Sunday, August 25, 2019 - 5:22 PM

When the siren went on Saturday, West Perth had been defeated by four points and their chance of playing finals appeared to be over. Andrew Strijk was chaired off the ground for what everyone thought would be his last game. He has been a wonderful player for the Falcons and would rank in the top few players since the move to Joondalup. Shortly after, news came through that Peel had defeated Perth by three points and as a result the season was not over. West Perth were going to play finals, at home, and there was at least one more game for Falcons fans to look forward to.

The Falcons began the game in fine fashion and established a fourteen point lead in less than ten minutes. The first goal went to Corey Chalmers who was on the end of a Tyler Keitel handball after he marked on a sharp angle. Chalmers also scored the second when he soccered from the goal line. The Bulldogs hit the scoreboard after receiving fifty and they controlled the next fifteen minutes to close the margin to five. South Fremantle big man, Mason Shaw, was proving a real handful and he finished with six for the match. Tyler Keitel was, once again, involved in the next when he kicked a long ball in after a strong mark. “Strijky” marked in the square to score his first. The eleven point lead was eroded by the visitors and as a result West Perth led by just three at the first change; 3.3 (21) to 2.6 (18).

The tight contest continued into the second term. The Bulldogs needed to win to tie up second spot and the Falcons to play finals. The game reflected this. Andrew Strijk kicked his second after a Tyler Keitel pass but a third to Mason Shaw squared the ledger. At the thirteen minute mark South Fremantle hit the front for the first time after a long goal from Joshua Collard. In what was a very tight quarter of football there was only one more goal to be scored. It was a third to “Strijky” who finished from forty after marking. A two goal each second term saw West Perth still lead at the major change; 5.5 (35) to 4.9 (33).

The lead changed six times in the third quarter. By the thirty one minute mark both sides had kicked three majors. At this point in time West Perth led by two. The Falcons goals were a fourth to Andrew Strijk, one to Mike Lourey from fifty and a first to Rudy Riddoch. The Mike Lourey goal was after a free to Keegan Knott after he received a crude tackle. Keegan had to go off and was unable to take the kick. He came back on later in the game. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs kicked the last two of the term, including one on the siren at the thirty three minute mark. This two minutes of play was to prove costly. At the final change South Fremantle led by ten; 9.12 (66) to 8.8 (56).

A difficult task became even harder when the Bulldogs scored three goals in quick time to start the last quarter. As a result, they led by twenty eight and West Perth’s finals hopes appeared dashed. The Falcons have shown resilience all year and this match was to be no exception. Tyler Keitel got the fightback rolling with a miracle goal that he bounced through from deep in the pocket thirty out. Keitel was, once again, involved when he soccered a ball forward that enabled Corey Chalmers to kick his third from the goal line. At the twenty two minute mark the lead was down to ten after a second to Rudy Riddoch and five minutes later a Brayden Antonio finish from forty five had the Falcons within four. It was a wonderful goal under a lot of pressure after he marked. Unfortunately, the siren ended the West Perth run and the Falcons had suffered, what appeared to be, a season ending four point loss; 12.12 (84) to 12.8 (80).

When the match was finished West Perth supporters spent a lot of time on the WAFL app following the Peel and Perth game. The app kept everyone in suspense as it was obviously feeling the pressure as well as it was very slow to update. When the result was known there were a lot of happy supporters. The League team now joins the Reserves and Colts in finals action. Best players for the League were Ben Delaporte, Tyson Moulton, Tyler Keitel, Mitch Peirce and Andrew Strijk. There was a remarkable consistency about the West Perth scores in all three grades with the League kicking 12.8, the Reserves 12.9 and the Colts 12.7. The Reserves tied up second spot with a thirty six point victory. Players to be recognised included: Terrell McKenzie, Kris Shannon, Jack Burke, Mitch Antonio and Sam Rotham. The Colts won by seventeen to finish third; players to stand out were Cooper Blackburn, Heath Chapman, Rohan Scurria, Jordan Berry and Callum Johnson. Three big games to look forward to next weekend for the first round of finals. Be there to get the three teams over the line to support what has been a fine achievement in qualifying three teams for finals.