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TOUGH DAY FOR FALCONS AGAINST ROYALS BUT SEASON NOT DONE

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 10:18 PM by Chris Pike
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IT was a day to forget for West Perth against East Perth at HBF Arena on Saturday but the positive is a quick response this Saturday at home to East Fremantle and the Falcons could return straight to the WAFL top five.
 
Fifth position went on the line at HBF Arena on Saturday and every indication was that a close game was in order through the first quarter with West Perth actually managing to lead at quarter-time by eight points.
 
But the Falcons wouldn’t score again until the 18-minute mark of the third quarter and wouldn’t kick another goal until the opening minute of the fourth term. 
 
East Perth went on to kick the next 15 goals in the game and the Royals couldn’t have been more empathic about replacing West Perth in the top five coming away from HBF Arena with the 21.13 (139) to 8.7 (55) victory.
 
East Perth has now won two games on the trot against the other two teams fighting for that fifth spot, Claremont and West Perth. That sees the Royals improve to an 8-9 record to sit fifth percentage ahead of the Falcons as they try to play finals for a sixth straight year.
 
West Perth has lost its past two games to slip to an 8-9 record and out of the top five, but the finals hopes of the Falcons are far from over with games to go against East Fremantle, Subiaco and Claremont.
 
Personnel or lack thereof will never be used as an excuse but West Perth did go into Saturday's clash without Andrew Strijk, Kody Manning, Michael Lourey, Joe Morrow, Steve Potente, Tyson Moulton, Scott Nelson, Mark Hamilton and Dean Munns.
 
That opened the door for rising star Oscar Allen to make his league debut. It wasn’t the ideal game to experience league football for the first time but he showed some good signs with eight possessions and five marks.
 
Aidan Lynch kicked two goals to go with 23 possessions, six marks and six tackles for the Falcons while Brayden Antonio also booted two majors and laid seven tackles.
 
Shane Nelson racked up another 29 possessions and laid six tackles for West Perth with Luke Meadows compiling 24 disposals, Trent Manzone 21, Corey Chalmers 21, Jay van Berlo 20 and Aaron Black 18.
 
Ruckman Chris Keunen battled hard for 12 touches, four tackles and 17 hit outs.
 
Despite the day not turning out too positive for West Perth, the game started quite well with the Falcons kicking the game's first two goals thanks to Chalmers and Manzone.
 
Then in response to East Perth getting on the board through its first major from Nathan Vardy, the Falcons again led by 14 points with Meadows kicking truly. East Perth reduced the quarter-time gap to eight a late goal from Fraser McInnes.
 
It took just 20 seconds for McInnes to kick his second to start the second quarter and then just three minutes later the Royals were in the lead for the first time after a goal to Julian Ameduri. That lead would only continue to grow the rest of the afternoon.
 
West Perth went scoreless the entire second quarter with East Perth piling on goals from Josh Hill, Patrick McGinnity, Jake Waterman, Maginness and Nathan Blee that saw the Royals lead by 37 points by the long break.
 
West Perth managed just one behind for all the third term that came at the 18-minute mark through Kris Shannon.
 
Before that, the Royals added goals to Ameduri, Vardy, Shayne Hille and Waterman. And then after that Falcons behind, East Perth ended the second term with goals to Sharrod Wellingham and Hill to be up by 76 points at the last change.
 
West Perth finally got its fourth goal on the board to start the last quarter when Antonio kicked truly. That broke the drought from the 23-minute mark of the first term but it wasn’t going to be enough to change the disappointing result.
 
In the end, the Falcons did end up kicking four more goals in the last quarter with Antonio adding a second, Aidan Lynch booting two and Max Alexander the other.
 
But East Perth wasn’t about to let up with six goals of its own to stretch its lead by the final siren to 84 points and to emphatically replace West Perth in fifth position on the WAFL ladder.
 
The day didn’t start well for West Perth either in the colts with East Perth beating the Falcons 17.12 (114) to 2.8 (20) at HBF Arena.
 
Slade Hawkins and Lachlan Sherriffs were West Perth's goal scorers.
 
Thomas Medhat gathered 26 possessions for the Falcons, Daniel Rowe 23, Nathan Murray 21, Bailey Chalmers 21, Sherriffs 17 and Dylan Yem 16.
 
West Perth was significantly more competitive in the reserves but East Perth still managed to prevail, winning 11.9 (75) to 10.10 (70) on Saturday at HBF Arena.
 
Matt Guadagnin put his hand up for a league recall with the 191-game veteran looking good with 25 possessions, nine tackles and two goals in his third game back in 2017, and second full match.
 
Sam Rotham and Connor West also kicked two goals each for the Falcons.
 
Mitch Antonio picked up 23 possessions for West Perth, Conal Lynch 20, Thomas O'Brien 17, Baylee James 17 and Michael Ashfield eight to go with 32 hit outs in the ruck.
 
West Perth has the chance to try and return to fifth position by beating East Fremantle at HBF Arena on Saturday in the Falcons' last home game of 2017. A win for the Falcons and a loss for East Perth to Swan Districts and they will be back inside the top five.
 
WEST PERTH 3.5 3.5 3.6 8.7 (55)
EAST PERTH 2.3 9.6 15.10 21.13 (139)
 
WEST PERTH – Goals: Antonio, A Lynch 2; Meadows, Alexander, Chalmers, Manzone.
Best: A Lynch, Meadows, Nelson, Chalmers, Alexander.
EAST PERTH – Goals: Hille, Maginness, Ameduri, Wellingham, Vardy, Waterman, McInnes, Hill 2; Dobson, Mutimer, Blee, Wright, McGinnity.
Best: Blee, McGinnity, McInnes, Hille, Wellingham, Ameduri, Waterman.