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SORE FALCONS PRESENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEXT GENERATION

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 10:14 AM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth's horror injury run is unfortunately showing no sign of improving just yet but there were exciting signs last week in the reserves with Matt Guadagnin getting through a full game and the Falcons could have two debutants Saturday against East Perth.

West Perth came into last Saturday's clash with South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval already missing Michael Lourey, Dean Munns, Scott Nelson, Steve Potente, Joe Morrow, Ben King, Mark Hamilton and Tyson Moulton.

Then in the opening minutes Andrew Strijk injured a hamstring and along the way Nick Rodda, Rudy Riddoch and Kody Manning suffered blows in the 47-point loss that leave them battling to be available this Saturday against East Perth at HBF Arena.

It's a crucial game for the fifth placed Falcons up against their arch rivals needing to win to hold on to that position on the top five while a loss would see the Royals replace them and West Perth then having a big job against East Fremantle, Subiaco and Claremont to finish the season to play finals.

There is some reprieve on the injury front with Lourey and King to return to strength the forward and back lines respectively, but Munns (leg), Nelson (hand), Potente (illness), Morrow (hand), Hamilton (hamstring) and Moulton (hand) remain sidelined.

To top that off Manning and Strijk have already been ruled out of the clash with the Royals while Riddoch needs to prove himself right and Rodda looks set to battle through the knock he copped to his jaw last Saturday against South Fremantle.

It's not all bad news, though, and the Falcons could unveil two debutants against East Perth in the form of Zac Guadagnin and Oscar Allen.

Guadagnin is having a good season in the reserves having stepped up from the colts in 2017 with the 19-year-old continuing to put his hand up.

Allen, meanwhile, has played two impressive reserves matches for West Perth on return from his exciting performances for the WA State 18s team. That sees the 18-year-old who is set to be a high draft pick now in line for his league debut on Saturday.

Matt Guadagnin, the older cousin of Zac, got through his first full game in the reserves last week as well and was impressive with 23 possessions but coach Bill Monaghan feels this week against East Perth might be just too soon to rush him in for his first league game since Round 16, 2015.

"My initial take is that it's too early this week but we could potentially lose three or four players from this game and if we don’t have three or four others ready to come back through injury, we are getting fairly deep into our list," Monaghan said.

"Then it's a matter of if we give another debut to someone like Zac Guadagnin who was very close to playing last week. 

"But at the end of the day when you are playing Hutchinson as a second-gamer, Mitch Peirce who has a handful of games and a couple of others who don't boast a lot of experience, you weigh up how many of those kids you can play and think if we are better off going to guys who have played more senior footy.

"That might help Guady's chances but I'd be surprised if he did play this week against East Perth."

As for Rodda, he has played well kicking nine goals in his last seven quarters with West Perth since moving forward. Monaghan wouldn’t mind leaving him forward if possible but firstly he has to prove himself fit to play against the Royals on Saturday.

"He's one of the ones I was talking about though. He copped a fairly heavy knock to the jaw in the first quarter and with the way we are going with a range of injuries, I'm not 100 per cent confident that he will be available next week," Monaghan said.

"But we'll see how he goes during the week. We'll have a look at the video because he's a little unclear how it happened but we'll wait and see if it's deemed a legitimate contest or not."