Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 10:06 AM by Darrell Kent


West Perth were unable to get over the top of South Fremantle in the Preliminary Final on Sunday and as a result their 2020 season is over. The Falcons only lost to two teams during the home and away season and both of those teams will face off in the Grand Final on Sunday. Coaches and players may not feel the same way but supporters of the Red and Blue would be more than happy with the efforts of their team this year. They have more than exceeded expectations and they have done themselves and the Club proud. Even more importantly it has given supporters much to look forward to in 2021. Geoff Valentine and his coaching staff have done a wonderful job and deserve lots of credit for a job well done.

The Falcons won the toss and kicked to the hospital end of the ground. Tyler Keitel was dominant early having the first three scoring shots for West Perth. The Bulldogs kicked the first but at the eight-minute mark Tyler marked forty out. His accurate kick gave West Perth a one-point lead. Shortly after Dylan Main ran into an open goal after the ball was turned over in the middle of the ground. This gave South Fremantle back the advantage. It was midway through the term when Luke Meadows was crunched in a marking contest. He had to be assisted from the ground and was unable to return. Luke suffered concussion and I am sure that all football supporters wish him a speedy recovery. This injury certainly had an impact on the result of the game. The rest of the quarter was a real slog and no more goals were scored. At the first change the home team led 2.1 (13) to 1.4 (10).

West Perth started the second quarter with a real flurry. At the two-minute mark some great work and a clever pass by Sasha Kernutt enabled Tyler Keitel to mark forty out. His second gave the Falcons back the lead. Zak Patterson then took a strong grab twenty from goal, that he converted. He took another shortly after, a bit further out, but missed. The visitors lead was now ten. This short burst gave an indication of the potential that the big bloke has. As you would expect from the team that finished top of the ladder, the Bulldogs steadied and had the last four scoring shots of the quarter. At the main break they had regained the lead to be four points in front: 4.3 (27) to 3.5 (23).

During half time it rained steadily and as a result the conditions deteriorated in the second half with the ball and ground becoming slippery. The Bulldogs adapted to these conditions best and kicked four goals in ten minutes to set up a twenty-eight-point lead. This was to be the match winning period of the game. At the thirteen-minute mark the Falcons got one back. It went to Keegan Knott who ran onto a ball kicked forward by Sasha Kernutt. It was to be the first of three second half goals for the small forward. West Perth battled hard to get back into the contest but a goal to Bulldogs first gamer, Cody Ninyette, late in the quarter made the task almost impossible. A strong third quarter by South Fremantle saw them lead by twenty-six at the final change; 9.4 (58) to 4.8 (32).

A Bulldogs major within two minutes was almost the final nail in the coffin. It stretched the lead to thirty-two but as has been the case all year West Perth were not to be outdone. Sasha Kernutt got one back from the square. There is a lot to like about the way he goes about his work. Nick Suban then extended the margin again and the Falcons could be expected to give it away, but this was far from the case. They attacked consistently with three kicks going out of bounds on the full. Keegan Knott added two more to his tally including a monster torpedo punt from outside fifty. West Perth had more inside fifties, twice the number of tackles but at the final siren they had lost by twenty-one; 11.5 (71) to 7.8 (50). The hopes of a 20th flag in 2020 were gone but one could not fault the way that they played the game out until the final siren.

There is no doubting the huge value for money that this team has once again provided to its supporters. The loss was certainly disappointing; no doubt felt more keenly by the coaches, players and Admin staff who put so much time and effort into providing an effort that all supporters can be proud of. Best players included Noah Pegoraro, Tyson Moulton, Tyler Keitel, Shane Nelson, Aaron Black, Mark Hamilton, Connor West and Dean Munns. All the very best to any players who might retire and those who may leave the Club. Many thanks to you all. There is a lot to look forward to. Enjoy the break and see you next year.