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Monday, April 5, 2021 - 9:43 AM


By Darrell Kent

West Perth lost by twenty-one points to the reigning premiers, South Fremantle, at Fremantle Oval on Saturday but they kept the home team under pressure all day. It was only a ten minute burst at the start of the fourth quarter that decided the match as up until then, and after, the Falcons matched the Bulldogs in all aspects of the game. There was much to like about the endeavour of the young Falcons team and supporters would have left the ground disappointed at the loss but more than happy with what they saw.


The Falcons hit the score board within two minutes thanks to Keegan Knott who kicked the first of his four for the day. It was the type of goal that only Keegan can kick as he kicked a banana on his left from the boundary. The lead was short lived as Souths took it straight out of the centre and Cody Ninyette kicked the first of his five. The ex-Perth Perth player was a handful all day. The pressure was intense as both sides fought for control but Conal Lynch took advantage of a South Fremantle defensive error to put the Falcons back in front. The Bulldogs evened it up again midway through the term and the rest of the quarter was a real battle. At the twenty nine minute mark a very clever centring kick by Rudy Riddoch found Tyler Keitel close to goal. The big forward went back and kicked the first of his four. Unfortunately Souths got it back a minute later, just as the siren went. At the first change a highly competitive West Perth side led by one: 3.4 (22) to 3.3 (21).

The second quarter was almost a replica of the first. It was a hard fought term with plenty of tackling pressure and some good ball movement. At the eleven minute mark the West Perth lead was seven after Tyler Keitel finished from the square after a free. From here South Fremantle had the best of the quarter and as a result led by ten after twenty. Not to be outdone the Falcons pressed hard and thanks to a Tyler Keitel third, from the boundary, narrowed the gap to just four at half time. The Bulldogs led 6.4 (40) to 5.6 (36).

The Falcons started the second half full of run. They kicked three in five minutes to go to a fourteen point lead. The first came out of the centre bounce as Tyler Keitel, Rudy Riddoch and Tyson Moulton combined to get the ball to Keegan Knott who scored from the square. Straight after Tyson Moulton marked just inside fifty and he split the middle after taking a set shot. This was his fiftieth game and he is a fantastic kick of the footy. At the five minute mark West Perth produced one of the passages of play of the day. They took the ball from full back with precise passing and it resulted in an unselfish Tyler Keitel handball to Keegan Knott who kicked his third. The lead was fourteen in a short time and was an indicator of what the Falcons are capable of. Souths, as you would expect, hit back hard. Mason Shaw hit the scoreboard but the status quo was restored thanks to a Rudy Riddoch major after he marked in the square. He was on the end of some good work from Aaron Black and Tyler Keitel. But the premiers were not to be outdone and they stepped up to score the next three and establish a five point lead at the twenty minute mark. Both sides battled hard for the next seven minutes until Connor West marked and scored from outside fifty. He is a player of real quality. West Perth had grabbed back the lead but it was short lived as a fourth to Cody Ninyette saw the half-time margin restored. At the final change the home team led 11.5 (71) to 10.7 (67). It was a game that had supporters on the edge of their seats and the final term promised to be a cracker.

The first ten minutes of the fourth quarter turned the game. Souths controlled the play to kick four and as a result led by twenty nine after ten minutes. Despite the fight back qualities shown by West Perth it was always going to be hard to win from here. Goals to Tyler Keitel, Aaron Black and Keegan Knott narrowed the margin to thirteen at the twenty two minute mark but a late one to the Bulldogs confirmed their twenty one point victory: 16.10 (106) to 13.7 (85). It was disappointing to lose but the Falcons didn’t lay down at any stage and fought the game out to the end.  Congratulations must go to vice-captain Blake Wilhelm who played his 100thgame. He is a terrific leader and was amongst the Falcons best on the day. Other good players included Aaron Black, Tyler Keitel, Connor West, Shane Nelson, Keegan Knott and Trent Manzone. 

The Reserves had a strong 11.10 (76) to 7.8 (50) victory. Corey Rundle handled the step up from Colts with aplomb and kicked three. Jason Salecic finished with two in his comeback game and was one of the best players. Others to stand out in a team that had ten players with League experience were Alec Johnson, Liam Tedesco, Jack Burke and Jacob Turner. Steve Potente had thirty touches and is one of a number of players pushing for a League berth. 

The Colts went down in a tight, high scoring contest; 15.11 (101) to 13.9 (87). Zarne Robis led the way with four and was one of the best players. Others to play well included Jack Demarte, Zac Fleiner, Luke Reilly and Daniel Gathercole. A big game next week against West Coast up at Yanchep. Be there to help the side start their winning run for season 2021.