Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 9:45 AM by Darrell Kent

WEST Perth didn’t come away with a victory against Subiaco on Saturday at Leederville Oval but they certainly gave the hosts plenty to think about. 

Up to this match the Lions had won all four games by an average margin of nearly 90 points. This certainly wasn’t the case against the Falcons who led for most of the first half before going down by 22 points.

Subiaco has been the form team of the competition for a number of years and their form this year has been as good as ever and as a result they were short priced favourites on the weekend. The Lions hit the scoreboard first with a behind before a clever handball by Rudy Riddoch enabled Tyler Keitel to kick the first of his two goals from the square. 

More behinds were scored before Nathan Alexandre was rewarded for a very good tackle 30m out. His accurate kick extended the lead to 12 and it was the beginning of a very good day for the young defender. The Falcons continued to have the better of the play with the unheralded defence doing a fantastic job. 

At the 19-minute mark, Trent Manzone scored from 30m out on his left and this gave West Perth a 16-point advantage. Up to this point in time the Lions had been goalless but this changed six minutes later when Brad Stevenson snapped from close in. This narrowed the margin to 10 which was the quarter-time margin. The Falcons after a terrific first quarter led 3.2 (20) to 1.4 (10).

Subiaco had the advantage of the wind in the second quarter and controlled play for the first eight minutes to reduce the margin to three. Shortly after Steve Potente received a high tackle and 50m penalty and as a result he scored from the square. It was his first game for the year and he added some toughness to the midfield. Keitel then extended the lead to 15 points when he marked strongly 40m out after a very good transition from defence. 

The Lions hit back shortly after but Keegan Knott goaled from 30m after a free and at the 23-minute mark West Perth was out to a 14-point advantage. There was a lot to like about the Falcons endeavour that had enabled them to respond to Subiaco but unfortunately the home team kicked three goals in the last eight minutes to take the lead by three just before the siren. 

At the main change they led 6.7 (43) to 6.4 (40). It was a very even first half and the visitors were right in the game.

The third quarter was scrappy but it was one that Subiaco had the best of. There was no doubting the Falcons appetite for the contest but the Lions were a little bit cleaner through the midfield. They extended the lead with a major at the two minute mark before West Perth hit back five minutes later. 

It came after Shane Nelson marked 40m out, handballed to Andrew Strijk who split the middle. The margin was once again three but this was to be the last goal that the Falcons kicked for the quarter. Subiaco kicked three more and led by 20 at the final change: 10.7 (67) to 7.5 (47).

The most pleasing aspect of the last term was the way that West Perth fought out the game. They matched the three goals scored by Subiaco in what was a very even final quarter. The Lions quickly extended the lead to 32 in what was an ominous sign for the Falcons but to their credit they hit back at the 10-minute mark when Riddoch scored from the square. 

Jay van Berlo, the safest kick for goal in the team, then marked 45m out. He calmly went back and slotted it to reduce the margin to 19 points midway through the quarter. It was an impressive response to a situation that could have seen the Falcons blown out of the water. 

The Lions extended the lead to 28 points before the final score of the game went to Falcon, Luke Meadows, who kicked a major after marking at the top of the square. At the final siren West Perth had gone under by 22: 13.10 (88) to 10.6 (66).

Falcons supporters would have left the ground fairly satisfied after the pleasing performance in the league and victories to the colts and reserves. The colts easily defeated the previously unbeaten Subiaco and the reserves continued their impressive form under new coach Blake Arnold.  It is terrific to see the number of former players who are returning to the club to contribute and develop the Falcons culture. 

Best players for the league included Nathan Alexandre, Corey Chalmers, Jordan Mills, Blake Wilhelm, Shane Nelson, Connor West and Luke Meadows. 

The State game is on next week; good luck to the four Falcons players who are in the squad. 

A home game against East Fremantle the week after and let’s hope that the side can take the Subiaco form into that contest.