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COME & SEE THE REAL THING - 2003 PREMIERSHIP HEROES

Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 1:33 AM

Years ending in a “3” have never been lucky for West Perth.

It started back in 1923 when the Cardinals missed out on a grand final by losing to East Perth in the semi-final by just nine points.

In 1933, they lost the preliminary final by four points. It cost the club the chance to win four in a row, given the premiership victories of 1932, 1934 and 1935.

Another sequence was broken in 1943. West Perth went back-to-back in 1941 and 1942, but lost the 1943 first semi-final by just three points.

In 1953, it was a grand final loss to South Fremantle and in 1973 a grand final loss to Subiaco. In both 1963 and 1983, West Perth promised the world, but only managed to deliver their fans an atlas.

And then there was 1993. The last season at Leederville and the top-placed Falcons went into the grand final against Claremont as sentimental favourites. They lost by five goals.

Against that backdrop, those members of the West Perth faithful who were superstitious couldn’t possibly have been confident going into season 2003.

West Perth had been thrashed by East Perth in the 2002 grand final and had lost Jeff Bruce, Dean Brunton, Damien Casson, Liam Casson, James Ferguson, Peter Julian, Brett Thompson, Ryan Webb and Andrew Williams during the off-season.

But the hoodoo of years ending in “3” was finally broken and the premiership cup came to Joondalup for the third time in ten years.

This week, the club will honour its 2003 heroes at the game against Subiaco – the same team they upset in the grand final ten seasons ago. Many of those who held the trophy aloft will be present.

Season 2003 started with a heavy recruiting program, which was aimed at plugging the holes left by the departing players.

Kim Rigoll returned to West Perth from Myrtleford, the blond-mopped Brad Murray joined from Victoria, as did life member Dustin Burns, Brent Rynehart and Kepler Bradley made their first appearances, and West Coast recruit Aaron Edwards was allocated to the Falcons.

Finishing the season in second position, the eight-point second semi-final loss to Subiaco was devastating. It gave the Lions a week off, while West Perth was forced to face-off in a preliminary final against their old foes, the Royals.

But a 56-point win finally erased the bitter memories of 2002 and set up a mouth-watering grand final against Subiaco.

From about midway through the second quarter it was clear the day would belong to West Perth.

Brent LeCras, who would go on to win the Simpson Medal, was impassable in defence, as was Simon Duckworth. Mark Seaby dominated in the ruck, while Troy Longmuir kicked five goals up forward.

The other members of that victorious side, coached by former Premiership star Darren Harris, were Rob Hunt, Callum Chambers, Rynehart, Murray, Regan Duckworth, Glenn Britten, Brendon Fewster, Quinten Lynch, Steven Koops, Brett Cousins, Kim Rigoll, Todd Curley, captain Steve Trewhella, Travis McLean, current captain Jason Salecic, Bradley and Brendon Logan.

Mark Seaby aside, they will all be hoping that their efforts to break the hoodoo of years ending in “3” will allow the current crop of Falcons stars to walk away with a premiership this September. 

BY SEAN COWAN

FALCONS WIN VITAL ENCOUNTER

Sunday, June 16, 2013 - 10:20 PM

Two wins at Shark Park in five weeks is hard to come by but the Falcons achieved this on Sunday. In a high class display West Perth led all day to record a fourteen point victory.

They kicked the first goal of the game and were never headed in an impressive display of team football. The win has kept the Falcons ahead of a group of teams who are fighting for a place in the four and second spot. Make no mistake this team is capable of matching it with any team in the competition.

Shaun Marusic got the ball rolling for the Falcons within two minutes. He received a free kick for a deliberate out of bounds, fifty metres and finished from fifteen. It was a bright start to the match for the second gamer.

Brett Peake then tied it up after scoring one for the Sharks but the Falcons then dominated to kick the next three. Marusic took a strong mark in the square to kick his and West Perth’s second, Matt Guadagnin passed to Matt Fowler who marked and scored from forty before Marc Crisp finished from the same distance after receiving a free kick. The Falcons led by eighteen after twelve minutes and it was a lead that they successfully defended for the rest of the day. The Sharks Brad Dalziell kicked the first of his three a few minutes later and the teams proceeded to trade behinds until youngster Matt Johnson marked from a kick in to take the lead out to twenty. The last two scoring shots for the term were behinds to East Fremantle and at the first change West Perth led by three straight; 5.3 (33) to 2.3 (15).

This match was the opposite to the previous encounter between the two sides in which forty five goals were scored. This was a much more dour performance due to the impressive defensive pressure of West Perth that prevented East Fremantle from moving the ball quickly. A strong grab by Marc Crisp enabled him to kick his second within two minutes. Ryan Lester-Smith kicked the next goal of the game but it was fourteen minutes after the Crisp major.

The only other score in that time was a rushed behind to the Falcons. It would be fair to say that it was a battle of the defences. Five minutes later terrific forward line pressure enabled Nick Rodda to convert from twenty after a strong mark. The Sharks replied after taking the ball out of the centre but the last score of the quarter was to Matt Johnson who ran onto a long kick forward and kicked his second. West Perth had extended their lead to twenty five and led 8.5 (53) to 4.4 (28) at the main change.

The Falcons were up and about early in the third term and extended their lead to thirty eight within nine minutes after majors to Nick Rodda and Matt Fowler. At this point in the game five West Perth players had kicked two goals each. Once again the game developed into a real struggle but it was always West Perth who appeared the more dangerous but this was not reflected on the scoreboard. The only other two goals of the quarter were kicked by East Fremantle and at the three quarter time siren the Falcons had increased their lead once again, albeit by one point. At the final change the scores were 10.8 (68) to 6.6 (42).

The class of Andrew Strijk was never more evident than at the start of the final quarter. The ball was bounced and went towards the Sharks goal, Andrew Strijk intercepted and handballed it off before he ran forward to receive a handball and finish on the run from fifty. It was pure class. The goal gave the Falcons a flyer and they led by thirty two within a minute. From here the quarter belonged to the Sharks as they managed to find some space for the first time in the game. They kicked four goals in a row to narrow the margin to just eight at the twenty eight minute mark. The Falcons didn’t really look like losing the game but supporters breathed a sigh of relief when Trent Manzone followed his man forward, ran onto the ball and kicked accurately to put the result beyond doubt just before the final siren. The game was completed with West Perth leading 12.11 (83) to 10.9 (69).

It was an important victory for a side that has played consistently good football all year. Best players included Jay Van Berlo who had thirty six touches, Andrew Strijk for the way that he set up play from half back, Matt Guadagnin for his work around the clearances, Chris Keunen for his ruck work and Dan Hunt for his steadiness in the last line of defence. The Reserves and Colts were narrowly defeated but the focus is now firmly fixed on the encounter with Subiaco at the Arena next Saturday. The day will be the reunion of the 2003 Premiership team so be there to relive that and get the 2013 version over the line.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

FALCONS BEAT SHARKS AGAIN TO MOVE CLEAR IN SECOND

Sunday, June 16, 2013 - 7:44 PM

WEST Perth returned to East Fremantle Oval for the second time in six weeks and came away with the four points once again with Sunday's 14-point win to move clear in second position.
The 12.11 (83) to 10.9 (69) victory sees West Perth improve to a 7-4 record on the season to now sit a game and percentage clear of East Perth in third spot, and two games and percentage ahead of Perth, Swan Districts, East Fremantle and Subiaco who all have five wins.
The Falcons controlled the contest virtually all day at East Fremantle Oval having gone on a run of three straight goals either side of quarter-time to open up a 24-point advantage.
Their lead then extended to 38 points early in the third quarter after early second half goals to Nick Rodda and Matt Fowler.
East Fremantle did show signs of fighting back with the last two goals of the third term, but the Falcons steadied to start the last with Andrew Strijk goaling inside 30 seconds.
East Fremantle kept coming, though, with the game's next four goals to all of a sudden close to within eight points with only a couple of minutes remaining.
That was the closest the Sharks had been since early in the last quarter, but West Perth steadied with Trent Manzone running into an open goal to secure the 14-point win for the Falcons.
West Perth's forward-line was without Anthony Tsalikis and Fremantle's Josh Mellington didn’t kick a goal, but the Falcons still had plenty of options in attack.
Shaun Marusic made a bright start with two goals in the game's opening five minutes. Fowler also kicked two goals having booted five in each of the last three games in the reserves.
Nick Rodda, Matt Johnson and Marc Crisp all kicked two goals apiece as well with the only downside a hamstring injury to Johnson.
The Falcons back-line was once again outstanding led by Michael Pettigrew's dominant display on East Fremantle big man Rob Young with Pettigrew holding him to just two kicks and no score for the day.
Fellow key defender Dan Hunt was also rock solid while the Falcons got plenty of run and drive out of Andrew Strijk (27 possessions and a goal), Luke Tedesco (21, nine marks) and Steven Browne (19 touches, nine marks).
The West Perth midfield also got on top of East Fremantle led by ruckman Chris Keunen who got the better of both Cameron Symonds and Fraser MacDougall finishing with an impressive 19 possessions, six marks, 36 hit outs and five clearances.
Jay van Berlo worked tirelessly all afternoon racking up 36 possessions and winning eight clearances. Matt Guadagnin also had 31 disposals, seven clearances and five entries inside-50.
Shane Nelson picked up another 23 disposals and Mark Hutchings had 22 after being held to just six in the first half.
The West Perth reserves went down to East Fremantle by 28 points but there were plenty of encouraging signs for the Falcons.
Mitch McPhee continued his impressive form kicking four goals while Kody Manning returned from a knee injury and had 13 possessions. Cameron Branch and Aidan Lynch both gathered 22 disposals, James Embley 18, Jack Thrum 17 and Joel Latham 17.
The Falcons' colts put in a good showing after a scoreless first quarter but still went down to the Sharks by 21 points.
Blake Acres was outstanding for West Perth with 31 possessions and two goals with Jesse Kirwen collecting 24 disposals, Tom Shadbolt 21 and Joel Brown 18. Kyle Egan also kicked two majors.
WEST PERTH 5.3 8.5 10.8 12.11 (83)
EAST FREMANTLE 2.3 4.4 6.6 10.9 (69)
WEST PERTH – Goals: Fowler, Rodda, Johnson, Marusic, Crisp 2; Strijk, Manzone.
Best: Van Berlo, Pettigrew, Keunen, Guadagnin, Strijk, Tedesco, Hutchings.
EAST FREMANTLE – Goals: Dalziell 3; Duffy, Lester-Smith 2; Peake, Henson, Hancock.
Best: Dalziell, Howlett, Stephen, Hancock, O'Brien.
BY CHRIS PIKE

WEST Perth returned to East Fremantle Oval for the second time in six weeks and came away with the four points once again with Sunday's 14-point win to move clear in second position.

The 12.11 (83) to 10.9 (69) victory sees West Perth improve to a 7-4 record on the season to now sit a game and percentage clear of East Perth in third spot, and two games and percentage ahead of Perth, Swan Districts, East Fremantle and Subiaco who all have five wins.

The Falcons controlled the contest virtually all day at East Fremantle Oval having gone on a run of three straight goals either side of quarter-time to open up a 24-point advantage.

Their lead then extended to 38 points early in the third quarter after early second half goals to Nick Rodda and Matt Fowler.

East Fremantle did show signs of fighting back with the last two goals of the third term, but the Falcons steadied to start the last with Andrew Strijk goaling inside 30 seconds.

East Fremantle kept coming, though, with the game's next four goals to all of a sudden close to within eight points with only a couple of minutes remaining.

That was the closest the Sharks had been since early in the last quarter, but West Perth steadied with Trent Manzone running into an open goal to secure the 14-point win for the Falcons.

West Perth's forward-line was without Anthony Tsalikis and Fremantle's Josh Mellington didn’t kick a goal, but the Falcons still had plenty of options in attack.

Shaun Marusic made a bright start with two goals in the game's opening five minutes. Fowler also kicked two goals having booted five in each of the last three games in the reserves.

Nick Rodda, Matt Johnson and Marc Crisp all kicked two goals apiece as well with the only downside a hamstring injury to Johnson.

The Falcons back-line was once again outstanding led by Michael Pettigrew's dominant display on East Fremantle big man Rob Young with Pettigrew holding him to just two kicks and no score for the day.

Fellow key defender Dan Hunt was also rock solid while the Falcons got plenty of run and drive out of Andrew Strijk (27 possessions and a goal), Luke Tedesco (21, nine marks) and Steven Browne (19 touches, nine marks).

The West Perth midfield also got on top of East Fremantle led by ruckman Chris Keunen who got the better of both Cameron Symonds and Fraser MacDougall finishing with an impressive 19 possessions, six marks, 36 hit outs and five clearances.

Jay van Berlo worked tirelessly all afternoon racking up 36 possessions and winning eight clearances. Matt Guadagnin also had 31 disposals, seven clearances and five entries inside-50.

Shane Nelson picked up another 23 disposals and Mark Hutchings had 22 after being held to just six in the first half.

The West Perth reserves went down to East Fremantle by 28 points but there were plenty of encouraging signs for the Falcons.

Mitch McPhee continued his impressive form kicking four goals while Kody Manning returned from a knee injury and had 13 possessions. Cameron Branch and Aidan Lynch both gathered 22 disposals, James Embley 18, Jack Thrum 17 and Joel Latham 17.

The Falcons' colts put in a good showing after a scoreless first quarter but still went down to the Sharks by 21 points.

Blake Acres was outstanding for West Perth with 31 possessions and two goals with Jesse Kirwen collecting 24 disposals, Tom Shadbolt 21 and Joel Brown 18. Kyle Egan also kicked two majors.

WEST PERTH 5.3 8.5 10.8 12.11 (83)

EAST FREMANTLE 2.3 4.4 6.6 10.9 (69)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Fowler, Rodda, Johnson, Marusic, Crisp 2; Strijk, Manzone.

Best: Van Berlo, Pettigrew, Keunen, Guadagnin, Strijk, Tedesco, Hutchings.

EAST FREMANTLE – Goals: Dalziell 3; Duffy, Lester-Smith 2; Peake, Henson, Hancock.

Best: Dalziell, Howlett, Stephen, Hancock, O'Brien.

BY CHRIS PIKE

ROUND 13 PREVIEW V EAST FREMANTLE

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 10:27 PM

SECOND spot on the ladder could potentially go on the line on Sunday when East Fremantle does battle with West Perth at East Fremantle Oval for the second time in six weeks.

West Perth remains in second position on the WAFL ladder with a 6-4 record but is only just clinging to that spot following defeats the last fortnight to East Perth and Claremont following a strong 36-point win over Perth in Round 10 that saw the Falcons move clear in second spot.
The Falcons now sit just a game clear of the chasing Perth, East Fremantle, Subiaco and East Perth so spots on the ladder from second right down to eighth are remarkably even making every game against one another incredibly important.
That is certainly the case with Sunday's clash at Shark Park. East Fremantle bounced back well last Saturday beating Peel by 35 points at home following a horror Foundation Derby performance against South Fremantle.
That win improved last year's grand finalists to a 5-5 record to have the chance to move up into second spot with a win over West Perth on Sunday, or to potentially drop as low as sixth with a loss.
The last time the two teams met at East Fremantle Oval as well in Round 8 was an incredible battle of sharp kicking on goal with West Perth booting 24.8 to beat the Sharks who kicked 21.3 in what was East Fremantle's most accurate goal kicking performance in the club's history.
East Fremantle is swapping some youth for youth with its side to take on the Falcons on Sunday from the one that beat Peel Thunder last Saturday.
Young small forward Godfrey Curley and impressive defender Matthew Jupp go out of the team with running midfielder/half-forward James Depane a chance to return along with a couple of potential debutants to come in.
Jordan Dorotich, the son of former Carlton and South Fremantle great Jon, could play his first game with East Fremantle while Sam Read could also make his official WAFL debut after playing in the Sharks' Foxtel Cup win over Norwood in Adelaide earlier this season
West Perth has some massive outs with wingman Ray Bartholomew out with a calf strain he suffered early in last week's eventual loss to Claremont at Arena Joondalup.
Veteran forward Anthony Tsalikis has been in some of the best form of his career so far this season as a hard leading half-forward, but he is also out of the side to take on the Sharks this Sunday due to work commitments.
One of last week's inclusions James Batterham is also out of the team.
Rohan Kerr (thigh) and Kody Manning (knee) are both pressing to make their return from injury but will still face fitness tests leading into the clash on Sunday to determine their availability.
Ruckman Chris Keunen is an important inclusion after being a late withdrawal last week against Claremont when he went down with a migraine during the warm-up meaning Frank Stockley had to be pulled out of the reserves to help carry the ruck alongside debutant Shaun Marusic.
Matt Fowler could be the most likely inclusion to replace Tsalikis after kicking bags of five goals three straight weeks in the reserves. Brayden Antonio has been in impressive reserves form this season for West Perth and the 18-year-old could make his first league appearance of the season.
Kris Shannon is also pushing for inclusion as is small defender Laine Rasmussen after racking up 30 possessions and laying six tackles in the Falcons reserves last Saturday against Claremont.
West Perth coach Bill Monaghan certainly doesn’t want it necessarily to be another high-scoring affair against the Sharks on Sunday, but will be happy to take a win no matter how it comes about.
"I don’t want it to be another shoot out but if you gave me a 24-goal to 21-goal victory now I would take that. Sometimes the game doesn’t pan out the way you want it to, but the hard thing about that last game against East Fremantle was that it was a fantastic game of footy, but both sides kicked exceptionally well on goal. It could have easily been an 18-goal to 14 result and then the scores aren’t that high, but we kicked 24.8 and they kicked 21.3," Monaghan said.
"What we need to work out is if we contributed to their 21.3 because of the ease we let them score at because 24 scoring shots isn’t a huge amount to give up, and it's probably only a couple more than we would like. If they kicked 14.10 from those 24 shots then that's probably about average and no one would be calling it a shoot out. That game was only a shoot out because of how both teams shot on goal.
"We will try to close it down a little, though, and I'm sure East Fremantle will do the same. They had a couple of weeks where they actually got scored on quite heavily and then they seemed to be able to close down the game a bit more last week. I expect it to be more of a dour struggle than it was that day."
BY CHRIS PIKESECOND spot on the ladder could potentially go on the line on Sunday when East Fremantle does battle with West Perth at East Fremantle Oval for the second time in six weeks.

West Perth remains in second position on the WAFL ladder with a 6-4 record but is only just clinging to that spot following defeats the last fortnight to East Perth and Claremont following a strong 36-point win over Perth in Round 10 that saw the Falcons move clear in second spot.

The Falcons now sit just a game clear of the chasing Perth, East Fremantle, Subiaco and East Perth so spots on the ladder from second right down to eighth are remarkably even making every game against one another incredibly important.

That is certainly the case with Sunday's clash at Shark Park. East Fremantle bounced back well last Saturday beating Peel by 35 points at home following a horror Foundation Derby performance against South Fremantle.

That win improved last year's grand finalists to a 5-5 record to have the chance to move up into second spot with a win over West Perth on Sunday, or to potentially drop as low as sixth with a loss.

The last time the two teams met at East Fremantle Oval as well in Round 8 was an incredible battle of sharp kicking on goal with West Perth booting 24.8 to beat the Sharks who kicked 21.3 in what was East Fremantle's most accurate goal kicking performance in the club's history.

East Fremantle is swapping some youth for youth with its side to take on the Falcons on Sunday from the one that beat Peel Thunder last Saturday.

Young small forward Godfrey Curley and impressive defender Matthew Jupp go out of the team with running midfielder/half-forward James Depane a chance to return along with a couple of potential debutants to come in.

Jordan Dorotich, the son of former Carlton and South Fremantle great Jon, could play his first game with East Fremantle while Sam Read could also make his official WAFL debut after playing in the Sharks' Foxtel Cup win over Norwood in Adelaide earlier this season

West Perth has some massive outs with wingman Ray Bartholomew out with a calf strain he suffered early in last week's eventual loss to Claremont at Arena Joondalup.

Veteran forward Anthony Tsalikis has been in some of the best form of his career so far this season as a hard leading half-forward, but he is also out of the side to take on the Sharks this Sunday due to work commitments.

One of last week's inclusions James Batterham is also out of the team.

Rohan Kerr (thigh) and Kody Manning (knee) are both pressing to make their return from injury but will still face fitness tests leading into the clash on Sunday to determine their availability.

Ruckman Chris Keunen is an important inclusion after being a late withdrawal last week against Claremont when he went down with a migraine during the warm-up meaning Frank Stockley had to be pulled out of the reserves to help carry the ruck alongside debutant Shaun Marusic.

Matt Fowler could be the most likely inclusion to replace Tsalikis after kicking bags of five goals three straight weeks in the reserves. Brayden Antonio has been in impressive reserves form this season for West Perth and the 18-year-old could make his first league appearance of the season.

Kris Shannon is also pushing for inclusion as is small defender Laine Rasmussen after racking up 30 possessions and laying six tackles in the Falcons reserves last Saturday against Claremont.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan certainly doesn’t want it necessarily to be another high-scoring affair against the Sharks on Sunday, but will be happy to take a win no matter how it comes about.

"I don’t want it to be another shoot out but if you gave me a 24-goal to 21-goal victory now I would take that. Sometimes the game doesn’t pan out the way you want it to, but the hard thing about that last game against East Fremantle was that it was a fantastic game of footy, but both sides kicked exceptionally well on goal. It could have easily been an 18-goal to 14 result and then the scores aren’t that high, but we kicked 24.8 and they kicked 21.3," Monaghan said.

"What we need to work out is if we contributed to their 21.3 because of the ease we let them score at because 24 scoring shots isn’t a huge amount to give up, and it's probably only a couple more than we would like. If they kicked 14.10 from those 24 shots then that's probably about average and no one would be calling it a shoot out. That game was only a shoot out because of how both teams shot on goal.

"We will try to close it down a little, though, and I'm sure East Fremantle will do the same. They had a couple of weeks where they actually got scored on quite heavily and then they seemed to be able to close down the game a bit more last week. I expect it to be more of a dour struggle than it was that day."

BY CHRIS PIKE

EXPRESSION OF INTEREST - SUPPORTER'S BUS TO MOORA

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 1:58 AM

The West Perth Football Club is investigating the option of providing a supporter’s bus to and from Moora for the Round 21 CSES game against Perth on Saturday 10 August 2013.

Tickets will be $25 per person. The bus leaves Arena Joondalup at 9:30am and departs Moora after the game at 6:00pm to return to Perth.

We will need a minimum of 40 RSVP's for the bus to go ahead so please get in early to book your seat. The coach has air conditioning, comfortable seats, television and toilet on board. Strictly no alcohol is permitted on the coach.

Please register your interest for a seat on the bus by contacting Georgia at the Club ASAP on 08 9300 3611 or by email to reception@falconsfc.com.au. Please note that this service will only proceed if we receive enough numbers. Payment for your ticket will only be required if the bus goes ahead. RSVP's are due by Friday 26 July 2013.

BILL'S GRILL – ROUND 12

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 1:35 AM

WHAT is important after the last couple of weeks is our ability to either concentrate or execute our plans over four quarters.

That's something that has clearly been missing and whilst there might be some circumstances that have led to a loss of personnel and us struggling to counter rotations on the bench and all of that, at the end of the day they aren’t reasons why we lose games of footy.
We are a young, developing side mostly and whilst we have some great experienced players, we are playing some young kids who are just learning the ropes and are going to be up and down at times. In our first four or five games the young kids were playing with a lot of excitement and on the back of their exuberance and ability we looked really good early in the season.
But there was always going to be a time when our leadership players needed to stand up because guys like Johnson, Rodda, Nelson and Black are still very much in the infancy of their careers. Obviously we would like them not to have troughs, but it's always going to happen and it's important now that our senior players and leaders step up and show the way to cover for the fact that the kids might have just dropped off with their form a little bit.
We have 100 and 150-game players because they have proven over a long period of time that they can do that and it's really important now that they show leadership and direction, and obviously put that into practice on the park starting this Sunday.
Obviously losing anyone like we did with Chris Keunen on Saturday in our pre-game and having to bring Frank Stockley off halfway through the reserves isn’t the best for you, but I thought Frank battled hard and Shaun Marusic who came in for his first game also battled hard. Mark Seaby, in particular, won a lot of hit outs but there were 121 ball-ups or throw-ins in our game so I don’t see 55 as being an excessive number that he won in a game like that. I'm also not sure he hit that too many to advantage so I felt that Frank and Shaun battled manfully. The funny stat was that at half-time when we were getting pumped we were even in the clearances, and in the second half when we outscored Claremont we lost the clearances quite markedly.
In some ways I was surprised that West Coast decided to drop Mark Hutchings back to us, but in some ways I'm not as well. He is only young in his AFL career and he has a great ability to find the ball that he did show at AFL player, but when you are picking a side it's all about the balance and how many minutes you will get, and how many mids, backs and forwards you need. Without being on West Coast's selection panel it's hard to know why they go a certain way, but his attitude is outstanding and his performance on the weekend couldn’t get much better. He had 30-odd touches, six shots on goal, 10 tackles that I had him for and seven or eight clearances. We are obviously glad to have him when we can and if West Coat need him or want him, we wish him all the best.
In terms of our injuries, I'll start with the easy one and Chris Keunen will be back. That will be easy. I'm not sure anyone has really worked out what Jason Salecic's concern is and we will train tonight, but I'm not hopeful that he will be able to do a whole session. I'm expecting him to do something tonight, but I would say he's going to be at least a couple of weeks. Bartholomew has a significant strain of the calf so he's going to be four to six weeks.
Then the two interesting ones are Rohan Kerr and Kody Manning. They are both touch and go to be available this week. They have to obviously get through the next couple of nights at training and then we need to get through the process of if we get them back or err on the side of caution and give them an extra week to make sure they aren’t put under unnecessary stress. Our early call would be that we will probably err on the side of caution with both of those guys, and we would expect both to play some footy next week against Subiaco.
The competition is so even this year and even South Fremantle who is currently ninth has shown that if they come to play and the opposition isn’t quite 100 per cent mentally prepared that they can hurt you as well.
The WAFL must be rubbing their hands together with the evenness of the competition, but it probably doesn’t change anything that we do. In some ways, it makes it a little easier as a coach because you don’t have to be telling your players and pointing out to them that every game means a lot, and that you can't take sides lightly. The results and the ladder have everyone knowing that that's the case so that makes it a tad easier. We just need to make sure that we play four quarters of footy and that we are ready starting this Sunday against East Fremantle.
Last time East Fremantle jumped us and we were a bit lucky that in the first 15 minutes that they didn’t get off to an even better start. They kicked three goals with us struggling to touch the ball in that time, so one of our big focuses this week will be to get off to a good start. 
BY BILL MONAGHANWHAT is important after the last couple of weeks is our ability to either concentrate or execute our plans over four quarters.

That's something that has clearly been missing and whilst there might be some circumstances that have led to a loss of personnel and us struggling to counter rotations on the bench and all of that, at the end of the day they aren’t reasons why we lose games of footy.

We are a young, developing side mostly and whilst we have some great experienced players, we are playing some young kids who are just learning the ropes and are going to be up and down at times. In our first four or five games the young kids were playing with a lot of excitement and on the back of their exuberance and ability we looked really good early in the season.

But there was always going to be a time when our leadership players needed to stand up because guys like Johnson, Rodda, Nelson and Black are still very much in the infancy of their careers. Obviously we would like them not to have troughs, but it's always going to happen and it's important now that our senior players and leaders step up and show the way to cover for the fact that the kids might have just dropped off with their form a little bit.

We have 100 and 150-game players because they have proven over a long period of time that they can do that and it's really important now that they show leadership and direction, and obviously put that into practice on the park starting this Sunday.

Obviously losing anyone like we did with Chris Keunen on Saturday in our pre-game and having to bring Frank Stockley off halfway through the reserves isn’t the best for you, but I thought Frank battled hard and Shaun Marusic who came in for his first game also battled hard. Mark Seaby, in particular, won a lot of hit outs but there were 121 ball-ups or throw-ins in our game so I don’t see 55 as being an excessive number that he won in a game like that. I'm also not sure he hit that too many to advantage so I felt that Frank and Shaun battled manfully. The funny stat was that at half-time when we were getting pumped we were even in the clearances, and in the second half when we outscored Claremont we lost the clearances quite markedly.

In some ways I was surprised that West Coast decided to drop Mark Hutchings back to us, but in some ways I'm not as well. He is only young in his AFL career and he has a great ability to find the ball that he did show at AFL player, but when you are picking a side it's all about the balance and how many minutes you will get, and how many mids, backs and forwards you need. Without being on West Coast's selection panel it's hard to know why they go a certain way, but his attitude is outstanding and his performance on the weekend couldn’t get much better. He had 30-odd touches, six shots on goal, 10 tackles that I had him for and seven or eight clearances. We are obviously glad to have him when we can and if West Coat need him or want him, we wish him all the best.

In terms of our injuries, I'll start with the easy one and Chris Keunen will be back. That will be easy. I'm not sure anyone has really worked out what Jason Salecic's concern is and we will train tonight, but I'm not hopeful that he will be able to do a whole session. I'm expecting him to do something tonight, but I would say he's going to be at least a couple of weeks. Bartholomew has a significant strain of the calf so he's going to be four to six weeks.

Then the two interesting ones are Rohan Kerr and Kody Manning. They are both touch and go to be available this week. They have to obviously get through the next couple of nights at training and then we need to get through the process of if we get them back or err on the side of caution and give them an extra week to make sure they aren’t put under unnecessary stress. Our early call would be that we will probably err on the side of caution with both of those guys, and we would expect both to play some footy next week against Subiaco.

The competition is so even this year and even South Fremantle who is currently ninth has shown that if they come to play and the opposition isn’t quite 100 per cent mentally prepared that they can hurt you as well.

The WAFL must be rubbing their hands together with the evenness of the competition, but it probably doesn’t change anything that we do. In some ways, it makes it a little easier as a coach because you don’t have to be telling your players and pointing out to them that every game means a lot, and that you can't take sides lightly. The results and the ladder have everyone knowing that that's the case so that makes it a tad easier. We just need to make sure that we play four quarters of footy and that we are ready starting this Sunday against East Fremantle.

Last time East Fremantle jumped us and we were a bit lucky that in the first 15 minutes that they didn’t get off to an even better start. They kicked three goals with us struggling to touch the ball in that time, so one of our big focuses this week will be to get off to a good start. 

BY BILL MONAGHAN

TIGERS TOO GOOD

Sunday, June 9, 2013 - 10:44 PM

West Perth could not match the consistency of Claremont at the Arena Joondalup on Saturday.

The Tigers used the ball better for longer periods of play and ran out twenty one point winners. It was a credit to the Falcons that they persisted and kept the margin to what it was because at different times it looked as though Claremont was going to run away with it. West Perth really felt the loss of big man Chris Keunen who had to withdraw from the game due to a migraine. His replacement, Frank Stockley, battled manfully when you consider that he had already played a half in the Reserves.

Claremont got the jump kicking the first two goals of the game. The Falcons steadied to kick the next three and take the lead. The first went to debutant Shaun Marusic who scored a goal with his first kick in league football. Nick Rodda placed the ball to his advantage and he ran into an open goal. Nick Rodda was again involved when he laid a great tackle that turned the ball over to Luke Tedesco who put the ball into the hands of Mark Hutchings who kicked the first of his three for the game. This gave the Falcons a one point lead which was extended to seven when Jay Van Berlo converted after a boundary throw in. But the Tigers steadied to kick the last four of the term and the next eight for the game. At the first change they led 6.3 (39) to 3.3 (21).

Claremont dominated the second term kicking four unanswered goals and at the seventeen minute mark led by a match winning thirty nine points. Marc Crisp stopped Clarmeont's run when he scored from thirty but Claremont kicked the next two to take the lead out to forty five. Steven Potente scored the next goal when he received fifty metres and finished from the square. Matt Guadagnin followed shortly after when the ball fell free from a strong tackle and he finished accurately. The margin was reduced to thirty three but the last scoring shots of the term went to Claremont and at the main change they led by forty one; 13.5 (83) to 6.6 (42).

West Perth stormed back into the game at the start of the third quarter and by the nine minute mark had reduced the deficit to twenty two. Matt Guadagnin broke a tackle to kick his second, the hard running Anthony Tsalikis his first and he took advantage of some great use of the footy to kick his second. But as was the case all day the Tigers responded and kicked the next four to lead by forty seven at the twenty five minute mark. Falcons’ supporters were given a small degree of hope when Andrew Strijk ran from half back to kick a major and reduce the margin to forty at the final change. Scores were 17.6 (108) to 10.8 (68).

Claremont scored three behinds to start the final term before West Perth charged home. Mark Hutchings kicked his second after taking the ball off hands, “Slick” his third after marking thirty out, Aaron Black received a free kick and fifty metres to score from the square, Josh Mellington finished with a clever snap and when Mark Hutchings kicked his third from fifty the Claremont lead had been reduced to fifteen at the twenty eight minute mark. There was plenty of time left as Paul Medhurst was carried off on a stretcher early in the term and all quarters had gone for nearly thirty five minutes. The run came to a halt, however, when Ian Richardson kicked his fourth goal from the boundary. The siren went shortly after sealing the twenty one point victory and the 18.11 (119) to 15.8 (98) score line.

The Falcons did a good job to stem the tide and then fight back after the strong first half by Claremont. The five day turn around and loss of Chris Keunen prior to the game was undoubtedly unsettling but it makes the game against East Fremantle next week even more important. Best players were Jay Van Berlo, Anthony Tsalikis, Andrew Strijk, Matt Guadagnin and best was Mark Hutchings who was terrific after coming back from the Eagles. The Reserves are to be congratulated for their third win in a row. Best players were Max Alexander, Josh Donaldson, Michael Mascoulis, Matt Fowler and Laine Rasmussen. A must win game against the Sharks next Sunday. Be there to help get the boys over the line.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

FALCONS FALL NARROWLY AT HOME TO TIGERS

Saturday, June 8, 2013 - 1:31 PM

THE WAFL's top two teams met at Arena Joondalup on Saturday with Claremont ending up stretching its lead atop the ladder with a 21-point victory over West Perth.

While the Falcons and Tigers occupy the top two spots on the table, both were coming off losses last weekend after West Perth lost its Foundation (WA) Day derby against East Perth and Claremont surprisingly went down at home to Claremont on Sunday.
That added some extra spice to what was already an enthralling match-up and it was Claremont who came out of the blocks flying with two quick goals before the Falcons steadied into the contest well with the next three goals.
Claremont kicked away before quarter-time, though, to lead at the first change by 18 points and then with five goals in the second term the Falcons had a lot of work to do.
West Perth refused to lie down, though, and managed to kick three straight goals but Claremont still led by 41 points at half-time.
 The Falcons came out desperate to make a game of it in the second half with the first three goals of the third quarter to close to within 22 points, but Claremont again steadied to hold a commanding 40-point lead still at three quarter-time.
West Perth still wasn’t going to concede the four points, though, and booted the opening five goals to suddenly be within 15 points with plenty of time remaining, but Ian Richardson kicked the sealer for Claremont to secure the 18.11 (119) to 15.8 (98) win.
Despite being a solid performer for West Coast in his first tastes of action at AFL level, Mark Hutchings was surprisingly dropped back to play with West Perth and certainly didn’t disappoint with 32 possessions, seven marks, seven tackles and three goals.
Fresh off his 150th game last week against East Perth, Matt Guadagnin was a tireless worker also with 26 disposals, six marks, four inside-50 entries and two goals.
Jay van Berlo gathered 24 possessions as well for West Perth with Luke Tedesco picking up 23, Andrew Strijk 22, Aaron Black 21 and Josh Mellington 18 to go with six inside 50s and a goal.
Anthony Tsalikis made the most of his limited chances up forward kicking three goals from 14 possessions and six marks.
Unfortunately for West Perth fans, 2003 premiership ruckman Mark Seaby was a dominant presence for Claremont with a massive 55 hit outs as he took full advantage of the Falcons losing Chris Keunen before the bounce due to a migraine.
That meant that Frank Stockley had to be pulled out of the reserves at half-time to carry the load in the ruck for the league side. He tried hard with 29 hit outs but it was a huge ask.
Debutant Shaun Marusic offered him some support and had 10 hit outs while also kicking a goal in his first game for West Perth.
James Batterham played one league and one Foxtel Cup game in 2012, and got his first opportunity in 2013 and put in a solid effort with 14 possessions.
West Perth's reserves recorded a 21-point win over Claremont with Matt Fowler kicking five goals for the third straight week.
Cameron Branch also kicked two majors with Laine Rasmussen returning to pick up 30 possessions. Joel Latham gathered 22 disposals, Jack Thrum 20, Branch 18 and Brayden Antonio 17.
The Falcons' colts only narrowly lost to Claremont by seven points to start off the day at Arena Joondalup. Joel Brown collected 24 possessions for West Perth, Jesse Kirwen 22, Mitchell Peirce 22, Tom Shadbolt 21 and Tim Sutherland 18 to go with 24 hit outs.
WEST PERTH 3.3 6.6 10.8 15.8 (98)
CLAREMONT 6.3 13.5 17.6 18.11 (119)
WEST PERTH – Goals: Hutchings, Tsalikis 3; Guadagnin 2; Black, Strijk, Crisp, van Berlo, Marusic, Potente, Mellington.
Best: Hutchings, Guadagnin, Nelson, Tedesco, van Berlo, Strijk.
CLAREMONT – Goals: Richardson, Jones 4; Hamp 3; Medhurst, Bradshaw 2; Davies, Taylor, McGinnity.
Best: Seaby, Foster, McGinnity, Richardson, Murphy, Taylor, Daniher, Browne.
BY CHRIS PIKETHE WAFL's top two teams met at Arena Joondalup on Saturday with Claremont ending up stretching its lead atop the ladder with a 21-point victory over West Perth.

While the Falcons and Tigers occupy the top two spots on the table, both were coming off losses last weekend after West Perth lost its Foundation (WA) Day derby against East Perth and Claremont surprisingly went down at home to Claremont on Sunday.

That added some extra spice to what was already an enthralling match-up and it was Claremont who came out of the blocks flying with two quick goals before the Falcons steadied into the contest well with the next three goals.

Claremont kicked away before quarter-time, though, to lead at the first change by 18 points and then with five goals in the second term the Falcons had a lot of work to do.

West Perth refused to lie down, though, and managed to kick three straight goals but Claremont still led by 41 points at half-time.

The Falcons came out desperate to make a game of it in the second half with the first three goals of the third quarter to close to within 22 points, but Claremont again steadied to hold a commanding 40-point lead still at three quarter-time.

West Perth still wasn’t going to concede the four points, though, and booted the opening five goals to suddenly be within 15 points with plenty of time remaining, but Ian Richardson kicked the sealer for Claremont to secure the 18.11 (119) to 15.8 (98) win.

Despite being a solid performer for West Coast in his first tastes of action at AFL level, Mark Hutchings was surprisingly dropped back to play with West Perth and certainly didn’t disappoint with 32 possessions, seven marks, seven tackles and three goals.

Fresh off his 150th game last week against East Perth, Matt Guadagnin was a tireless worker also with 26 disposals, six marks, four inside-50 entries and two goals.

Jay van Berlo gathered 24 possessions as well for West Perth with Luke Tedesco picking up 23, Andrew Strijk 22, Aaron Black 21 and Josh Mellington 18 to go with six inside 50s and a goal.

Anthony Tsalikis made the most of his limited chances up forward kicking three goals from 14 possessions and six marks.

Unfortunately for West Perth fans, 2003 premiership ruckman Mark Seaby was a dominant presence for Claremont with a massive 55 hit outs as he took full advantage of the Falcons losing Chris Keunen before the bounce due to a migraine.

That meant that Frank Stockley had to be pulled out of the reserves at half-time to carry the load in the ruck for the league side. He tried hard with 29 hit outs but it was a huge ask.

Debutant Shaun Marusic offered him some support and had 10 hit outs while also kicking a goal in his first game for West Perth.

James Batterham played one league and one Foxtel Cup game in 2012, and got his first opportunity in 2013 and put in a solid effort with 14 possessions.

West Perth's reserves recorded a 21-point win over Claremont with Matt Fowler kicking five goals for the third straight week.

Cameron Branch also kicked two majors with Laine Rasmussen returning to pick up 30 possessions. Joel Latham gathered 22 disposals, Jack Thrum 20, Branch 18 and Brayden Antonio 17.

The Falcons' colts only narrowly lost to Claremont by seven points to start off the day at Arena Joondalup. Joel Brown collected 24 possessions for West Perth, Jesse Kirwen 22, Mitchell Peirce 22, Tom Shadbolt 21 and Tim Sutherland 18 to go with 24 hit outs.

WEST PERTH 3.3 6.6 10.8 15.8 (98)

CLAREMONT 6.3 13.5 17.6 18.11 (119)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Hutchings, Tsalikis 3; Guadagnin 2; Black, Strijk, Crisp, van Berlo, Marusic, Potente, Mellington.

Best: Hutchings, Guadagnin, Nelson, Tedesco, van Berlo, Strijk.

CLAREMONT – Goals: Richardson, Jones 4; Hamp 3; Medhurst, Bradshaw 2; Davies, Taylor, McGinnity.

Best: Seaby, Foster, McGinnity, Richardson, Murphy, Taylor, Daniher, Browne.

BY CHRIS PIKE

ROUND 12 PREVIEW V CLAREMONT

Friday, June 7, 2013 - 1:35 AM

WEST Perth and Claremont have combined for just four losses this season, but two of them came last weekend adding some extra bite to this Saturday's clash at Arena Joondalup.

The Falcons and Tigers occupy the top-two spots on the ladder but Saturday's game looms as a crucial one for the winner, and indeed the loser.
Claremont could move four wins clear of West Perth on the ladder with a victory to make it incredibly hard for any side in the second half of the season to knock the Tigers off for a fourth straight minor premiership.
However, a West Perth win would move the Falcons to just two wins behind Claremont but more importantly only one defeat with a game in hand.
A Falcons loss, though, would see them vulnerable to the teams below with Perth and East Perth just the one win behind, and possibly East Fremantle as well if the Sharks beat Peel on Saturday.
Claremont won its first nine games of the season and looked set to record a 10th straight last Sunday at home to Subiaco, but the Tigers didn’t manage a final quarter goal with the Lions finishing the stronger to end up winning by 10 points.
West Perth was sitting pretty with a 6-2 record and led most of the game last Monday in the Foundation (WA) Day derby against East Perth at Leederville, but then also didn’t manage a goal in the last quarter as the Royals kicked six to win by 19 points.
Neither the Tiger nor Falcons kicked a last quarter goal in their losses last weekend so leading at three quarter-time come Saturday at Arena Joondalup could be crucial in the final result.
Claremont has won the last four encounters with West Perth including a hard fought 19-point win at Claremont Oval in Round 6 this season in what was a terrific contest.
West Perth has lost captain Jason Salecic following Monday's loss to East Perth and the Falcons are confident that prolific midfielder Shane Nelson will be right to take his place in the side despite injuring his ankle midway through the last quarter after already having racked up 27 possessions.
Matt Fowler, Brayden Antonio, Shaun Marusic and James Batterham are all making a strong push to come into the West Perth league side.
Fowler kicked five goals in the reserves last week against East Perth for the second straight game and could come in to add another forward option for the Falcons.
Antonio has been building some form nicely as well and had another 23 possessions in the reserves and he could be an option to come in, and he can play across half-forward and have the odd run in the midfield.
Batterham and Marusic have both been in solid form as well and could come in to add some further versatility to the West Perth line-up.
Claremont is still without Luke Blackwell, Trinity Handley, Jeremy McGovern, Byron Schammer and Ryan Neates, and also loses Fremantle's Alex Silvagni and West Coast's Patrick McGinnity from the side that lost to Subiaco last Sunday.
Nick Winmar returns after being a late withdrawal last week against the Lions while Ben Daniher might have earned his league debut after continued strong reserves form with another 18 possessions and a goal last week.
Jack Bradshaw could return to add another small forward option after a bad run with niggling injuries while Liam Smith could also return. Brendan Lim is a chance to make his league debut as well after 18 disposals in the reserves last week against the Lions.
BY CHRIS PIKEWEST Perth and Claremont have combined for just four losses this season, but two of them came last weekend adding some extra bite to this Saturday's clash at Arena Joondalup.

The Falcons and Tigers occupy the top-two spots on the ladder but Saturday's game looms as a crucial one for the winner, and indeed the loser.

Claremont could move four wins clear of West Perth on the ladder with a victory to make it incredibly hard for any side in the second half of the season to knock the Tigers off for a fourth straight minor premiership.

However, a West Perth win would move the Falcons to just two wins behind Claremont but more importantly only one defeat with a game in hand.

A Falcons loss, though, would see them vulnerable to the teams below with Perth and East Perth just the one win behind, and possibly East Fremantle as well if the Sharks beat Peel on Saturday.

Claremont won its first nine games of the season and looked set to record a 10th straight last Sunday at home to Subiaco, but the Tigers didn’t manage a final quarter goal with the Lions finishing the stronger to end up winning by 10 points.

West Perth was sitting pretty with a 6-2 record and led most of the game last Monday in the Foundation (WA) Day derby against East Perth at Leederville, but then also didn’t manage a goal in the last quarter as the Royals kicked six to win by 19 points.

Neither the Tiger nor Falcons kicked a last quarter goal in their losses last weekend so leading at three quarter-time come Saturday at Arena Joondalup could be crucial in the final result.

Claremont has won the last four encounters with West Perth including a hard fought 19-point win at Claremont Oval in Round 6 this season in what was a terrific contest.

West Perth has lost captain Jason Salecic following Monday's loss to East Perth and the Falcons are confident that prolific midfielder Shane Nelson will be right to take his place in the side despite injuring his ankle midway through the last quarter after already having racked up 27 possessions.

Matt Fowler, Brayden Antonio, Shaun Marusic and James Batterham are all making a strong push to come into the West Perth league side.

Fowler kicked five goals in the reserves last week against East Perth for the second straight game and could come in to add another forward option for the Falcons.

Antonio has been building some form nicely as well and had another 23 possessions in the reserves and he could be an option to come in, and he can play across half-forward and have the odd run in the midfield.

Batterham and Marusic have both been in solid form as well and could come in to add some further versatility to the West Perth line-up.

Claremont is still without Luke Blackwell, Trinity Handley, Jeremy McGovern, Byron Schammer and Ryan Neates, and also loses Fremantle's Alex Silvagni and West Coast's Patrick McGinnity from the side that lost to Subiaco last Sunday.

Nick Winmar returns after being a late withdrawal last week against the Lions while Ben Daniher might have earned his league debut after continued strong reserves form with another 18 possessions and a goal last week.

Jack Bradshaw could return to add another small forward option after a bad run with niggling injuries while Liam Smith could also return. Brendan Lim is a chance to make his league debut as well after 18 disposals in the reserves last week against the Lions.

BY CHRIS PIKE

FIRING FALCON TSALIKIS GLAD HE PLAYED ON

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 11:30 PM

VETERAN West Perth forward Anthony Tsalikis could very well be in career-best forward despite not originally planning to play at all in 2013, and he's confident the Falcons can bounce back from the derby loss to East Perth this Saturday against ladder leaders Claremont.

The 30-year-old already has five club leading goal kicking awards to his credit from throughout his 161-game league career that began in 2004, but his form so far in 2013 could quite possibly be up there with his best and most consistent of the last decade.
Tsalikis is playing a slightly different role than the one that saw him kick 49 goals in 2005 and 58 in 2006 largely playing out of the goal square, but still in 2013 he has kicked 20 goals in the nine games while working hard leading up the ground averaging almost 16 possessions and seven marks a game.
And it has all come after Tsalikis felt he might not even play on in 2013 due to his work commitments that often means he has to travel away from Perth.
That led him to take off the 2008 season as well, but he didn’t want to finish off with the disappointing way 2012 ended for the Falcons and now he's glad he made the move to return even though it still is likely his last year.
"I wasn’t even going to play this year but I spoke to Bill at the start of the pre-season and my work commitments were going to mostly be in Perth, so I decided to play another year," Tsalikis said.
"I wanted to finish off on a better note than we did in 2012 so I decided to play another year and I haven’t decided what I will do next year, but at the start of the season it was definitely going to be my last season.
"But now that I'm playing the best footy that I have in two or three years I'm not sure, but I won't make that decision until the end of the season. More than likely I will retire, but a lot of that will depend on what my work commitments are and how my body is."
Looking back to the Foundation (WA) Day Derby loss to East Perth where the Royals kicked the only six goals of the last quarter to come from behind to win by 19 points, Tsalikis and everyone at West Perth is disappointed by the final result but knows it's still been a good start to the season overall.
"It was a very disappointing last quarter, but anyone that was there would have seen that it was a pretty tough encounter as all derbies are. We had three injuries during the game and things didn’t fall our way obviously in the last quarter, and they were too good for us at the end," he said.
"Over the whole game we did get smashed at the stoppages and at centre bounces, and in the end that cost us along with a few misses in front of goals.
"They were better on the day in the end and overran us, so that was a disappointing result because it would have helped us maintain second spot and having a bit of a gap between the other teams."
West Perth is now gearing up to take on Claremont in the battle of the top-two teams this Saturday at Arena Joondalup and Tsalikis is confident of the Falcons knocking off the Tigers for the first time in five attempts.
"Claremont is pretty hard to stop and they have a good team, and good spread throughout their whole team," he said.
"But if anything we just need to come switched on with our game plan on Saturday, and make sure we are first to the footy and stronger and tougher at the contest. If we do that, then we will come away on the positive side."
Even though Claremont and West Perth both occupy the top two spots on the WAFL ladder, both are coming off losses with the Tigers losing to Subiaco last Sunday and the Falcons going down to the Royals on Monday. Tsalikis expects that to add some even more spice to the contest on Saturday.
"We definitely back ourselves against any team and obviously they are going to be pretty angry as well, and wanting to get back to winning after a loss to Subi that no one expected. We want to bounce back from losing to East Perth as well," Tsalikis said.
"We back our plan in and our game plan against any side, and Claremont is no different. We lost to them about a month ago so we want to get them back for that and I think both teams have a few injuries, so it might be a good time to get Claremont. It's going to be a tough game obviously, but we back ourselves especially at Arena Joondalup."
BY CHRIS PIKEVETERAN West Perth forward Anthony Tsalikis could very well be in career-best forward despite not originally planning to play at all in 2013, and he's confident the Falcons can bounce back from the derby loss to East Perth this Saturday against ladder leaders Claremont.

The 30-year-old already has five club leading goal kicking awards to his credit from throughout his 161-game league career that began in 2004, but his form so far in 2013 could quite possibly be up there with his best and most consistent of the last decade.

Tsalikis is playing a slightly different role than the one that saw him kick 49 goals in 2005 and 58 in 2006 largely playing out of the goal square, but still in 2013 he has kicked 20 goals in the nine games while working hard leading up the ground averaging almost 16 possessions and seven marks a game.

And it has all come after Tsalikis felt he might not even play on in 2013 due to his work commitments that often means he has to travel away from Perth.

That led him to take off the 2008 season as well, but he didn’t want to finish off with the disappointing way 2012 ended for the Falcons and now he's glad he made the move to return even though it still is likely his last year.

"I wasn’t even going to play this year but I spoke to Bill at the start of the pre-season and my work commitments were going to mostly be in Perth, so I decided to play another year," Tsalikis said.

"I wanted to finish off on a better note than we did in 2012 so I decided to play another year and I haven’t decided what I will do next year, but at the start of the season it was definitely going to be my last season.

"But now that I'm playing the best footy that I have in two or three years I'm not sure, but I won't make that decision until the end of the season. More than likely I will retire, but a lot of that will depend on what my work commitments are and how my body is."

Looking back to the Foundation (WA) Day Derby loss to East Perth where the Royals kicked the only six goals of the last quarter to come from behind to win by 19 points, Tsalikis and everyone at West Perth is disappointed by the final result but knows it's still been a good start to the season overall.

"It was a very disappointing last quarter, but anyone that was there would have seen that it was a pretty tough encounter as all derbies are. We had three injuries during the game and things didn’t fall our way obviously in the last quarter, and they were too good for us at the end," he said.

"Over the whole game we did get smashed at the stoppages and at centre bounces, and in the end that cost us along with a few misses in front of goals.

"They were better on the day in the end and overran us, so that was a disappointing result because it would have helped us maintain second spot and having a bit of a gap between the other teams."

West Perth is now gearing up to take on Claremont in the battle of the top-two teams this Saturday at Arena Joondalup and Tsalikis is confident of the Falcons knocking off the Tigers for the first time in five attempts.

"Claremont is pretty hard to stop and they have a good team, and good spread throughout their whole team," he said.

"But if anything we just need to come switched on with our game plan on Saturday, and make sure we are first to the footy and stronger and tougher at the contest. If we do that, then we will come away on the positive side."

Even though Claremont and West Perth both occupy the top two spots on the WAFL ladder, both are coming off losses with the Tigers losing to Subiaco last Sunday and the Falcons going down to the Royals on Monday. Tsalikis expects that to add some even more spice to the contest on Saturday.

"We definitely back ourselves against any team and obviously they are going to be pretty angry as well, and wanting to get back to winning after a loss to Subi that no one expected. We want to bounce back from losing to East Perth as well," Tsalikis said.

"We back our plan in and our game plan against any side, and Claremont is no different. We lost to them about a month ago so we want to get them back for that and I think both teams have a few injuries, so it might be a good time to get Claremont. It's going to be a tough game obviously, but we back ourselves especially at Arena Joondalup."

BY CHRIS PIKE