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FALCONS FALL SHORT IN HARD SLOG

Monday, July 3, 2017 - 9:10 AM by Darrell Kent
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SUBIACO beat West Perth by 11 points in Round 3 and they repeated that performance at HBF Arena on Saturday. It would be fair to say that the conditions were vastly different, though. Earlier in the year the sun was shining but this certainly wasn’t the case on Saturday.

Heavy and persistent rain had left the ground with large puddles, particularly at the Perth end, and as a result the game was a real war of attrition. West Perth’s form against the ladder leaders, who have only lost one game for the year, has been very good with them having the opportunity to win both encounters but falling just short on both occasions. At least the ducks who settled into the puddle at the Perth end after the game enjoyed what was a miserable day for football.

West Perth went to the northern end of the ground to start the game. This end was favoured by the breeze and it had much less ground water than the Perth end. It was to be the end of the ground where most of the scoring occurred. The Falcons had by far the better of the first part of the quarter but their first scoring shots were behinds. If two of them had been majors it may well have been a different result. One of them, a soccer by Andrew Strijk, skimmed the post. Strijky kicked the first major when he bounced one through from 40. This gave West Perth a 10-point lead but a lot of the good work was undone when Liam Ryan scored for the Lions after marking 30 out. About this time the lights were turned on to shed a bit of light on the wintry day. These were the only two goals scored for the term and as a result the home team took a three-point lead into the first change; 1.5 (11) to 1.2 (8).

It seems a stretch to say that a two goal quarter of football can set up victory for a team but this was the case on Saturday. Subiaco had six scoring shots to one, two of them majors, and this was enough to give them a more than handy 12-point lead at the main break. Both goals went to Corey Adamson. Both teams soccered the ball forward as often as possible but quite often the ball would stop dead in the puddles and as a result the play was congested for large periods of time. At half-time Subiaco led 3.6 (24) to 1.6 (12).

West Perth needed to make inroads early in the third quarter but unfortunately this wasn’t to be. Ben Sokol soccered one early to take Subiaco's lead out to 18 points. The Lions had kicked four consecutive goals since midway through the first term and this went a long way towards setting up their victory. But in what has been a hallmark of the Falcons this year they dug deep in an effort to get themselves back into the contest. They scored the next two behinds before Strijk kicked his second. He received a free 40m out after an incorrect disposal by Subiaco. This occurred at the six-minute mark and the margin was reduced to 10 points.

There wasn’t another score until the 20-minute mark. There were a lot of ball ups during this time and it was a tough slog for both teams. The next score went to the Falcons and it was after Scott Nelson was rewarded for a great tackle. His straight kick from 30m was his first for West Perth and reduced the margin to just four points. Subiaco kicked the last three points of the quarter and as a result took a seven-point lead into the final change; 4.9 (33) to 3.8 (26).

West Perth scored a rushed behind to start the term but the Lions had the next three scoring shots and by the nine-minute mark had extended their lead to 14 points. West Perth, in the tough conditions, was almost entitled to give in from here but they rallied one more time. Four minutes later Aidan Lynch took possession out of a pack and bounced one through from 40. It was a real team lifter. West Perth pressed hard for the next 15 minutes but could only manage three behinds. Their work ethic and effort was really good. But unfortunately, against the run of play, Ryan scored his second over the back of the pack. He ran into an easy goal. At the final siren West Perth had fallen 11 points short; 6.11 (47) to 4.12 (36).

Both teams didn’t shirk the task all day and they battled hard in what were very difficult conditions. The loss leaves West Perth in a precarious position in fifth spot with a game against Peel next week before the bye. It wasn’t a great day all round as the Colts and Reserves both suffered losses. Congratulations to Conal Lynch on his debut and to Aidan Lynch on his 50th league game. Players in the Reserves to receive awards were Mitch Peirce, Zac Guadagnin, Nathan Alexandre and best was Riley Hutchinson. League players to be recognised were Andrew Strijk, Scott Simpson, Blake Wilhelm and Luke Meadows. Other good players included Kody Manning who was very solid in defence and Aidan Lynch who worked hard at the fall of the ball. A big task against the reigning premiers, Peel, at HBF Arena next week. We are due to win a close one!

BY DARRELL KENT
PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR ... click here for the full photo gallery