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Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 9:37 AM



By Darrell Kent


It was a hard game to follow and watch, at times, but at the end of the day the result was a good one for the Falcons. The eight-point victory was their third from the first four games and sees them sit on top of the ladder. It is a very meritorious effort when you take into account that they have played four of the main premiership contenders.

South Fremantle has a very good record at Pentanet Stadium so it was essential that the home team commenced strongly. They certainly did that. They outscored the Bulldogs five goals to one to set up victory in a game that would end up being a low scoring affair. Tyler Keitel kicked the first major from forty after a pass from Luke Reilly, who continues to impress. This was after seven minutes of hectic footy. The next followed soon after and was the result of a South Fremantle defensive error. A clearing kick was marked thirty out by Sam Rotham. He finished accurately from a sharp angle. At the twenty-minute mark Sasha Kernutt showed his class with a great goal. He marked thirty out, on the boundary, and split the middle to give West Perth an eighteen-point lead. At this point in time and for a majority of the match, the Falcon marking in defence was a real feature and this was shown by the next goal. Mark Hamilton marked in the defensive square and the subsequent foray forward saw the ball end up in the hands of Anton Hamp, forty out. He kicked the Falcons fourth for the quarter. But the home team was not done with yet and Sasha Kernutt kicked his second to give the Falcons a thirty-one-point lead. This was short-lived, however, as the Bulldogs took it out of the middle and got their first courtesy of Brandon Donaldson. It was a dominant first term by the home team and vital in the context of the game as they only kicked nine majors in total. They led 5.2 (32) to 1.1 (7) at the first change.

A team of the Bulldogs quality was always going to hit back and they did that in the second quarter by kicking the first two within five minutes. The Falcon response was quick, however. Tyler Keitel was involved in both and his handballs to Mitch Dobson and then Keegan Knott enabled West Perth to restore their twenty-five-point advantage. South Fremantle kicked another while the Falcons kicked three behinds and as a result they took a handy twenty-two-point lead into the main break: 7.5 (47) to 4.1 (25).

The less said about the third quarter the better. West Perth failed to bother the scorer while the Bulldogs dominated. Brendon Ah Chee had a big impact for the visitors. They reduced the margin to just seven and if they hadn’t missed some gettable opportunities they would have been in front. It was an uncharacteristic performance by a Falcon team that just seemed to lose its way. The score was 7.5 (47) to 6.4 (40).

The final quarter promised to be a heart stopper and it was. South Fremantle charged to the lead after kicking two in four minutes. They had all of the momentum and it was going to take a big effort by West Perth to get back in it. They responded but their first three scoring shots went behind. The two-point deficit was removed, however, when Mitch Dobson scrambled the first major since midway through the second quarter. He was on the end of some good work by Tyson Moulton and Sasha Kernutt. This was his second. A point to Tyler Keitel was followed by a second to Sam Rotham who scored after receiving a free thirty out. The margin was eleven at the twenty-two-minute mark. The West Perth defence was under tremendous pressure for the last minutes of the game as the Bulldogs attacked relentlessly and supporters held their breath. They scored three behinds. When the siren finally blew West Perth had achieved an eight-point win: 9.9 (63) to 8.7 (55). It was a strange game of footy but the Falcon fight back in the last quarter was to be admired.

It was a vital win in the context of the season and has laid the foundations for a successful year. Best players were Shane Nelson, Luke Meadows, Mitch Dobson, Sam Rotham and Sasha Kernutt. Mitch Dobson, Sasha Kernutt and Sam Rotham kicked two each.

The Reserves had a disappointing last quarter and as a result went down to the Bulldogs 12.5 (77) to 9.8 (62). They are now two from four for the season. There is still a lot of improvement in this side. Best players were Dylan Yem, Ryan Hudson, Tom O’Donnell, Corey Rundle and Koopah Todd. Michael Mallard was the only multiple goal scorer and he finished with three.

The Colts continued on their winning way and, they too, sit top of the table. They scored a strong 10.12 (72) to 7.9 (51) victory. Best players were Luke Michael, Camden Pires, Jacob Templeton, Aiden Nelson and Noah Farrow. Jacob Templeton, Noah Farrow and Nate Dimanlig all kicked two majors each.

The Colts and Reserves now have three weeks between games due to the State game next week and then the League game against West Coast on May 21. All the best to the players who are chosen to represent WA against SA next weekend.