Sunday, July 21, 2019 - 9:20 PM

West Perth celebrated Shane Nelson’s 150th game with a hard fought victory against East Perth at the Arena on Saturday. No more than six points separated the teams at any change and during the game the biggest margin was just fourteen. This highlights how tight a contest it was and it was a fine result when you take into account that there were four changes to the team due to injury. Conal Lynch was a late call up to replace Noah Pegoraro, while Connor West (concussion), Andrew Strijk (foot) and Zac Guadagnin (groin) were all unavailable. A couple of master moves by Coach Valentine who bought in Kris Shannon who blanketed former Falcon Rohan Kerr on the wing and defender Baylee James who in his first league game of the season did the job on the damaging Shayne Hille. Liam Tedesco also returned and was solid through the midfield.

The game was played under grey skies but little rain fell during the match. East Perth had the first two scores and led by seven before the Falcons scored their first. Rudy Riddoch was involved. He had a day out and was West Perth’s best. He combined with Tyler Keitel to get the ball into the hands of Liam Tedesco who snapped from close in. It was Liam’s first League game for a while and he tried hard all day. West Perth hit the lead at the ten minute mark when Kris Shannon celebrated his return to the League team with a major on the run from twenty. Rudy Riddoch and Tyler Keitel were, once again, involved in the assist. There wasn’t a score for over ten minutes before Joel Houghton kicked one for the Royals. He and Eddie Simpson caused the West Perth backs headaches all day. The Falcons took a five point lead into quarter time thanks to a Keegan Knott goal from thirty. The scores were 3.1 (19) to 2.2 (14).

Houghton and Simpson scored the first two for East Perth and they took the lead early. Rudy Riddoch received a free twenty out and he kicked the first of his three for the day. At the twelve minute mark scores were all tied up before the Royals took the advantage with their third for the quarter. The rest of the term was a real slog with the only other goal coming at the twenty five minute mark when Mike Lourey passed to Tyler Keitel. He finished from forty to give West Perth a one point lead at the main break; 5.4 (34) to 5.3 (33).

Things really livened up in the third quarter with each team kicking five goals. Aaron Black got the ball rolling with a classy finish from thirty before the visitors kicked the next two to take a five point advantage. Rudy Riddoch was the dominant player for the quarter and he was involved in a number of the goals. Second gamer, Slade Hawkins, kicked a ripper from the boundary after marking forty out to score his first League goal. It was great to see his team mates get around him. He worked hard all day in the ruck and up forward. Rudy Riddoch hit the score board twice to give West Perth a thirteen point lead at the twenty one minute mark. His influence during this quarter was substantial. East Perth got one back before Rudy Riddoch was once again involved when Keegan Knott scored his second. It was a classy finish by Keegan, his ability to kick “special” goals is uncanny. The lead was out to fourteen but East Perth kicked two more in a quarter that seemed to go forever. It lasted for thirty six minutes. The result of this was that at the last change West Perth led by two; 10.6 (66) to 10.4 (64). A winner was no closer to being decided than as it was at the first bounce.

The last quarter was a real slog with only three goals being scored. East Perth had the first three scoring shots and led by six at the eight minute mark. They seemed to be running better than the home team. But at the twelve minute mark the hard working Mike Lourey marked forty out. His straight kick levelled the scores. The Royals had opportunities to grab the lead but were unable to. The winning goal came at the twenty two minute mark when Blake Wilhelm finished on the run from well outside fifty. His kicking is a feature of his game and this was no exception. West Perth held onto this advantage until the game finished at the twenty seven minute mark. A short quarter, but one that was welcomed by Falcons supporters. It was an enthralling contest with the close scores keeping everyone on the edge of their seats all day. The final scores were 12.6 (78) to 11.6 (72).

Players from the 1969 premiership were guests at the luncheon and it was a fitting result for the occasion. The players also wore purple socks to support fundraising for the Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.

The result sees West Perth back in the five leading into next week’s bye. Best players were Rudy Riddoch, Baylee James, Mitch Peirce, Shane Nelson & Kris Shannon. On Nelson’s milestone game we reflect on what a fine player for West Perth he has been and his achievements have been many at just twenty six years of age. Making the occasion more special was for the third year in a row the Falcons won the Polly Farmer Shield to go with the critical 4 premiership points.

The Reserves suffered a narrow defeat when they lost by two points; 5.10 (40) to 5.8 (38). They struggled to hit the score board in the second half and the effort dropped away. It’s the 4th game this year that the boys have lost by less than a kick. Best players were Tom O’Donnell, Scott Nelson, Ryan Hudson, Mitch Antonio and Tom Boyes.

The Colts also suffered a narrow loss. They got jumped early but fought back to go down by fifteen; 8.7 (55) to 5.10 (40). The team still sits in second spot leading into the byeand is having a good season. Best players included Jaxon Prior, Tom Taylor-Shreeve, Michael Mallard, Heath Chapman and Callum Johnson.

A week off for all three grades before another big home game against East Fremantle in two weeks. We hope to see you all there to support the Club as we push towards September.