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RIDDOCH IMPRESSES IN FALCONS DEBUT AHEAD OF TACKLING OLD SIDE

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 11:00 AM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth and Swan Districts never fail to have some added intrigue particularly in the annual ANZAC Round contests and this Saturday will be no different as Rudy Riddoch lines up for the Falcons for the first time against his old side.

Riddoch made his West Perth league debut in the Good Friday victory over Peel Thunder in Mandurah and the burly forward was impressive with 19 possessions, seven marks and a goal.

He added an extra dimension to the Falcons forward-line and looks set to be a key player now for West Perth moving forward.

The 24-year-old was a popular figure at Swans where he played 32 league games and kicked 34 goals after making his debut in 2012 on the back of getting his grounding at colts and reserves level.

However, by the end of 2016 he was after a fresh start and it was West Perth that appealed to him most.

His start might have been delayed a little, but after two impressive reserves performances where he combined for 40 possessions, nine marks and five goals, he came into the league team on Good Friday coming off the 103-point loss to South Fremantle.

West Perth was looking for something different to ignite the team and Riddoch certainly provided that and will now look to continue to do so this Saturday up against Swan Districts at HBF Arena.

It even brings back memories of when Swan Districts 2010 premiership hero and Sandover Medallist Andrew Krakouer attempted a comeback at West Perth back in 2014.

After a delayed start to the season, he made his West Perth debut in Round 5 of that season giving him a week before taking on his former team in the annual ANZAC Round contest.

That's the same story as Riddoch who made his first Falcons league appearance last week in the win over Peel and will now take on the black-and-whites for the first time this Saturday.

Back in 2014, Krakouer threatened to win the ANZAC Day clash for West Perth but kicked 3.4 from his seven kicks with Swan Districts eventually winning by seven points.

While Riddoch might not have quite reached the level that Krakouer did at Swans due to his remarkable 2010 performances, he certainly was a popular figure among that black-and-whites faithful so it's set to be a big day on Saturday as he does battle with his former side.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan was keen to find someone in 2017 who could provide the forward-line with a bit of a different look particularly with Max Duffy, Joel Leeson, Matt Johnson and Matt Fowler among those no longer at the club.

Monaghan always thought Riddoch was a talented and dangerous player when coaching against him and was keen to get him on board. He couldn’t be happier with what he's shown in his first three appearances now in the red and blue.

"Everyone who went down to Mandurah or has watched Rudy in the first two reserves games he played for us would have been really pleased," Monaghan said.

"I've really admired what Rudy could do both with footy in hand and without the footy in his hands over a number of years. 

"He has been a player to cause us a few problems so we are really excited to have him on board. His foot skills are elite, his hands at ground level are very good and for a person of his size he is agile too."

While Monaghan is happy with what Riddoch delivered on Good Friday, he knows he needs to back it up and he's fully aware of the challenge that's ahead this Saturday up against his former side.

"It's great to have Rudy on board but as everyone knows it's only one game. He has a lot of hard work ahead of him and we think he can be a permanent fixture in our side for years to come," Monaghan said.

"It will be a huge challenge now for him this week up against his old side. They will know his strengths and weaknesses very well and I dare say they'll put a fair bit of planning into him.

"It's a big challenge for Rudy this week like it is the rest of the team and the club, and we look forward to having Rudy kick some goals and set a few more up for us as well."