Falcons Win Battle Of The Birds

Monday, June 10, 2019 - 2:15 PM by Darrell Kent

It was the first time that the Falcons and Eagles have met since the competition was expanded to ten teams and it was the home team that had the best of the contest. West Perth grabbed the lead early in the second quarter and didn’t relinquish it for the rest of the game. At the end of the day they ran out thirty six point winners and put themselves back in the finals hunt. The Falcons produced another debutant when Whitfords product Tom O’Donnell played his first game. He battled hard in a West Perth backline that limited the scoring opportunities of the visitors all day.

The game was played in sunshine for most of the day. This was a real bonus when you consider the weather that Perth had experienced for the last couple of days. The surface of the oval was in great shape and underlined that it is the best in the WAFL. Having said that, the first quarter was hard fought but little damage was done to the score board by either team. It only took a minute for the Eagles to kick the first goal of the game. It went to Bailey Williams. The Falcons evened the score up at the twelve minute mark thanks to a fifty metre bomb by Andrew Strijk. He was on the end of a long pass from Brayden Antonio. This was to be the last score for the quarter and as a result scores were tied at the first change with each team scoring 1.1 (7). Both teams struggled for ascendancy.

West Perth started the second quarter best and kicked the first two goals. The first went to Tyler Keitel after a strong mark and long kick forward by Andrew Strijk. Tyler ran into an open goal after the ball cleared the pack. Shortly after Kris Shannon laid a strong tackle and was awarded a free. Corey Chalmers took the advantage and scored on the run from fifty. At the ten minute mark the Eagles scored a major. West Perth hit back and midway through the term the lead was back out to twelve after Mitch Peirce scored from forty after receiving a free. It was a battle of the defences for the next twelve minutes until the Falcons hit the scoreboard again. Zac Guadagnin, who worked hard in defence all day, kicked a long ball forward to Rudy Riddoch who showed his class with a major from forty. At the main change West Perth had a seventeen point lead; 5.2 (32) to 2.3 (15).

The Falcon defence continued to work hard and, once again, limited the visitors to only one goal for the quarter. The marking of Ben King and run out of the back line by Blake Wilhelm were features of the game in a cohesive effort by the back half. Behinds were the order of the day until Joel Ashman split the middle for the Eagles. The margin had been reduced to ten but West Perth had the better of the quarter from here on. A clever kick around the corner by improving big man, Ben Delaporte, enabled Connor West to run into an open goal for the first of his two for the game. He made an impressive return to the League side. At the twenty five minute mark a bit of Rudy Riddoch magic was on show when he passed to the skipper, Aaron Black, who finished from the square. As a result West Perth held a very handy twenty point lead at the final change. The scores were 7.4 (46) to 3.8 (26).

By the ten minute mark the lead was back to thirteen after a major to impressive Eagles youngster, Jarred Cameron. But, once again, this was to be West Coast’s only goal for the term. This was a credit to the West Perth defence and the support of the midfielders. Having said that, Falcons supporters were a little nervous at this stage. This was eased when Andrew Strijk kicked his second after a Tyler Keitel pass. He split the middle from fifty. At the nineteen minute mark the game was safe after Connor West kicked his second after a long kick forward by Keegan Knott. Rudy Riddoch then marked and handballed to Tyler Keitel who kicked his second and just before the siren Mike Lourey split the middle from fifty. He was on the end of some really good work by Ben King who took a great mark. His marking was a feature of the game. At the final siren West Perth had run out thirty six point winners; 11.6 (72) to 4.12 (36). An important win in the context of the season.

The win takes the Falcons to a four-five record for the season and it makes the next game against Swan Districts, after the bye, a must win encounter.

Best players included Ben King, Ben Delaporte, Dean Munns, Zac Guadagnin and Connor West. It was a hard working performance by the entire twenty two but they now have a week off to prepare for the important game against the Black Ducks at Bassendean in two weeks. Be there to help the side turn around the result from last time the teams met.