen, Marc Crisp, Shayne Zanetti, Joe Morrow, Brayden Antonio and Nick Rodda among those young players expected to keep developing.

That all has Monaghan quite buoyant about the state of West Perth's list combined with the arrival of Rohan Kerr, Shaun Marusic, Trent Manzone, Steve Potente and James Embley.

"As everyone says at this time of year, we have been very happy with the pre-season. Probably the most pleasing aspect even though we have lost a fair bit of experience and quality, but we have seen a noticeable lift from our second and third tier players," Monaghan said.

"People are stepping up to the plate and taking a lot more ownership, and I think some of the younger players are really buoyed by the fact that there are openings in the side.



"We've lost four or five players who have basically been first 18 players for a numbers of years, so seeing guys step up has been pleasing and we've noticed that there has been a lot more communication and enthusiasm amongst the group."

While Monaghan is not quite sure when his group will peak, he has no doubt that things are on track for continued and sustained success at West Perth with the way the squad is developing.

"The great challenge for us is that we are going to be a young squad this year and last year was plagued by some real inconsistency," he said.

"What I can't predict at the moment is how quickly the squad is going to continue to develop, but we have a large number of exceptionally talented youngsters who I think are going to be long-term WAFL players and potentially push up to become AFL players. All I can ask is that the squad continues to learn, listen, develop and improve and there's going to be some fruit at the end of that.

"I don’t know if that will be Round 1 this year or in three years time, but we have a good number of 18 to 21-year-old's at this footy club who are exceptional talents. What our job is to accelerate their development and continue their improvement, and really work on their consistency.

"We as coaches and fans and supporters need to understand that when you play a large number of young kids there are going to be fluctuations in form. That's not an excuse, it's the reality and my job as coach is to make sure that the difference between our best and worst is a lot less than it was last year."

West Perth begins its season at Arena Joondalup against East Perth and with the Royals' upcoming alignment with West Coast that starts next year, it's one of the last three real derbies before that takes place.

Monaghan is looking forward to locking horns with the Royals to start off the season, but when it comes down to it then it really doesn’t matter who it is that the Falcons come up against.

"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 LOOK FOR RECRUITS TO LIFT YOUNG SQUAD

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 2:11 PM

WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan is confident the Falcons have exciting young talent coming through that will be helped along by some recruits coming back from AFL, the VFL, Queensland and rival WAFL clubs.

While the Falcons have lost plenty of experience coming into the 2013 campaign with the retirements of Brent LeCras, Dion Fleay, Joel Rice and Dustin Burns, Monaghan is confident that within the squad there young players that can step up and develop enough to fill that void.

However, there are also new arrivals at West Perth for the season that are exciting as well.

Rohan Kerr arrives from Carlton, Trent Manzone from Queensland, Shaun Marusic from Frankston in the VFL, Steve Potente and James Embley both from Swan Districts and then Andrew Strijk and Jay Van Berlo return full-time after losing their spots on AFL lists with West Coast and Fremantle.

Kerr wasn’t able to crack it for an AFL game in his three years at Carlton, but in the VFL he played well largely as a running half-back who could also play in the middle.

That is the sort of role Monaghan sees him playing with the Falcons as well and already he has added some colour and vibrancy at the club.

"Rohan is a real character and it's good to have someone with a little bit of a left-field attitude at times. He has fitted in well, he's got plenty to say and he looks suited to the big grounds here," Monaghan said.

"He has good skills and gets over the ground well, and we expect him to have an impact but we also need to be aware that he has played predominantly VFL footy where the game is significantly different to here.

"We don’t expect him to be our best player early in the year, but over time we expect he will keep improving and add something to our squad. I think Rohan would like to think he will spend a lot of time in the midfield, but we think he can float between midfield, forward and back.

"I'm not settled into where his best position is, we will see that as the games progress but his smartness around the footy field and ability to kick the ball is high quality."

Manzone comes to West Perth from Apsley in Queensland who have been playing in the NEAFL. Two years ago he played well for Queensland in the nail-biting state game loss to WA at Bendigo Bank Stadium and Monaghan is confident he can come in and have an impact.

"It's good to have a Manzone to go along with our Sanzone. Trent is an exceptional kick of the football and he seems to read the play well and he's in good condition," he said.

"He runs well and has all the attributes to play good senior WAFL footy, but the unknown is that he has come from what is classified as a second tier competition even though it has picked up in that area.

"He might take a little bit of time to adjust to the tempo, but we think that his overall ability will hold him in good stead and we expect that because he is so keen, he will continue to improve and be a decent player."

Two players familiar with WAFL football, though, after Swan Districts pair Embley and Potente.

Potente always looked to be a supremely talented player dating back to his days in the colts at Swans and he broke through in 2009 to play 19 league games and cement his spot in the team that made a preliminary final.

However, persistent groin injuries have limited him to just five league games since then and he played only 11 matches in the reserves in 2012. But with his left-foot skills, goal sense and elusive talents, Monaghan is glad to have him on board at West Perth.

Embley is the younger brother of West Coast veteran Andrew, but has played 17 league games since making his debut in 2008. He has shown enough as a hard-running midfielder to suggest he has plenty to offer at just 23 as well.

"What excited us about both of them for us was the fact that they are that little bit older. What we have had with a lot of our recruits over the last couple of years is that they have been 19 and 20 year-old's, and been unproven," he said.

"But we know that both James and Steven can play senior footy, and have played some decent senior footy but for various reasons didn’t play a lot last year. Both of them are in pretty good nick and we think that they will add something to our squad.

"We probably don’t have an out and out run-with type player and that's not to pigeon-hole James into that role, but it could allow us to use Ray Bartholomew more in an attacking role. James will bring a bit of grunt, a bit of discipline and strength to our stoppages and we would think that we will at some run-with roles for him.

"Over the last couple of weeks, Steve's training has really lifted and he's got good speed and lateral movement. He is a left-footer and yes there's not much of him, but it's really only because of injury that he hasn’t played a lot of league footy. Both of them are pushing hard for a game in Round 1."

Both Strijk and Van Berlo have still played plenty of football with West Perth while on West Coast and Fremantle's AFL lists respectively, but now that they are back with the Falcons full-time Monaghan is already seeing the enormous benefits and quality of them.

"They have both been fantastic with their leadership and examples they are setting on the field," Monaghan said.

"We can flower things up as much as we want, but whilst they are on AFL lists and always try their hardest when coming back to West Perth, we know that they are trying to impress their AFL clubs in the roles and positions that they want to be played at by their clubs.

"I would never question their commitment to West Perth, but now being here all the time and working well with the players during the week and being able to set the example and show leadership, both are quality West Perth people and we are rapt to have them back in the squad full-time."

BY CHRIS PIKE

LABOR PLEDGES SUPPORT TO NEW FALCONS FACILITY

Friday, February 15, 2013 - 10:14 AM

West Perth has welcomed the announcement by Joondalup MLA Tony O’Gorman that Labor will support its plans to build a $7.95 million state-of-the-art facility at Arena Joondalup.

The club has been lobbying the State Government and City of Joondalup to support its plans for a Falcons Centre of Excellence for several months and now calls upon the Coalition to match Labor’s commitment.

The facility, to be built where the main gate now stands, has been designed in consultation with the AFL, the WA Football Commission and the City of Joondalup and meets AFL Centre of Excellence standards. It will make Arena Joondalup a viable alternative venue for AFL NAB Cup matches and AFL practice matches.

West Perth President Brett Raponi said the new centre would allow the club to better support community football clubs in the area, most of whom did not have suitable facilities for their own functions.

“The Labor party has recognised the role that football and the Falcons play in the northern suburbs,” Raponi said. The club recently won the City of Joondalup Australia Day award for community promotion and involvement.”

“This facility will provide an AFL-standard Centre of Excellence that will help our club to improve its on-field performance and will also benefit our district partners.

“I applaud Mark McGowan and local member Tony O’Gorman for their pledge and ongoing support. But I am also delighted for our members who have had to endure some tough times since we left Leederville for Joondalup back in 1994. This facility will give the club a soul and a thumping heartbeat.”

West Perth Chief Executive Officer Gerry O’Dea said the new facility would house the club’s administrative offices, new coach’s rooms and new change rooms.

But it would also include a member's bar and function room to cater for 220 people, which could be hired by other organisations. This would provide West Perth with another revenue stream, while office space in the building would likely be let on a permanent basis.

“I am delighted that the Labor Party has responded to our proposal with this commitment,” Mr O’Dea said.

“A new, modern and expanded facility will prepare our club and the district for the next 40 years and will significantly help to improve the club’s performance and operations to new levels.”

Mr O’Dea said the new centre would allow West Perth to increase its efforts in the local community and was one of the most important developments in the club’s 128 year history.

Click here to view Tony O'Gorman Media Statement