Monday, June 26, 2017 - 12:25 PM by Darrell Kent

IT is hard to express the frustration of West Perth's two point loss against Claremont on Saturday. It was a game that was tight all day. The Falcons had eight more scoring shots and six more inside 50s but was unable to get the job done.

There was no doubting the endeavour of the team but unfortunately the entries into the forward line in a tight last quarter weren’t as efficient as they could have been and as a result West Perth fell short.

They kicked 2.7 to only two behinds but this wasn’t enough to overcome the 19-point three quarter-time deficit. The loss saw West Perth slip from third to fifth and will have repercussions for the rest of the year.

Mark Hamilton started in the ruck for West Perth and he kicked the first major. He took possession at a throw in and snapped a clever goal. This took place at the two-minute mark but the Tigers replies came shortly after. They went to Alex Manuel and Matt Guelfi. Kris Shannon evened things up again at the 15-minute mark when he intercepted a kick out of defence on 50. His long kick into the breeze was a beauty. Beau Maister then kicked the first of his three for Claremont to give them back the lead before Aaron Black scored for West Perth. He was on the end of a very good Blake Wilhelm pass and showed his class with a good finish from 30. The last eight minutes of the quarter belonged to Claremont, however, and they kicked the last two majors. As a result the home team took an 11-point lead into the first break. They led 5.0 (30) to 3.1 (19). It was a high quality term of football.

The high scoring encounter continued in the second quarter. West Perth kicked one goal from four shots and narrowed the margin to two. Corey Chalmers was the goal kicker and he finished from deep in the pocket. Guelfi kicked his second before Tyler Keitel hit the score board for the first of his four. Andrew Strijk scored from 30 and the Falcon lead was out to four. The fast paced game continued with a Tigers reply before Luke Meadows took advantage of an opponent’s fumble to score from 50m and a clever Rudy Riddoch tap enabled Keitel to kick his second. The lead was out to nine, but in what was to become a pattern, Claremont scored the next two. They took a 9.3 (57) to 8.5 (53) lead into the main break. It was a very good game of football that was doing the Tigers’ new facility justice.

Kody Manning, who continues to play very good football across half back, scored the first goal of the third quarter. He scored from fifty after barging through the pack. Tyson Moulton then used the ball very well to hit Keitel on the chest 40m out. He showed his increasing goal kicking confidence by going back and slotting his third to take the lead out to nine points. This was at the 11-minute mark but the rest of the quarter belonged to Claremont and this is when they set up their victory. They kicked the last five goals to take a 19-point lead into the final change. West Perth was unable to stop their run through the middle and they led 14.4 (88) to 10.9 (69).

The challenge was well and truly in front of the Falcons and it was one that they rose to. The goals really dried up and West Perth kicked the only two for the term. The first didn’t come until the 20-minute mark and it was a scrambled fourth major to Keitel. West Perth had been attacking consistently with little reward for effort. Three minutes later Moulton showed how dangerous a forward he is when he crumbed the ball to score on his left from 30. The margin was now only six and the Falcons were full of running. A minute later Manning got the ball out of the middle and it was marked by Strijk 40 out. His shot at goal hit the post and the Falcons then trailed by five. Two more behinds to Keitel and Scott Simpson followed to reduce the margin to three. It is hard to explain the tension at the ground at what was a wonderful finish to a top game. At the 28-minute mark Chalmers marked 50 out on the boundary. As he went back the siren sounded. His kick went behind and West Perth, after dominating the quarter, had fallen two points short. The 14.6 (90) to 12.16 (88) score line indicated West Perth’s last quarter dominance but the lack of precision going into the forward line was costly.

A place in the five is really on the line now; particularly with games against top side Subiaco and fellow top five side Peel in the next two weeks. Joe Morrow has injured his hand and the unlucky but very talented player is likely to miss a few weeks just as he was running into good form. Kody Manning was once again very good for West Perth. Other good players included Aaron Black, Luke Meadows, Corey Chalmers, Shane Nelson and Dean Munns. The Colts and Reserves both recorded very good victories against teams above them on the premiership table and have increased their chances of playing finals football. A tough one against the ladder leaders, Subiaco, next week. The International Football Festival is a highlight of the year so be at HBF Arena next week in what will be a game full of interest.

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR ... click here to view the weekend's gallery