Site Search

FLYING STRIJK COULD BE IN CAREER-BEST FALCONS FORM

Friday, May 25, 2018 - 12:04 PM by Chris Pike
Share |
HE might have made his WAFL debut with West Perth 13 years ago and has done plenty over a standout 215-game career, but Andrew Strijk might very well be in the form of his life as a 30-year-old.
 
Strijk had nothing left to prove coming into the 2018 season given everything he had already achieved for West Perth having played more than 200 games to be a life member at the Falcons as well as a premiership player and fairest and best winner.
 
He has now also played for Western Australia a remarkable seven times and played 13 games in the AFL for the West Coast Eagles on top of that.
 
But now Strijk's 2018 season is as good as he's played at any point in his career at West Perth and it started the first couple of weeks with him filling his role off half-back before having moved forward to great effect in more recent times.
 
In West Perth's 88-point win against East Fremantle on Saturday at Joondalup Arena, Strijk wasn’t even the lone standout player for the Falcons with captain Aaron Black not far behind with 37 possessions and two goals while Shane Nelson also had 39 disposals.
 
But his performance that saw him boot a career-best eight goals from 23 possessions and 10 marks was a sight to behold.
 
Strijk has been an outstanding player for West Perth right throughout those 215 matches since making his debut in 2006. 
 
Along the way he played in 2013 premiership, won a fairest and best award in 2013 also and has represented Western Australia on seven occasions on top of also playing 13 AFL matches with the West Coast Eagles.
 
Not only that, but Strijk has that rare ability to be a match-winner while playing at either end of the ground. 
 
He became largely a half-forward when with the Eagles and with his powerful right-foot and strong ball winning ability, has always been effective in the front half whether kicking on goal himself or setting up his teammates. 
 
But he's played more of his football off half-back where his trademark dash and long-kicking have long been a feature of the West Perth game over the past decade.
 
He did start the 2018 season in tremendous form off half-back too but a knee injury to Kody Manning has seen him move forward and Blake Wilhelm slot nicely into his role off half-back, and it has been working a treat.
 
Strijk threatened the type of day he had on Saturday back in Round 5 against Perth at Lathlain Park but his kicking boot wasn’t quite on. He finished that afternoon with 24 possessions, 15 marks and 3.4.
 

He backed it up with a good performance against Subiaco with 20 disposals, nine marks and a goal, and then had a strong showing in the WAFL State game victory over the SANFL at Adelaide Oval with three goals to go with 15 possessions and five marks.
 
So the 30-year-old was in some ominous form heading into Saturday's clash with East Fremantle and he delivered a simply remarkable performance.
 
Strijk had previously kicked five goals once before last year against Claremont but never more than that with hauls of four on another seven occasions.
 
That sure changed on Saturday with him kicking eight goals made up of one in the first quarter, three in the second and then another four in the fourth.
 
To go with that, he also had 23 possessions and 10 marks in an unstoppable display which he obviously was happy about, but it certainly made it more memorable to do as part of a thumping victory at the same time.
 
"It was a bloody good day. It was good to get a win, we were sitting at 3-3 so it's good to have a winning record now and it was a great day for the club," Strijk said.
 
"It's pretty unusual and I don’t kick too many big bags of goals. But it was a pretty good day and it was good fun. I was just fortunate enough to be on the end of the chain and got to see a few. 
 

"I think as a group we kicked 24 goals so that was because of a four-quarter team effort. We aren’t really too concerned with who kicked the goals but I'm obviously happy I kicked that many. But really it was good that we had such a good team effort and were able to put that much of a score on the board.
 
"I don’t think I've kicked a bag like that before. Maybe when I was a real young kid and I was ball hogging a little bit I might have, but definitely not at this sort of level. The most I've ever kicked was five and that's it. It was just one of those where things fell my way an unexpected amount. I was pretty fortunate."
 
While Strijk is happy to have kicked 12 goals over the past three games for West Perth, he knows the key to any success the Falcons have will be having other options.
 
That's why he's happy to have Tyler Keitel having kicked 17 goals in 2018, Keegan Knott 11 and Rudy Riddoch, Jay van Berlo, Trent Manzone and Tyson Moulton seven each, and Michael Lourey six over the past four matches.
 
"There's a lot of good defences in the competition especially at the top end with Subiaco and South Fremantle so you can't rely on one or two key forwards," he said.
 
"One of our strengths at the moment is that we've got a pretty good mix and big bodies like Mike Lourey and Tyler Keitel are always handy. They take the big blokes away and it is really working well for us at the moment."
 
Coming into 2018, many might have not expected much out of West Perth following minimal recruited and the departures of the likes of Nick Rodda, Scott Simpson and Joe Morrow.
 
But Strijk always had faith in the talent coming through at the Falcons and winning four of seven games to date shows that confidence was justified. 
 

"Obviously we didn’t recruit too much coming into this year and there was a fair amount of doubt about the club from the outside because of that, but we've got a pretty strong belief internally with our young kids that we are developing at the moment," Strijk said.
 
"Kids like Blake Wilhelm, Corey Chalmers and Nathan Alexandre aren’t well known names but are playing fantastic footy for us, and it's not just those guys either. They are really developing into quality league footballers."
 
State football is something that Strijk continues to enjoy immensely and never was that more evident of how far the WAFL has come in his time playing for the Black Swans than last week's win in Adelaide over South Australia.
 
"It's something that I really enjoy and I've had a couple of chats with Bill the last few years and we spoke about potentially having a rest or playing State footy, but he really encourages us to play state football," he said. 
 
"It's such a good thing that he wants us to play because it will be career highlights for us when we look back. 
 
"It brings all the clubs together and we are fighting for a common cause and that's to be the best state league in Australia. I think we have done that now, we've proven we're a strong competition and that win in Adelaide was special to share the memories with all those boys."
 
West Perth might have lost to Subiaco prior to the State game too with the Lions having dominated the WAFL so far in 2018, but the Falcons only lost by 22 points to put in by far the most competitive performance against them.
 
Strijk believes the key to going from competing against them to beating them would be not suffering any type of drop off for the full four quarters.
 
"They are a fantastic side and their 6-0 record with a strong percentage shows that, but in my personal opinion what makes Subiaco so strong is that they are good for four quarters of footy," Strijk said.
 
"That’s the strength of theirs and that's why teams struggle to beat them. We played three good quarters against them or were with them for most of the day, but it only takes a five or 10-minute lapse against a team like Subiaco and they can put you away.
 
"If you can string together four quarters of footy I think they are beatable, but it's easier said than done. It's very difficult to play four quarters of good quality football against a side like that, but it can be done."