FALCONS CAPTAINCY A PERFECT FIT FOR BLACK

Friday, April 6, 2018 - 11:15 AM by Chris Pike

CAPTAINCY certainly seems to appear to agree with Aaron Black based on his first game as West Perth skipper as he continues to rack up the accomplishments in an already 152-game WAFL career for the 25-year-old.

Despite potentially not even being halfway through his WAFL career, Black had already achieved everything just about that there was to accomplish by the end of 2017.

Having made his debut with the Falcons as a 17-year-old in 2010, he went on to become a premiership player in 2013, win the Sandover Medal in 2014 and then claim the Breckler Medal in 2015.

Along the way, he has also represented Western Australia on four occasions and late last season reached the 150-game milestone to become a life member of the West Perth Football Club.

Despite all those impressive accomplishments, Black's motivation to continue to improve and to try to get West Perth back into the premiership hunt has remained strong and become the obvious choice to replace Jay van Berlo as captain in 2018.

Black has been appointed skipper at the Falcons in 2018 and couldn’t have started any more impressively having delivered 40, 16 tackles and six marks on Saturday in the 18-point victory against Claremont at HBF Arena to open the new season.

He couldn’t be prouder of the honour of being captain having played under Jason Salecic, Luke Tedesco and van Berlo during his first 152 games for the Falcons.

"It's pretty exciting. Jay has been a wonderful leader of the club for the last four years now and it was a bit of a surprise when he decided to focus on his family and just football, and hand the captaincy over to someone else at the footy club," Black told 91.3 SportFM.

"I was pretty lucky I think to be given the opportunity but I'm really excited by it and it's something I have always wanted to do. It's a great opportunity for me and for the footy club to get some fresh new faces into the leadership group and give them the challenge."

Black is also looking forward to West Perth getting back its strong defensively minded game plan in 2018 to try to apply enormous pressure on the opposition, limit their scoring and make that their trademark once more.

"Our focus over the last two years has been on trying to create a slightly more attacking mindset when probably from 2010 to 2015 we were super defensive. That was our mindset in our premiership year and defence probably led the way in putting us in a position to win it," he said.

"We tried to add more of an attacking game style and probably went a bit away from being that shutdown, defensive side who was able to push up and get in people's faces, and turn the ball over. 

"I think we are just going back to what we were very, very good at a few years ago where we can turn the ball over and play a manic style of defence. It's really exciting and I think if everyone buys into the game plan then it will be successful as we've shown previously."

While West Perth didn't go out and recruit big heading into 2018, there was no real need to.

Black sees plenty of room for natural improvement at the Falcons from emerging players like Blake Wilhelm, Tyson Moulton, Rudy Riddoch, Mark Hamilton, Nathan Alexandre, Zac Guadagnin, Brayden Antonio, Mitch Antonio, Corey Chalmers, Conal Lynch, Scott Nelson, Sam Rotham, Mitch Peirce and company.

One recruit who he couldn’t help but already be impressed with, though, is Liam Tedesco.

"He is a relation to Luke who was a captain of the club, and he's come from Wanneroo to us and has a real keen desire to work hard as a big-bodied midfielder," he said. 

"He started the season well but we've also got a lot of young, exciting guys who have played between 10 and 30 or 40 games who we are looking to take another step this year and really provide something new that they haven’t shown us the previous couple of years. 

"We didn’t go out and recruit any big names this year, which is unfortunate in one way, but it's fantastic to give these young guys the chance to stamp their authority and become a permanent fixture in the West Perth line-up. It's exciting in that regard and I think they have already shown they will step up this year."

Off the field, Black is enjoying the way life is panning out too settling into a teaching role that he feels suits him down to the ground.

"I work out at Darling Range Sports College in Forrestfield so it's a bit of travel for me coming from Joondalup way but they have a footy program there which is on the up and the improve," Black said.

"Teaching and playing footy go hand in hand really to help me with my organisation and leadership skills, and being able to speak in front of groups. 

"It's something that I really enjoy doing to help the next generation of kids both learn and then with the crossover of footy it makes a bit easier and more enjoyable for me as well. 

"I think I got pretty luck with where I'm teaching and being a teacher is something I'm passionate about, and really enjoy doing. It keeps me busy and I'm enjoying it."