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FALCONS JUST FALL SHORT AGAINST THUNDER

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 4:50 PM by Chris Pike
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A CAREER-best five goals form former skipper Jay van Berlo and kicking the game's last four goals wasn’t quite enough for West Perth against Peel Thunder at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Saturday.
 
Coming off winning the past two WAFL premierships, Peel had struggled to date in the 2018 season but now coming off a hard fought win against Claremont last week, they backed it up with another tight win against West Perth in Mandurah on Saturday.
 
The game went the way of the strong breeze with Peel kicking four goals to one to lead by 21 points at quarter-time before West Perth hit back with four goals to one in the second to trail by just two points at the main break.
 
The Thunder again pulled away in the third term to lead by 18 points at the last change and that soon became 30 points with the first two goals of the last quarter.
 
But West Perth wasn’t giving away and three last quarter goals to Jay van Berlo and two for Keegan Knott got them within three points but the Falcons just ran out of time with Peel holding on to win 11.11 (77) to 11.8 (74).
 
There's few things that Jay van Berlo hasn’t accomplished in his 174-game career with West Perth as a former captain, premiership player and dual fairest and best winner, but he kicked five goals for the first time on Saturday from nine kicks, eight marks and five tackles.
 
West Perth had only three goal scorers for the afternoon with Keegan Knott and Tyler Keitel also standing up to kick three goals apiece to give the Falcons a chance of the win in Mandurah.
 
It was also a career-best afternoon in the midfield for Luke Meadows who picked up 38 possessions to go with eight tackles and six inside-50 entries for the Falcons.
 
Shane Nelson racked up another 36 possessions as well while Aaron Black gathered 26 disposals (eight tackles), Corey Chalmers 19, Mitch Peirce 19 (12 tackles), Michael Lourey 18 and Blake Wilhelm 16.
 
Peel started the game strongly looking to make it consecutive wins for the first time in 2018 and with the breeze behind them in Mandurah, Ben Howlett kicked the game's first two goals. Lloyd Meek added another and the Thunder were up early by 19 points.
 
West Perth did get a goal against the strongly breeze thanks to Keegan Knott but Peel answered through Cameron Sutcliffe to lead by 21 points at the first break.
 
West Perth gained the advantage of the breeze in the second quarter and ended up kicking the first two goals through Tyler Keitel and Jay van Berlo to get within 10 points.
 
Peel did get one against the tide thanks to Hugh Dixon but the Falcons responded courtesy of Keitel to give him three for the term and they were within two points at the main break.
 
It was the Thunder with the win at their back again in the third quarter and they started with two goals to Brayden Lawler in the first five minutes to lead again by 14 points.
 
When Blair Bell kicked truly at the 13-minute mark the lead was 20 points before West Perth got one back through van Berlo to be within 18 points at three quarter-time.
 
Against the run of play, Peel got the opening two goals of the last quarter courtesy of Bell and Cameron McCarthy to appear to hold a match-winning 30-point advantage.
 
West Perth got one answering goal with Knott kicking his second but Peel again responded through Meek to be up by 29 points at the 13-minute mark.
 
The Falcons didn’t get another goal for five minutes but that came through van Berlo who also added his fourth and fifth goals to make it a nine-point game by the 29-minute mark.
 
Knott managed to kick his fifth near the 31-minute but West Perth ran out of time and Peel held on for the three-point win.
 
The reserves contest on Saturday at Bendigo Bank Stadium saw Peel Thunder also win a thriller, holding on to defeat West Perth 10.17 (77) to 11.7 (73) in an eerily similar scoreline to the league clash later in the day.
 
Conal Lynch kicked three goals for West Perth along with 20 disposals, eight tackles and five marks. Dylan Yem also kicked two goals.
 
Matt Guadagnin compiled 25 disposals and laid six tackles for the Falcons with Dean Munns gathering 24 possessions, Mitch Antonio 17, Nick Marinovich 15 and Alex Coe 15 to go with 10 tackles.
 
Peel Thunder's colts retained second position on the ladder with a 34-point win against West Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Saturday.
 
Peel came into the game on a four-game winning streak and continued that momentum with the 12.16 (88) to 8.6 (54) win in Mandurah.
 
The victory improves the Thunder to a 6-3 record on the season to sit a game clear in second position while the Falcons are now 3-6 in seventh spot.
 
It was a tight opening to the contest with Peel only leading by a point at quarter-time but the Thunder had extended that by half-time to 16 points after kicking three goals to just one from the Falcons.
 
West Perth stayed in touch during the third quarter with Peel's still just leading by 14 points at three quarter-time, but the Thunder controlled the last term with three goals to one to win by 34 points.
 
Callum Johnson booted three goals for West Perth and Lachlan Rewell two.
 
Nathan Murray gathered 25 possessions for the Falcons along with eight marks and five tackles.
 
Ben Johnson also picked up 23 disposals, Brayden Templeton 22, Graham Richards 18, Henry Ryan 18, Jaxon Prior 17 and Alec Johnson 17.
 
West Perth remains on the road this Saturday to take on Claremont at Claremont Oval in the first meeting between the two sides since Round 1 where the Falcons beat the Tigers by 18 points at Joondalup Arena.
 
WEST PERTH 1.1 5.3 6.5 11.8 (74)
PEEL THUNDER 4.4 5.5 8.11 11.11 (77)
 
WEST PERTH – Goals: Van Berlo 5; Knott, Keitel 3.
Best: Meadows, Nelson, van Berlo, Peirce, Black, Keitel, Knott.
PEEL THUNDER – Goals: Howlett, Lawler, Meek, Bell 2; McCarthy, Sutcliffe, Dixon.
Best: Howlett, Crowden, Pearce, Hughes, Lawler, Hancock, Power.