Sunday, August 4, 2019 - 8:43 PM by Darrell Kent

West Perth scored a very important victory against East Fremantle at the Arena on Saturday. They didn’t hit the lead until early in the second half but managed to keep their rivals at bay and record a win.  All of the other results also went the way of the Falcons and this sees them two games clear in fourth position. They still need to win one more to ensure a finals appearance. Congratulations to youngster Jaxon Prior who made an impressive League debut. The Reserves had another win while the Colts went down but both teams have done enough to ensure that they play finals.

The Sharks clearly had the better of the first term and they looked ominous. West Perth scored a behind to start the game but East Fremantle scored the first two goals to lead by twelve at the ten minute mark. The only Falcon goal for the term came shortly after when an Aidan Lynch left foot pass hit Rudy Riddoch on the chest fifty out. He went back and kicked the first of his two for the day. Both players were amongst the Falcons best. The visitors controlled the rest of the quarter and as a result led by seventeen at the first change; 4.3 (27) to 1.4 (10). The challenge was in front of the home team.

It didn’t take long for the Sharks to extend their lead to twenty one. At about this time the rain started and the task became even bigger. Andrew Strijk kicked one from outside fifty to get West Perth back in the game but the respite was short lived. “Strijky” kicked three goals five on the day and his value to the team cannot be underestimated. But, once again, East Fremantle controlled the game for the next fifteen minutes and they stretched the lead to twenty three going into time on. Falcon supporters were concerned at this stage but three minutes of very good football turned the game on its head. Aaron Black kicked one before two terrific individual efforts by Tyler Keitel put West Perth right back in the contest. To begin with he marked outside fifty, ran around the man on the mark and scored from deep in the pocket. Shortly after he took a very strong pack mark twenty out and his second consecutive goal saw the margin reduced to just five. Tyler really stood up when he was needed. At the main break West Perth trailed by just five after looking in real trouble late in the term. The scores were 6.7 (43) to 5.8 (38).

It was a dour third term but West Perth outscored East Fremantle three goals to none to take a lead into the final change. At the seven minute mark Corey Chalmers gave the Falcons the lead after receiving a free twenty out.  The lead was out to seven courtesy of a second to Rudy Riddoch. He snapped accurately from close in. East Fremantle kicked three behinds before West Perth split the middle again as the result of some Keegan Knott magic. Running flat out he soccered the ball on his left foot across the ground to Andrew Strijk who got the ball forward to Mike Lourey who finished from the square. The lead was now out to ten. The teams traded behinds for the rest of the quarter and at the final change West Perth had established a hard fought twelve point lead; 8.11 (59) to 6.11 (47).

The game was still there to be won but a six goal to four final quarter ensured the West Perth victory. Andrew Strijk kicked his second early but a Shark reply maintained the status quo. The next five minutes set up the Falcon victory as they kicked three unanswered goals to achieve a thirty point lead. Mike Lourey scored his second after some good work by Rudy Riddoch and Aaron Black, Shane Nelson scored from close in after receiving a free and fifty and Trent Manzone finished on the run from fifty. Luke Strnadica kicked his second but the Falcon reply came at the twenty two minute mark. It went to Andrew Strijk who snapped his third. The Sharks reduced the margin to sixteen before Keegan Knott hit the scoreboard. A clever banana from forty gave West Perth a strong twenty two point victory; 14.12 (96) to 10.14 (74).

The last three games are against the top three teams in the competition and West Perth need to win at least one to wrap up a finals berth. Best players included Tyler Keitel, Tyson Moulton, Aidan Lynch, Rudy Riddoch, Liam Tedesco and first gamer Jaxon Prior. The Reserves had a 13.11 (89) to 9.10 (64) victory to ensure a finals berth. It was a tight contest all day with West Perth drawing clear late in the game. Best players were Dylan Yemm who kicked four, Conal Lynch, Tom O’Donnell, Nathan Murray and Michael Ashfield. The Colts went down by seventeen; 11.10 (76) to 9.5 (59) but are assured of a finals position. Best players were Logan Foley, Tommy Taylor-Shreeve who has consistently been amongst the best players in recent weeks, Liam Martin and Ben Johnson. Another big game against Claremont next week, be there to help get the teams over the line.