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HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY VERA

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 11:53 PM

THE West Perth Football Club recently acknowledged the 100th birthday of perhaps the Falcons' longest-serving supporter, Vera Rosich.

To celebrate her 100th birthday, Vera was treated to lunch at Parliament House and the following letter from West Perth President Brett Raponi was read and presented:

Dear Vera,

Happy Birthday, 100 years old yesterday.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Administration, Coaches and Players at West Perth Football Club, I congratulate you on achieving this significant milestone.

This is a great achievement from one of our staunchest and quite possibly our oldest living supporter.

Vera you have seen many things in your lifetime but I am sure the pleasure of seeing West Perth win 14 of our 18 premierships has given you as much pleasure as anything else in your wonderful life.

Your heart really must beat true because I am sure this is what has sustained you for 100 years.

Remember 'It's a Grand Old Flag' and we wish you and your family well on this wonderful occasion.

Yours faithfully

Brett Raponi

President



PRICE IS RIGHT FOR CARDINALS

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 4:15 AM

By his initials it would seem that Wally Price was born to play with West Perth. In fact, he was born of £10 English immigrants at Margaret River in 1926.

Given his ancestry, it is little wonder the 86-year-old Price last year came out in strong support of West Perth’s controversial decision to incorporate the UK flag into its jumper for the WAFL’s international round.

Price was a back-pocket expert. Scrupulously fair, he nevertheless relished the big occasion games in which physical clashes were more common.

He was not one to let the heat of the moment distract him from his essential duties: stopping his direct opponent from scoring and clearing the ball from danger.

To the amazement of commentators, he was not selected for WA in the 1948 ANFC carnival. It was not until the 1952 season that the state selectors agreed with every other WA football fan.

Thereafter Price was a fixture in the state side where he was called on to mind the likes of Charlie Sutton and Bill Hutchison, declaring the latter his most elusive opponent.

Price’s combination with full-back Ray Schofield, both for West Perth and for WA, was almost psychic.

Price claimed it was instinct, based on knowing each other’s game rather than any deliberate planning.

One of their finest efforts was in the 1951 Grand Final. West Perth (then the Cardinals, now the Falcons) led by 17 points at three-quarter time, but a strong wind favoured its opponent, South Fremantle, in the last quarter.

As South Fremantle mounted attack after attack, Price and Schofield led the resistance, but they could not repel them all and South crept closer and closer.

With two minutes left, West Perth was just three points ahead. In a furious finish, the defensive skills of Price and others saw the Cardinals hang on for the flag.

If you saw Price once or twice a year, you would think him a lucky player; he was always where the ball was and the bounce always seemed to favour him.

If you saw him every game, you realised the sublime skills of anticipation, reading the play and fast reactions were underpinning his possessions.

Football was not Price’s only sporting skill. Like several other WA footballers, he loved the water. In 1945-46, he was the senior surf champion at the Scarborough Surf Club.

Price played 256 games for West Perth and was selected in its Team of the Century.

COURTESY OF THE AFL RECORD


WAFL STATE SQUAD NAMED FOR VFL CLASH

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 3:41 AM

THE West Australian Football League has announced its State Squad for this year’s game against the Victorian Football League in Northam on May 11.

The initial squad of 33 will commence training at Fremantle Oval at 5.30pm on Monday, April 22 and train another four times in the lead up to the game, including a session at Northam (4pm Friday, May 10). 

Claremont premiership coach Marc Webb will coach the side after leading the Tigers to both the WAFL and Foxtel Cup flags in his first season as a senior coach last year.

Webb said he was excited about the opportunity to coach WA and looking forward to leading the WAFL’s top players into action against the best from the VFL.

“As a player it was something I always aspired to do and now to have the opportunity to coach the State side is great. We haven’t beaten the Vics for quite a while so it’s going to be a great challenge,” Webb said.

He will be assisted in the role by current East Perth and former State Coach Brian Dawson, former State 18s coach, Dockers and Claremont player Brad Wira, and ex-East Perth and Carlton player Adam Pickering. Claremont Assistant Wayne Orsi is the Chairman of Selectors.

Players will be added to or removed from the squad based on form and fitness in the lead-up to the game, with a final side to be named at a jumper presentation on Wednesday, May 8.

WAFL fans can select their own side and have the chance to win some great prizes in the WAFL State Team Competition proudly supported by The West Australian by visiting – www.wafl.com.au/stateteam

 

WAFL STATE SQUAD

Claremont – David Crawford, Anton Hamp, Trinity Handley, Jake Murphy, Ryan Neates, Ian Richardson, Mark Seaby

East Fremantle – Steven Dodd, Rory O’Brien, Andrew Stephen

East Perth – Paul Johnson, Brendan Lee, Garry Moss, Josh Smith, Craig Wulff

Peel Thunder – Paul Bower, Marlon Motlop

Perth – Paul Bevan

South Fremantle – Sean Tighe

Subiaco – Jason Bristow, Brett Mahoney, Jarrod Kayler-Thomson

Swan Districts – Tallan Ames, Tim Geappen, Kyle Hams, Graham Jetta, Wayde Twomey

West Perth – Aaron Black, Steven Browne, Rohan Kerr, Shane Nelson, Andrew Strijk, Jay Van Berlo

FALCONS SUFFER FIRST DEFEAT

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 2:52 AM

It was a tough game between the Falcons and Tigers at Claremont Oval on Saturday but at the end of the day Claremont ran out nineteen point winners.

West Perth trailed all day but closed to within five early in the final term before two goals courtesy of free kicks gave the Tigers the breathing space that they needed.

It was a low scoring game but Claremont got the jump by kicking the first two goals of the game. They went to ex-Falcon Mark Seaby and busy forward Ian Richardson. By the seven minute mark the Tigers led by thirteen. The rest of the term was a real grind with goals hard to score. At the seven minute mark a ferocious bump by Kody Manning freed the ball for Nick Rodda who finished on the run from fifty. This was to be the only goal kicked by the Falcons for the term and it was not a great result for their tenacious efforts. They were also kicking to the scoring end of the ground. The only other goal for the term was a second to Richardson and at the first change Claremont led by ten; 3.2 (20) to 1.4 (10).

Ten of the twenty three goals for the game were scored in the second quarter. Claremont once again kicked the first two to extend their lead to twenty four after eight minutes. West Perth responded quickly after a clever kick from Jordan Jones enabled Mark Hutchings to finish from fifty and Kody Manning took the ball off hands to kick his first. The margin was twelve midway through the term. A Ryan Neates major extended the lead for the Tigers but Rohan Kerr marked thirty out and kicked accurately to restore the status quo. The game continued to be played between the half back lines before Ian Richardson again popped up to kick his third. A clever set up by Anton Saylor enabled Kody Manning to kick his second and after twenty two the lead was just thirteen. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Claremont kicked the last two of the half to lead by twenty five at the main change; 9.5 (59) to 5.4 (34).

West Perth played a terrific third quarter to restrict the prolific scoring Tigers to just one major. Matt Fowler and Aaron Black finished off some good work originating out of defence by kicking consecutive goals to reduce the margin to thirteen at the fifteen minute mark. Mark Seaby was the beneficiary of a free kick thirty out and his second goal extended the lead. West Perth hit back just before the siren when Trent Manzone kicked a wonderful off balance goal from fifty. At the final change the lead had been reduced to twelve with the Tigers leading 10.7 (67) to 7.7 (55).

When Marc Crisp took the ball off the back of the pack to score from thirty the lead had been reduced to five and the momentum was with the Falcons. Shortly after Mark Seaby took the ball from a throw in deep in attack and was tackled but not penalised. The ensuing passage of play resulted in a goal to Claremont. This was to be a turning point in the game. This was magnified when Matthew Davies received a suspect free kick and fifty metres to extend the lead to seventeen from the square. Another goal to Claremont extended the lead to twenty five before the last goal of the game was a second to Mark Hutchings. This resulted in the final scoreline; 13.9 (87) to 10.8 (68).

There was a lot to like about the West Perth performance but the Tigers used the ball slightly better on the day. The Falcons won the clearance and tackle count but the extra inside fifties were too much for the Falcons to overcome. Best players for West Perth included Michael Pettigrew who continues his great form, Mark Hutchings, Jordan Jones, Steven Browne and Jay Van Berlo. Andrew Strijk also played a strong game off half back. The Reserves played an impressive second half to go down by eleven after trailing by fifty at the half. The Colts suffered a heavy defeat. The game against Swans on ANZAC Day now assumes an even greater significance. Be there to get the Falcons over the line.

BY DARRELL KENT

PHOTOS BY BELINDA TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

BRAVE FALCONS FIGHT BUT FALL TO TIGERS

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 12:00 AM

WEST Perth might have lost for the first time in 2013 against Claremont on Saturday at Claremont Oval, but there was plenty of like from the fight shown by the undermanned Falcons.

West Perth started the season so impressively with wins over East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder to set up a top-of-the-table clash at Claremont Oval on Saturday with the two-time reigning premier Tigers who had also started the season off 4-0.

Even though Claremont ended up winning 13.9 (87) to 10.8 (68), West Perth never gave in and showed some tremendous fight to kick three goals to one in the third quarter after trailing by 25 points at half-time.

Not only did West Perth come into the game without captain Jason Salecic, veteran defender Dan Hunt, Fremantle's Josh Mellington and young goalkicker Matthew Johnson, but two players went down for the day in the first half as well.

Joe Morrow was given his chance in the back-line with Hunt going out of the side but he injured his ankle before half-time while small defender Laine Rasmussen went off with a concussion as well meaning the Falcons were down to 20 men for the entire second half.

That is what made West Perth's resurgence in the third quarter all the more impressive and now anticipation is already building for Round 12 at Arena Joondalup when the Falcons get another crack at Swan Districts.

Aaron Black racked up 27 possessions to go with seven marks and a goal to continue his outstanding start to the season for West Perth.

His young midfield partner Shane Nelson also worked hard finishing with 24 disposals while Steven Browne and Mark Hutchings gathered 23 possessions apiece. Hutchings also kicked two goals as did Kody Manning.

West Perth's back-line again stood up tremendously well led by Michael Pettigrew while Jordan Jones continued his terrific form with 20 disposals while Luke Tedesco collected 22 in a strong performance setting up play out of defence.

Andrew Strijk and Rohan Kerr both picked up 18 possessions each with Jay van Berlo finishing with 16 to go with six tackles.

The reserves put in a strong performance against Claremont but narrowly went down by 11 points. Mitchell McPhee kicked four goals with Frank Stockley adding three.

James Embley picked up 20 possessions with Alex Elisseou finishing with 18, Kris Shannon 17, Jack Thrum 17, Joel Latham 17 and James Batterham 17.

The colts had a day to forget losing to Claremont by 115 points but Harrison Silver kicked two goals with Blake Acres picking up 23 possessions, Joel Brown 20, Luke Meadows 20 and William Michell 18.

WEST PERTH                                                      1.4          5.4          8.7          10.8        (68)

CLAREMONT                                                      3.2          9.5          10.7        13.9        (87)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Hutchings, Manning 2; Black, Crisp, Manzone, Fowler, Rodda, Kerr.

Best: Black, Hutchings, Pettigrew, Jones, Browne, Nelson, Tedesco.

CLAREMONT – Goals: Richardson 3; Hamp, Seaby 2; Chidgzey, Davies, Holt, Neates, Andrews, Williams.

Best: Murphy, Seaby, Neates, Sibosado, Holt, Davies.

BY CHRIS PIKE

NEW FALCONS CEO FOCUSES ON BRIGHT FUTURE

Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 11:06 AM

NEW West Perth Football Club CEO David Crute is enjoying the fact that he has stepped into the role with the league side unbeaten at present, but his focus extends far beyond on the field.

In the bigger picture he is excited by the future of the Falcons with the Arena Joondalup redevelopment and continued expansion into Joondalup and Wanneroo.

Crute arrives at West Perth replacing the ever-popular, productive and successful CEO Gerry O'Dea with a strong football pedigree after coaching roles with Claremont in the WAFL as well as business development, community and sponsorship roles with both the WA Football Commission and Fremantle Dockers.

He now has been in the chair for his first home game that saw West Perth remain unbeaten last Saturday with a big win over Peel at Arena Joondalup.

He has no doubt that the team winning has helped him settle in a little easier, but wanted to emphasise that the support he has received from everyone associated with the club has been enormous.

"What made it easier is the team is coming off three wins. You can never be over confident because Peel has been on the improve and with the alignment with Fremantle were always going to be tough, but my first match day on Saturday saw us come away with five wins because I'm claiming little league and the 16s as well, so I’m happy with that!" Crute said.

"With the league side going so well, everyone around the club is really positive so that has made it easier. Certainly the support I have received from sponsors that I have met has been overwhelming.

"I did have one member of our cheer squad come up to me after the game welcoming me, but in no uncertain terms tell me that I have to look out if I don’t become a West Perth supporter. That was pretty funny, but he was genuine in welcoming me so that was great."

One aspect of the club to already impress Crute, and not just because they appointed him, has been his dealings with the Board of the club.

"I have already found the board very proactive in where they want to take the club. We have a lot of new Board members who are really enthusiastic, but led by a super passionate president and I don’t think anyone could deny that," he said.

"It's not only the Board's enthusiasm, it's their depth of knowledge in various fields like Richard Homsany in law and Bec Daniels in terms of promotions and marketing, and she is an ex-employee. Bec is a really good example of developing from within and growing your own talent, and to be honest that's something that I will take from my experience at Claremont.

Also helping him settle in seamlessly was the fact that the club's staff were able to keep things running smoothly during the turnover of CEOs.

"The other thing I have noticed is the commitment, dedication and competence of the staff. They have all been basically on their own since Gerry left and have just gone about their business. While I wasn’t surprised at that, it's still nice to know that they have that level of ability to be able to just get on with the job."


One thing that Crute wasn’t so sure about when coming into the job was the relationship between West Perth and VenuesWest, the managers of Arena Joondalup. However, he has found that it is actually a reasonable relationship and he is confident of making it even stronger.

"I have found out that the relationship we have with VenuesWest is not as fractured as I may have anticipated," Crute said.

"Perception from various WAFL clubs and perhaps even within the commission is that it has been a bit disjointed and unworkable at times, and yes there are areas that can be improved on, but having met some of the key people from VenuesWest I have been very impressed with their want to make sure the relationship works going forward."

Making the West Perth job all the more exciting and the club's future all the more prosperous is the redevelopment of Arena Joondalup that is soon to commence.

The $15 million project will give the West Perth Football Club a true home in their adopted city for the first time and Crute has no doubt that it sets up the club's future.

"For the WAFL to survive, good facilities are imperative for every club, so they all need to be doing their utmost to deliver those types of facilities not only for their players, but for their supporters, members and sponsors," he said.

"Claremont is redeveloping and Peel is setting the standard. Subiaco and East Perth have decent facilities so there are a few of us to go and hopefully we are next cab off the rank. It won't just be for the West Perth Football Club either. We want to see it develop as a true community facility so we can interact and engage with all sorts of different stakeholders in our district. It's going to be an exciting time.

"I have emphasised to the colts and senior playing group that my job is to provide the best possible environment for them. It's just a key plank for us going forward. We have 128 years of history and have now been in Joondalup for 20 years. To have our own club rooms is long overdue.

It will also give us more of a chance to display and embrace our history, and hopefully when the people who weren’t supportive of us moving to Joondalup see that, well… maybe they will come back to the club."

Crute sees that the opportunities to continue to grow the West Perth Football Club's presence in both the Joondalup and Wanneroo as one of the great challenges, but also perhaps one of the more exciting aspects of the job.

"I have known the last two CEO's well and each of them have done their utmost to progress the relationship with the wider community, but it takes time. We have been here 20 years now and that sense of belonging and relationship-building doesn’t happen overnight. If I had stepped in here nine or 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to progress it any further than anyone else," he said.

"I am really fortunate and one of the things that attracted me to the role is that we are right on the cusp of having the whole Joondalup and Wanneroo regions finally embrace us. The junior clubs already see us as the parent body who can provide a pathway for their kids to progress their football careers and of course we need to continue to nurture that relationship but it's the business community in both the Joondalup and Wanneroo areas that we really need to engage.

“Wanneroo is definitely an untapped resource. Not just the town, but also the commercial strip near Clarkson and Mindarie. It's unbelievable how it's grown out there! Peel Thunder is probably in a similar boat and I liken it to Geelong where it's a one club town and if we can become that for the Wanneroo and Joondalup area, then the sky's the limit in terms of how our club develops."

While Crute comes directly to West Perth from the Fremantle Football Club, he spent 12 years in various roles with the Activ Foundation and will be forever grateful to that organisation for giving him the chance to find his feet and develop his skills along the way.

"When I came out of uni I managed the recreation department of Activ Foundation for 10 years. Activ essentially provides services for people with intellectual disabilities and their families and that's where I cut my teeth," Crute said.

"I had a good-sized budget and learned how to manage that, manage staff and deal with a range of stakeholders from parents right through to government ministers. Following that I moved on to managing a business unit called Activ Property Care which manages large scale landscaping and garden maintenance contracts.

"I had a number of massive contracts around Perth and that's where I really developed my business acumen in terms of dealing with governments and contracts, and different industrial relations issues and sponsorship while also managing people, fleets of vehicles and equipment maintenance. I look back at my time with Activ and know that they really gave me my start and put me in a position of trust that only now I realise how fortunate I was."

Following his business grounding with the Activ Foundation, it was into football for Crute where not only did he gain coaching experience at Claremont, but he worked with the WA Football Commission before spending the last eight years with Fremantle as their Community Development Manager.

"That was probably my first real experience in dealing with high-level sponsorship agreements and contracts. I’ve always held the view that yes they gave us money, but I saw it more as a partnership.

"Not all sponsors want to do that of course, but I think most of them want to see some level of engagement. In my experience, the best sponsorships are the ones with business who truly engage in the activities they sponsor." 

He has no doubt that his experiences in football combined with the Activ Foundation will hold him in good stead for everything that being a WAFL club CEO now entails.

Crute is now looking forward to seeing how the Falcons go against the only other undefeated WAFL side this Saturday and it just happens to be the club he knows well, Claremont at Claremont Oval.

"I'm really looking forward to the game. There's no doubt there will be a bit of heckling from some of the people I know there and that's all good fun. There's no question that Claremont has amazing depth and they are going to be a tough proposition," Crute said.

"After our game against Peel, Matt Guadagnin said during the post- match presentations that we will need to bring A game to get anywhere near Claremont. There's no doubt we are going in as underdogs, but I think sometimes that’s a good place to be. They are clearly the team to beat. They are going for a three-peat which is just an extraordinary achievement if they get there, but as we all know it’s a two horse race and anyone can win on the day."

BY CHRIS PIKE

ROUND 6 PREVIEW V CLAREMONT

Friday, April 19, 2013 - 2:21 AM

WEST Perth puts its unbeaten record to start the 2013 WAFL season on the line this Saturday against a Claremont side also yet to taste defeat and coming off winning the last two premierships.

The Falcons have made a terrific start to the season with wins over East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder, but now the big test comes in the form of Claremont at Claremont Oval this Saturday.

The two-time reigning premiers have also beaten South Fremantle, Swan Districts, East Perth and Subiaco on its way to a 4-0 record but by Saturday night, one team will be unbeaten still and the clear leaders atop the ladder after six rounds.

West Perth, though, has shown it has a terrific mix all over the field so far this season.

The defence of Dan Hunt, Michael Pettigrew, Laine Rasmussen, Andrew Strijk, Luke Tedesco, Steven Browne and Jordan Jones has been outstanding and on Saturday will have a fascinating battle with Chad Jones, Anton Hamp, Paul Medhurst, Ian Richardson and other dangerous Tigers.

West Perth's midfield led by Shane Nelson, Aaron Black, Mark Hutchings, Jay van Berlo, Matt Guadagnin and ruckman Chris Keunen has been terrific.

And up forward, Rohan Kerr, Nick Rodda, Marc Crisp, Matt Fowler, Anthony Tsalikis, Matt Johnson and Josh Mellington have all been lively.

However, this week presents the big challenge from Claremont who is coming off the two premierships and remains the favourite for a third straight given not only its quality playing squad, but the depth of it.

Claremont has had the better of the battles between the two sides over the past decade winning 16 of the 25 meetings, but West Perth has recorded some impressive wins over the Tigers including in Round 7, 2011 at Claremont Oval when both teams were also unbeaten.

The problem for West Perth against Claremont has been that when the Tigers have tended to win, it has been by big margins. In those 16 wins since West Perth's 2003 premiership win, Claremont has an average winning margin of almost 46 points.

Claremont has also won two finals in that time over the Falcons comprehensively but it was the last meeting of 2012 that is sure to still be in the memory banks of many at West Perth.

The West Perth players that took to Arena Joondalup in Round 18 last year – Black, Strijk, Jones, Crisp, Browne, Guadagnin, Nelson, Keunen, Rasmussen, Tedesco, Ray Bartholomew, Pettigrew and Kody Manning – will all want to make amends for that afternoon.

Claremont hammered West Perth by 119 points on its way to a second straight premiership while it all but ended the Falcons' hopes of sneaking into the finals at the expense of East Perth.

Both sides have plenty of movement at the selection table with West Perth losing Hunt, Johnson, Hutchings and Mellington, but both West Coast's Hatchings and Fremantle's Mellington are still likely to play.

A host of players are pressing to be included with Trent Manzone, Shaun Marusic, Joe Morrow, Anton Saylor, Frank Stockley, potential debutant Mitchell McPhee and Drew Rohde fresh off seven goals in the reserves all making a case to play and take on the Tigers.

Claremont loses Luke Blackwell, Jack Bradshaw and Alex Silvagni to injury but have plenty of depth to cover including premiership defender James Thomson, the experienced Nic Chidgzey and former Fremantle big man Casey Sibosado.

Liam Smith, Hugo Breakey, Thomas Taylor and Matthew Goyder are also making claims to line up for Claremont in what will potentially be one of the games of the WAFL season.

BY CHRIS PIKE

BILL'S GRILL – ROUND 5

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 9:49 AM

WE are excited by our start to the season, but we know that this week against Claremont is a huge test and we are going to have to be at our very best. Anything less than our very best will leave us vulnerable.

Claremont are the yard stick for everyone at the moment. There were reports that they weren’t that advanced in their pre-season training, that they had a couple of weeks off and a couple of their more senior players even a bit more time. Word has it that a couple were contemplating retirement and as part of the negotiation to get them play on that was part of it, but they are a fit side, they have hard bodies and generally are a mature side.

They are going very well for a side who might have been two or three weeks behind the other sides leading into pre-season. They do have some injury concerns at the moment, but they have also been able to bring in some recruits with Seaby and Williams, and a couple of their reserves players who have been around for a couple of years playing in premierships and have stepped up especially Fong, Davies and Hamp. I guess opportunity, belief and confidence can do wonders for players like that.

They are going to be a difficult side whether they have a couple out with injuries or not. They still have access to a couple of AFL blokes and McGinnity played last week so there's still a fair bit of quality there. Murphy is a genuine on-ball star in this competition, Andrews is the back-up ruckman and they have quality all over the ground so we are going to need to be at our best.

It's their depth and quality of the people they can run through that sets them apart. We've played them when they have started Andrew Foster, Ian Richardson and Paul Medhurst all on the bench. There's a fair few other coaches who would die to have them in their starting 18.

I think historically Claremont has always been perceived as a side and group of players who might have been soft and you can go back a number of years and come up with 100 different names that Claremont has been called. But the last three or four years they have been as hard at the contest as any other side in the competition and they have a lot of strong, mature bodies. They have good quality and have been well coached, but they match that with a strong physical brand of football, and run as hard as anyone else in the competition.

Marc Webb is their coach and I know him well, and he was an outstanding leader as a player and from the outside he is as a coach. He wasn’t, and I'm sure he will say the same thing, the world's most talented player and he got the most out of himself and he was able to command respect in the players and set a great example. They are all attributes you need as a coach and I think he keeps it relatively simple, he is honest and open as a person and is coaching the same way.

The ruck battle will be great to watch and I guess you can say that there will be a victory to a West Perth ruckman with Chris Keunen taking on Mark Seaby and Mitch Andrews. We were disappointed that Seabs didn’t come back to the club, but he made a decision and he's in good form and is giving Claremont's on-ballers first use of the ball with his great ruck work. Mitch is a talented ruckman and it was more a set of circumstances than anything that led him away from us, and one of those was Andrew Ruck going down for Claremont and he was available.

He has been lucky enough to play in two premierships there and he is a quality ruckman as well, but we think Chris holds his own against all ruckmen in the competition. There probably are issues around the clinches against the big bodies because even though he's 200cm, he only weighs 87kg and he is up against guys weighing over 100kg so he's going to get pushed around at times. But with his work around the ground he is as talented as any ruckman in the competition. We might lose a little bit at times at the actual stoppages, but his whole effect on games is enormous and we expect him to have another big game this week.

Obviously this Saturday is a big game, but the group has been excited ever since coming back for pre-season. They came back full of enthusiasm and wanting to improve, and we have a number of young players who have come through our system plus we've added a couple from outside like Kerr, Fowler and Manzone. It might be that if this group stays together for a three or four-year period they will continue to improve and set high standards throughout the competition.

At this stage, Jason Salecic is on track to come back for Saturday as well. He got through training on Tuesday night and he will play now barring any mishap at training on Thursday. We think that Hutchy has to be a chance around West Coast at some stage with the form he's in and we have a few guys in the reserves who are playing really good footy. They were fantastic on the weekend so hopefully the pressure will keep coming from below to help us keep performing in the league side.

BY BILL MONAGHAN

SIX FALCONS IN WA STATE SQUAD

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 6:27 PM

AARON Black, Steven Browne, Rohan Kerr, Shane Nelson, Andrew Strijk and Jay van Berlo have all been included in Western Australia's initial squad preparing to play the VFL in Northam on Saturday May 11.

The six West Perth players have been rewarded for their outstanding form so far this season that has seen the Falcons remain unbeaten after five rounds following strong wins over East Perth, Subiaco, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder.

While Jordan Jones, Chris Keunen, Laine Rasmussen, Luke Tedesco, Ray Bartholomew and Michael Pettigrew deserve to be considered somewhat unlucky for also not being included for the initial squad, the six players in the mix have had outstanding starts to the season.

Young midfielders Black and Browne have both continued to emerge as two of the best and most exciting prime movers in the competition.

Both Strijk and van Berlo have returned to West Perth this season full-time after their times on West Coast and Fremantle's lists respectively came to an end, and have been tremendous with Strijk playing a new role half-back and van Berlo playing a variety of different roles.

Browne is having another tremendous season mostly off half-back but also spending time up the ground in the middle or on the wing while Kerr has made an immediate impact on arrival from Carlton this season highlighted by his six goals against Peel last Saturday.

The initial squad of 33 will commence training at Fremantle Oval at 5.30pm on Monday April 22 and train another four times in the lead up to the game including a session at Northam (4pm Friday, May 10). 

Claremont premiership coach Marc Webb will coach the side after leading the Tigers to both the WAFL and Foxtel Cup flags in his first season as a senior coach last year.

Webb said he was excited about the opportunity to coach WA and looking forward to leading the WAFL’s top players into action against the best from the VFL.

“As a player it was something I always aspired to do and now to have the opportunity to coach the State side is great. We haven’t beaten the Vics for quite a while so it’s going to be a great challenge,” Webb said.

He will be assisted in the role by current East Perth and former State coach Brian Dawson, former State 18s coach, Dockers and Claremont player Brad Wira, and ex-East Perth and Carlton player Adam Pickering.

Players will be added to or removed from the squad based on form and fitness in the lead-up to the game, with a final side to be named at a jumper presentation on Wednesday May 8.

WAFL fans can select their own side and have the chance to win some great prizes in the WAFL State Team Competition proudly supported by The West Australian by visiting – www.wafl.com.au/stateteam

WAFL STATE SQUAD

Claremont – David Crawford, Anton Hamp, Trinity Handley, Jake Murphy, Ryan Neates, Ian Richardson, Mark Seaby

East Fremantle – Steven Dodd, Rory O’Brien, Andrew Stephen

East Perth – Paul Johnson, Brendan Lee, Garry Moss, Josh Smith, Craig Wulff

Peel Thunder – Paul Bower, Marlon Motlop

Perth – Paul Bevan

South Fremantle – Sean Tighe

Subiaco – Jason Bristow, Brett Mahoney, Jarrod Kayler-Thomson

Swan Districts – Tallan Ames, Tim Geappen, Kyle Hams, Graham Jetta, Wayde Twomey

West Perth – Aaron Black, Steven Browne, Rohan Kerr, Shane Nelson, Andrew Strijk, Jay van Berlo

BY CHRIS PIKE

WE NEED YOU!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 1:55 PM

The West Perth Football Club is seeking a volunteer to assist at training on Tuesday nights.

We are looking for someone who is reliable and committed each week to pick up pasta for the Senior Squad from Bella Fonte Italian Restaurant at Hillarys Boat Harbour and deliver it to the Arena Joondalup. Ideally this would suit someone who lives in Hillarys or the surrounding suburbs. It's a great way to get up close and personal with the players and assist them with their preparation for their upcoming games.

You will be supplied with an official staff polo shirt and offered fantastic benefits as a West perth Falcons volunteer.

If you are interested in learning more about the role & helping the West Perth Football Club, please contact Jessy at the club on 08 9300 3611 or via email to promotions@falconsfc.com.au.