FALCONS SHOW RESILIENCE TO OUTPLAY PEEL
WEST Perth showed that a week is a long time in football when it bounced back from last week’s game to defeat last year’s premiers, Peel, at Bendigo Bank Stadium in Mandurah.
The Falcons dominated for long periods of the game and thoroughly deserved their victory. Their use of the football and endeavour was far superior to that of the home team who did give West Perth a scare when they came back strongly in the third quarter.
The Falcons attacked consistently from the outset and had their first major at the two-minute mark. This went to Andrew Strijk who marked strongly 30m out. He went back and kicked the first of his two for the game. Blake Wilhelm, who spent time forward, kicked the first of his brace five minutes later. He marked 40m out and kicked accurately. Two behinds followed to the dominant Falcons before a long kick forward by Luke Meadows set up Steve Potente to score from close in.
The West Perth lead was 20 points at this point in time. Peel got its only score for the term at the 24-minute mark when Brayden Lawler marked and goaled from 30m. When Tyler Keitel marked a terrific Strijk pass in the square to kick his first the Falcons had received reward for effort and they took a 21-point lead into the first change; 4.3 (27) to 1.0 (6). It was a very good first quarter of football on the back of the disappointment of last week.
The dominant display continued in the second quarter. Scott Simpson was playing a very good game of football given the freedom of rucking and playing in the midfield. His 27 possessions weretelling. One of them was a pass to Trent Manzone who scored from 30m. West Perth debutant Rudy Riddoch was busy and had an impact, particularly early in the game. He passed toWilhelm who scored his second and was involved once again when he got the ball into the hands of Simpson 20m out. His straight kick gave West Perth a 39-point lead midway through the term.
Peel big man, Sean Darcy, scored one to reduce the margin but Riddoch got it back when he burst out of the pack to score on his left. Meadows marked on 50 and his long kick extended the lead to 45 points. Matt Taberner then replied when he kicked the first of his three. Overall the key forward was well held by Mark Hamilton. Right on the siren Keitel marked just outside 50. He went back and slotted it with a wonderful kick. This gave West Perth a well-earned 47-point lead; 10.8 (68) to 3.3 (21). It was a top half of football by the Falcons.
The home team was always going to make a charge at some stage and they did this in the third quarter kicking six goals while holding West Perth goalless. Early in the term the Falcons wasted some opportunities and they paid the price as Peel upped the ante and piled on six unanswered goals. By three quarter-time the lead had been reduced to just 15 and it was game on. Peel appeared to be finishing very strongly and it was going to take a special last quarter to hold them off. At the final change West Perth led 10.14 (74) to Peel 9.5 (59).
The Falcons showed their quality by dominating the early going and putting the game safely out of Peel’s reach. They had the first seven scoring shots of the quarter and by the 18-minute mark led by 42 points. Strijk got the ball rolling with a clever snap after taking the ball off hands. It was on his non-preferred left foot. Keitel received a free 40m out and kicked his third. Tyson Moulton, who had been busy in the forward-line all day, then hit the scoreboard. He took a strong mark outside 50, received a 50m penalty and scored from the square. Meadows kicked his second with another long goal and the game was safely put to bed. Taberner kicked his third before but Moulton got it back when he finished cleverly under pressure. Peel finished the game with the last goal but at the final siren West Perth had scored a very well-deserved 35-point victory; 15.18 (108) to 11.7 (73).
The Falcons now have a 2-2 record and showed great character to respond the way that they did. The Colts and Reserves both lost but are proving to be very competitive. Best players for the League team included Scott Simpson, Luke Meadows, Aidan Lynch, Trent Manzone, Kris Shannon and Aaron Black. Congratulations to Shane Nelson for playing his 100th game.
It gets no easier next week when the Falcons take on the red hot Swan Districts at HBF Arena. Be there to get the teams over the line.
BY DARRELL KENT
PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR