Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 7:30 PM

LAINE Rasmussen was earmarked by the West Perth coaching staff as someone to help fill the gap left by the retirement of the defensive stars and two games in, he has been a key factor in the Falcons' wins over East Perth and Subiaco.

Rasmussen was given a taste of league football in 2012 playing 12 games and showing some good signs in a variety of roles, but following the retirement of small defender Dustin Burns over the pre-season, both he and the coaching staff saw an opening down back.

The recently turned 20-year-old then focused over the pre-season on getting himself ready to play as a small defender to help fill the position vacated by the 172-gamer Burns, and so far two rounds in Rasmussen has done an outstanding job.

"I talked to the coaching staff at the end of last season about where they were looking to play me this year, and they said that probably more through the back-line. Then I heard the news of Dustin Burns retiring and I saw a spot there that I could potentially fulfil," Rasmussen said.

"I just worked really hard over the pre-season trying to improve my specific defensive side through some drills so that hopefully I could play that role for the team. So far I have been able to fit in and I've had a lot of help down there from experienced guys like Dan Hunt, Petters and Strijky. They all help to make it a lot easier than it actually is."

Rasmussen realises that trying to follow on from the outstanding career that Burns had with West Perth over the last decade will be tough, but he had the utmost respect for him as a teammate and is glad that coach Bill Monaghan has shown plenty of faith in him to trust him in that role.

"For now if I could have the opportunity to try and do something similar to what he did I would be stoked with that," he said.

"They are pretty big shoes to fill before I can compare to Burnsy, but I can try my best for the time being to fill that spot and then hopefully in years to come try and develop as a player, and possibly move up the ground and take on a few different roles as the team's needs change.

"Last year I was probably looking at playing more through the midfield so it wasn’t until the end of the season when I was getting specific roles in the back-line, but I did spend a lot of time around Burnsy just in the change rooms.

"He was always the most friendly guy around the club and always welcoming, so I spent some time around him in that sense but not specifically talking about that role or anything. It was more just as a friend and mentor really."

The one thing that all small defenders have to weigh up is getting the balance right between focusing on shutting their opponent down, and getting enough of the ball themselves to give some good run out of the back-line.

Rasmussen admits to focusing on stopping his opponent first, but he had both facets in good order in the Round 2 win over Subiaco picking up 18 possessions himself and keeping his opponent Alliston Pickett possession-less.

"I usually err on the side of just trying to beat my man initially and that's usually my goal in any game," he said.

"Then secondary to that if I can help the team in any way in attacking movements I will try the best I can, but I always go into the game with my primary focus to shut down who I'm playing on and then if I have the opportunity to attack or help out the team then that comes secondary to me."

As for the team, with first up wins over East Perth and Subiaco, the Falcons have made an outstanding start to the 2013 season backing up a strong off-season.

"It has been a great start. It's been good to know that everything we've been working at over the summer is paying off for us so it has been great to have a couple of wins to prove that our pre-season form wasn’t just some wins against some easier sides because we've now been able to match it against better teams," Rasmussen said.

"Beating East Perth by that much was not something that any of us expected. We expected it to be a tough game, but a few things fell right for us and in the second half we managed to take control a bit, and it was good to be able to run away with it in the end. That's something that we weren’t able to do too often last year.

"Everyone had touted Subiaco as being one of the fittest sides going around this season and they had done a lot of work with their new coach on their fitness, so it was good to be able to prove that what we've been doing is paying off, and Soles is getting his money's worth."

West Perth is now preparing to take on the winless South Fremantle on Friday night at Fremantle Oval, but Rasmussen is under no illusions that the Bulldogs will be another big test for the Falcons no matter how their season has started.

"The only night game I've played down there was in the pre-season but other than that I haven’t played a Friday night game there. I'm really looking forward to it and hopefully we can perform like we did there in the pre-season, and have another win," Rasmussen said.

"You can never take South Freo easy because they are one of those teams who can just turn it on at any time.

"We have struggled with them in the past and I know last season they got the better of us down at Freo Oval, so we are going to have to be on our game but hopefully if we can play similarly to how we did in the pre-season and learn from that experience hopefully we can get away with another win."



Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 4:41 PM

SOUTH Fremantle has a lot of young guys and three or four recruits coming into their side so they are an interesting team. At their best, they run really hard forward and create a lot of scoring opportunities so they are going to be a hard side to match up on this Friday night.

Obviously I didn’t see their game in Round 1 against Claremont, but from all reports they were very good in the first half and then I went and watched them on Saturday against Perth.

But really over the first month or six weeks of the competition you are just trying to get a gauge on where everyone's at. People have their opinions and the media predict who is going to be first through to ninth, but until it settles down after five or six rounds it's kind of up in the air.

We have our second straight Friday night game this week and there is probably a little on-going concern at the moment about the quality of the lights from a spectator point of view. But I've asked the players about the lights at both Leederville and Fremantle and they say the lights are fine, and there's nothing wrong with them.

I guess watching in the coaches box and from the crowd it can get difficult to see at times, but as long as it's good enough for the players to see then that's good enough by me. Whether the WAFL is happy with the quality of the lights or not as a spectacle that's for them to decide.

A couple of years ago we played South down there in two night games in a two or three-week period and it was the middle of winter. That was the strange thing. One of the nights was terrible and the ground was under water, and we were sharing it with sides who were playing in the Landmark Carnival. That posed a lot of different challenges to us, but this time of year you get a 26 or 28 degree day and with a 6.30 start it's a pretty pleasant place to be.

The challenge is that players have to still go to work on the Friday and get down there to play. If they are living and working in the Joondalup area, it's a fair trip down to Fremantle but they are just some of the issues that people have to deal with. I think the players generally like night games and I don’t see it as a big issue. At this time of year it's actually quite pleasant and as long as they steer clear of them in the middle of winter, then I'm OK with them. We don’t see it as being a problem this week going down there.

We continue to have a really healthy list at the moment as well and that presents a challenge for us in the sense that there are genuinely six or seven guys playing reserves footy who are really putting their hands up. Marc Crisp, Trent Manzone, Frank Stockley, Joe Morrow, James Embley, Drew Rohde, James Batterham and Kris Shannon are all playing well. We are comfortable with the side we've got, but having that depth and those players with that quality underneath means that players have to perform.

Chipper and Trent were really unlucky to be forced out of the side last week and we need to wait and see if Mellington and Hutchings' form is good enough to push them up into the AFL, and that opens up a couple of spots and suddenly with an injury or two those players can get their opportunities. We just need to be aware that we have to keep those guys in form and motivated, and that when they get their opportunities they are ready to go and fill their role in the side. That's all we ask of them and at this stage we've had two games and not a lot of spots in the side are opening up, but it's a long season and we just need all those guys to be playing good footy at the right time.



Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 5:13 PM

Last Friday I thought we were very impressive early and the last 20 minutes we were very good again, but in between it was a real mixed bag.

I guess the endeavour was there and our ability to stick to what we wanted to do was there, but we failed to capitalise on our winning of the ball with our field kicking, and then obviously in front of goal as well. We kicked 1.8 between the second and third quarters, which was really disappointing because four or five of them were relatively easy shots. It wasn’t as if they were snaps from pockets and so on, some of them were relatively easy shots 20 metres straight out in front.

There were some real positives from the game still, but obviously some things that we need to work on because when we face the better sides, because we don’t know where Subi and East Perth will sit yet, we can't afford to let our chances go begging.

I think at the start to the season players can be a bit scratchy, but the other thing is that all the clubs are working hard on putting good pressure on, and their forwards are all working hard. There seems to be a lot more pressure on the ball carrier at the moment which means that there is a lot of times where there are just quick kicks forward trying to get some yardage.

It has been a focus on ours and it looks as though it might be the case from a couple of other sides. Most sides are also pushing their forwards right up the ground so you can come streaming through the centre and sometimes the players look up and have nothing to kick to. They might be trying to find targets that are a bit hard to hit because of that as well. There's a few things at play, but with the hot weather making the ball sweaty and good pressure are all factors.

We've got a lot of time for Laine Rasmussen who was great for us on Friday. He is an intelligent young man, he works hard and plays the game aggressively both offensively and defensively. There's a lot to like about him and we think that down the track he can develop into a real leader of our footy club. He is someone who understands the game and sets good examples both at training and during games.

He's done a great job for two weeks and what we need to keep remaining ourselves is that he's still just a young man and there will be ups and downs, but at the moment his application and attitude for the contest has been fantastic. He's been rewarded for that. He generally uses the ball well and we just need to keep giving him support and understand that there will be times when he's not going to be great, but we have to keep working hard on helping him keep on improving.

Friday was also a great learning evening for Matt Johnson. He obviously did a very good job the week before and Subiaco saw that, and decided to put Ben Randall on him who is a two-time premiership player and one of Subi's very best. Johnno struggled with that early and Randy did a really good job of closing him down and Johnno wasn’t attacking the ball as clean as the week before, but he improved in the second half and I thought he contributed well at times.

That's great for his learning to understand that if he can make it as a league footballer there will be sides who put a fair bit of planning into stopping him because he has all the attributes to kick goals. Yes he was quiet, but I thought his efforts to keep trying to create were fantastic. It's about sharing the load for us because we don't have a traditional forward-line with a gun key forward like Claremont or Swan Districts has in the past, and Souths had with Saunders. We are trying to spread the load and hopefully we can keep kicking a winning score each week.

We are obviously extremely happy with the way we've started. I think the attitude of all the players over the whole pre-season phase, then the practice matches was very good and they prepared themselves well. They now have got the rewards in the first two games, but we have a break now and can sit back and recharge the batteries a little bit. We also understand there are a lot of things we can do better and we have to keep working on our defensive pressure, and then try to hurt the opposition a little more going forward. It's been a great start, but one or two wins this time of the year doesn’t mean anything other than we have got off to a good start.

We have plenty of work to do and obviously if you are in good form sides take more notice and there are more expectations on you, but all we can do is control the things that we can control. We have just lightened off a bit this week in terms of our competitive type training, but we will ramp that up again early next week because going down to Fremantle Oval on a Friday night is going to be a tough gig regardless of how South goes this week.

The players get three days off. We will do a little bit more than normal this Thursday night and that will be mainly skills based with some running to get some extra kilometres into their legs, but they will have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. We will get back to the club at the normal time on Monday night to do our usual session and then train as normal on Tuesday and Thursday leading into the game on Friday night.

It's three days off, but they will all get an individualised program as well where they are expected to do something on their own on Saturday whether that's a bike, swim or run depending on where they are at with their fitness and how saw they have been after the first two weeks.



Monday, March 25, 2013 - 9:05 AM

The Falcons persevered throughout the match in the game against Subiaco at Medibank Stadium on Friday night.

Even when things weren’t going as expected the players stuck to the game plan and showed a high degree of discipline. The hard running and attack on the football was again a feature of the night and it was this plus a high level of fitness that saw them run out twenty four point victors.

West Perth were out of the blocks in a hurry and continued their fine form from last weeks match. Kody Manning had a busy start to the game and had the first two majors by the six minute mark. Matt Fowler then received a free forty out and his accurate kick resulted in the Falcons leading by nineteen after twelve minutes. Ryan Herring kicked the first for Subiaco midway through the term. This was to be his only goal for the game as Dan Hunt did another terrific job at shutting the opposition’s key forward. Behinds were the order of the day until Jason Salecic passed to busy forward Anthony Tsalikis who kicked accurately to take the lead back out to seventeen. The next Falcon goal came in the blink of an eye when they took the ball out of the middle and the classy Josh Mellington finished from forty. The Lions replied shortly after courtesy of a free kick twenty out but the Falcons finished the term on a high when Shane Nelson tumbled one through from fifty. After a dominant term West Perth led by twenty three; 6.1 (37) to 2.2 (14). The margin should have been greater.

West Perth received little reward for effort in the second quarter. They had as much of the footy as Subiaco but were able to add only three behinds. It would be fair to say that they weren’t as clean going forward as coach, Bill Monaghan, would have liked. The contest really tightened up and the Lions kicked three majors. Two of these came with in a minute early in the quarter when Callum Sinclair marked close to goal. At the main change the Falcons still led; 6.4 (40) to 5.3 (33).

The third quarter was more on the same but the Falcons managed to add to their goal tally at the two minute mark. The skipper, Jason Salecic, marked twenty out and finished accurately. This was to be West Perth’s only goal for the second and third quarters but they also added eight behinds for the same period. By the fifteen minute mark Subiaco had closed to one point but West Perth’s efforts continued not to be rewarded as they kicked four behinds in the last part of the term to lead by five at the final change; 7.9 (51) to 7.4 (46).

The Tech School end had been the scoring end of the ground all night so the challenge really loomed for the Falcons in the last quarter. After three minutes the Lions led for the first time in the game courtesy of a Rhett Kerr major from forty but from this point West Perth dominated the game. This was a credit to their fitness levels as they were clearly the fitter side. A clever second goal to Josh Mellington restored the lead after five minutes. The next thirteen were a real arm wrestle during which time the Falcons extended their lead by only a behind. They then kicked three quick goals to seal the game. The first was a long major to Matt Fowler who was on the end of a Shane Nelson pass. ”Slick” then kicked his second after marking on an angle thirty out and Matt Guadagnin then took control of the ball at centre half forward to ensure a Falcon victory. It was a very good quarter of football and West Perth thoroughly deserved their 11.12 (78) to 8.6 (54) victory.

There were a number of good players for the Falcons. These included Laine Rasmussen who kept his opponent possessionless, Dan Hunt who is really setting the standard for the backline, midfielders Rohan Kerr (who was probably the Falcons best) and Shane Nelson. Anthony Tsalikis worked hard up forward all night and was supported by Matt Fowler who kicked two important goals.

The whole team contributed to the victory. We have a bye next week and then another Friday night game against South Fremantle on the 5th of April. Be there to help the Falcons continue their fine start to the year.




Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 1:14 PM

WEST Perth made it two from two to start to the 2013 WAFL season with a 24-point win over Subiaco at Medibank Stadium on Friday night.

The Falcons set up the win largely in the first and last quarters when they kicked a combined 11.3 to Subiaco's 3.4 to run out 11.12 (78) to 8.6 (54) winners at the Leederville ground.

The 24-point win backs up West Perth's dominant 75-point derby win over East Perth in Round 1 at Arena Joondalup with the Falcons now having the Round 3 bye before taking on South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval under lights on Friday April 5.

Subiaco was coming into the game fresh having had the bye in Round 1 but it was West Perth who came flying out of the blocks on Friday night booting six goals to two in the opening quarter to hold a handy 23-point quarter-time advantage.

The Falcons then struggled in front of goal of the second and third quarters kicking a combined 1.8 to Subiaco's 5.2 but still led by five points at three quarter-time, and then booted four goals to one in the last term to run out relatively comfortable 24-point victors.

West Perth dominated the match for the most part and could have won more comfortably had it taken more of its chances in the second and third quarters.

By the end of the match, West Perth had racked up 41 more possessions than Subiaco, had a massive 21 more inside-50 entries and nine more scoring shots in the finish.

Shane Nelson picked up another 30 possessions in the midfield for West Perth to go with seven marks, six entries inside-50 and a goal.

Rohan Kerr was also outstanding in just his second game for West Perth since crossing from Carlton over the summer, and he finished with 29 disposals.

Aaron Black also gathered 25 possessions and Mark Hutchings returned after missing Round 1 to pick up 25 disposals.

As it was last week against East Perth, West Perth's defence was outstanding with Dan Hunt and Laine Rasmussen particularly impressive.

Hunt kept Subiaco recruit Ryan Herring to just three kicks and a goal while Rasmussen ensured that Alliston 'Buddy' Pickett did not touch the ball at all while picking up 18 possessions himself running out of defence.

While there was no second-game heroics from Matthew Johnson after he kicked six goals last week on debut, Josh Mellington, Matt Fowler, Anthony Tsalikis and Kody Manning all kicked two goals apiece.

However, the colts went down to start the night at Leederville Oval with a 77-point loss to Subiaco. Nick Robertson and Tyson Moulton kicked two goals each with Blake Acres picking up 23 possessions and Joel Brown 18.

The reserves then played on Saturday at Arena Joondalup with Subiaco winning by 29 points.

Despite the loss, Corey Chalmers, Drew Rohde and Alex Elisseou kicked two goals each for the Falcons with Marc Crisp picking up 24 possessions, Trent Manzone 22, Joe Morrow 18, Aidan Lynch 18 and James Embley 17.

WEST PERTH                                      6.1          6.4          7.9          11.12     (78)

SUBIACO                                             2.2          5.3          7.4          8.6          (54)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Tsalikis, Fowler, Mellington, Manning 2; Nelson, Guadagnin, Salecic.

Best: Kerr, Nelson, Rasmussen, Black, Hunt, Hutchings, Tsalikis.

SUBIACO – Goals: Sinclair, Deluca 2; Kerr, Wheeler, Herring, Smythe.

Best: Sinclair, Parker, Kayler-Thomson, Mahoney, Rumble, Sheed.




Friday, March 22, 2013 - 1:00 PM

WEST Perth made an ideal start to the 2013 season and so did veteran defender Michael Pettigrew personally as he looks for the Falcons to continue that winning form this Friday night against Subiaco.

Pettigrew began his career with West Perth before being drafted by Port Adelaide in 2003 and going on to play 103 games with the Power before leaving at the end of the 2011 season.

That was a tremendous AFL career for the junior from Whitfords and he was more than happy to return to the Falcons in 2012 and now started the 2013 campaign in impressive fashion holding East Perth's Josh Smith goalless in last Saturday's 75-point win over the Royals at Arena Joondalup.

Pettigrew knows that it's important for West Perth to back up with another good performance against Subiaco this Friday night, and he's glad that it's a night fixture at Leederville's Medibank Stadium.

"I'm looking forward to Friday night footy," Pettigrew said.

"I think there should be a bit more night footy played here in Perth in the WAFL, that would be nice and it's always enjoyable to play in."

Even though Pettigrew knows the Falcons can't afford to get ahead of themselves following last Saturday's thumping of East Perth, he also acknowledges there couldn’t have been a better way to start off the season.

"It's only one game, but it's a good start and we can't complain to start things off with a win like that," Pettigrew said.

"For the team to start off is really good and there are now plenty of good signs for the rest of the year, so hopefully we can have a good season.

"The last quarter especially was a bit of fun and it's good when the boys are up and going like that, and playing well. It's always good to watch."

Pettigrew did feel that Smith got a hold of him a couple of times in the derbies of 2012 so he was glad to hold the former Falcon goalless and just to six kicks last Saturday.

"I think he got me a bit last year so it's good to get one back on him I suppose, but he's probably still up on the win-loss ratio against me. Hopefully I can get another back on him later in the year."

Pettigrew played 14 games for West Perth last year upon returning from Port Adelaide, and acknowledges he didn’t have the impact he hoped. He is feeling better physically coming into this year and either way that's always helped by the fact that the team is playing so well already.

"I've rested over the pre-season a fair bit and my knees are quite a bit better, but in saying that I'm not 100 per cent fixed and I'm getting old so I'm sort of on my way out," he said.

"I've played a lot of footy now and I had an old knee injury that I probably didn’t take care of as well as I should have, but I'm not complaining and it's just good to be part of a team that wins. That's what I'm here for."

West Perth lost plenty of experience from its back-line from 2012 with the retirements of Dion Fleay, Dustin Burns and Brent LeCras, but Pettigrew and Dan Hunt are happy to lead the way for the likes of Kody Manning, Nick Rodda and Laine Rasmussen to help them develop.

"We have some really good young players down back so we are just trying to help those guys come through because I know I will be watching them on from the hill in the future," he said.

"We are trying to fast track them along as much as we can and hopefully we also win a few games along the way."

Pettigrew was always going to return to West Perth once his AFL career was over and after missing Port Adelaide's premiership of 2004 and playing in the record-breaking loss to Geelong in the 2007 grand final, he's hoping for some team success before his career is over.

"I would never have played anywhere else once I left Port Adelaide. I grew up in the area, I have bought a house just next door in Currambine and I was never going too far away from here once my AFL career finished," Pettigrew said.

"I haven’t really got any trophies in my cabinet as a player so I would like to finish my career with something in there. So I'm looking forward to us having a good year as a team this year."



Friday, March 22, 2013 - 11:08 AM

WEST Perth looks to continue its terrific start to the 2013 WAFL season taking on Subiaco at Leederville's Medibank Stadium on Friday night.

The Falcons could not have possibly made a better start to the 2013 campaign than last Saturday's 75-point thumping of East Perth at Arena Joondalup.

But that will count for little unless West Perth backs it up with another strong performance this Friday against a Subiaco team that had a Round 1 bye, and is ready to fire for the first time under new coach Jarrad Schofield.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the win over East Perth was the fact that there were terrific contributions from youngsters, experienced players and those in between alike.

Debutant Matthew Johnson kicked six goals while Dan Hunt and Michael Pettigrew were terrific in defence with Ray Bartholomew, Chris Keunen, Jay van Berlo, Shane Nelson, Steven Browne, Jordan Jones, Aaron Black and Andrew Strijk all outstanding also.

The West Perth team to face Subiaco on Friday night is even strengthened further with the return of last year's fairest and best winner, and West Coast rookie, Mark Hutchings.

Two players had to make room with the squad going down from 23 to 22 from last week, and to move aside for Hutchings. The two unlucky players are Marc Crisp and Trent Manzone.

West Perth coach Bill Monaghan is confident that the fact his team just played in hot conditions on Saturday to pull up for a Friday night clash with a Subiaco side that had the bye last weekend won't have any impact once the teams run out there for the Round 2 meeting.

Added into the fact that West Perth has the bye in Round 3 following the game, Monaghan is urging his players to throw everything at Subiaco.

"This week is a difficult situation. We've had a game under our belt which at this time of the year is always great to be put under that sort of pressure, but Subiaco had a bye so they are going to be fresher than us," Monaghan said.

"A six-day break on the second game of the year isn’t a big issue, but as the season gets a bit longer and you nurse a few injuries then it can have a significant impact on your preparation, but we also have the knowledge that we have a break after this so the players know that they don’t need to keep anything in the tank."

With a new coach and as many as six players lining up for Subiaco for the first time, Monaghan knows that there is a fair degree of the unknown when it comes to the Lions coming into the clash on Friday night, but what he does know is that they will be primed and ready for the Falcons.

"I expect Subiaco to be up and going after all reports are that they've done a fantastic pre-season in terms of how hard they've worked, and they clearly are playing a distinctive style under their new coach which is fairly different to what they played last year," Monaghan said.

"We expect it to be hot from the start and we expect our players to be ready from that. With a run under our belts, we should be able to match that and hopefully as the game goes along we find ourselves on top."



Friday, March 22, 2013 - 10:12 AM

On Behalf of the Board of Directors I am delighted to announce David Crute as the new Chief Executive Officer of the West Perth Football Club.

The Board believes David has all the attributes to be a successful Chief Executive Officer at West Perth. We believe David will lead the club in a strong and professional manner and serve our members, sponsors, District and other key stakeholders to the standards that have been set in recent years.

David has spent the past eight years working with the Fremantle Football Club in the role of Community Development Manager. During this time he has successfully implemented the Dockers brand through community programs across Western Australia and Australia. Prior to his time at Fremantle, David developed his football career through a variety of roles at the Claremont Football Club. A former league player himself, David previously held the position of District Manager for the Tigers. He has also coached Claremont development squads, been an assistant coach at Claremont at Colts and League level and has coached the Claremont Reserves in his own right. This background in all levels of WAFL coaching will undoubtedly be of added benefit to all levels of our football operations.

The Club has consulted with both the WAFC and the Fremantle Dockers in making this appointment and both parties strongly endorse the decision of West Perth to appoint David to the position.

David will take up his position shortly after the Easter break.

Please join us in welcoming David to the West Perth Football Club.

Brett Raponi



Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 4:22 PM

WE couldn’t have made any better start to the season than our win in the derby on Saturday but we all know that it's just Round 1 and Subiaco this week will be a lot tougher opponent than what we saw especially in the second half against East Perth.

We did a lot of things right and unfortunately early on I thought some of our execution was ordinary with our skills when we kicked the ball away a bit, and we missed some relatively easy handball targets. But it was the first game of the year, hot weather and playing for four points the pressure was on early.

Then after half-time obviously when we got our running game up and going, we thought we had a clear pace advantage over East Perth and we tried to exploit that. It worked. That doesn’t mean we are always going to have a pace advantage or that we will always be able to play like that, but the most pleasing thing was probably the form of our young players.

We've got a good group of young players and what we need to do is keep them focused and make sure they keep trying to improve and don’t rest on their laurels after one decent game.

Once you start controlling the ball and kick goals, you naturally appear fresher anyway and it's really hard to chase when the game is gone. The margin probably blew out a little more than we expected, but it was really pleasing that the hard work over the pre-season paid off. They did things little bit different with our new strength and conditioning coach Craig Soley, but they've been impressive and that showed on Saturday.

You don’t go into games expecting to beat anyone by that amount and especially not East Perth. Traditionally once a side in derbies sneaks behind the crowd and coaches tend to fire up and the players lift to another level, but on Saturday I think it was just our ability to sustain our efforts that didn’t allow East Perth back in and that was pleasing.

Young guys like Shane Nelson and Aaron Black were great again in the midfield and they bring a real vibrancy to our group. They work hard off the track, they are good mates and that includes Rasmussen, Manning and good young fellas like that too. Rodda and Johnson graduated out of the colts last year and we are excited with what they bring, but we also need to keep remembering that it's Round 1 and we have plenty of work to do.

It was Matt Johnson's first taste of senior footy since playing in the Foxtel Cup last year, and for him to take them on and use his pace, and even give it off and keep going again was a fantastic way to start his career. Johnno has worked really hard and we are proud of the way he has embraced everything we've asked him to do, and he's taken on board some of the things that he had never done before in terms of tackling, chasing and second and third efforts. He has been a revelation through the pre-season and he just needs to make sure he stays grounded now.

Our experienced defenders were both fantastic and Pettigrew did a fantastic job on Josh Smith and Dan Hunt was able to float around as the second tall. Whilst we've lost a lot of experience, Luke Tedesco is in our leadership group, Steven Browne was used all over the park last year before settling down back and he has played a lot of state league footy, and 20-odd AFL games. We were able to use Strijky off half-back and Jordan Jones as well. We made an effort once we lost that experience down back to replace them with guys who have been exposed to the top level and that's been a real plus for us. Laine Rasmussen is also doing a fantastic job as a replacement for Dustin Burns.

Two of our recruits Rohan Kerr and Trent Manzone were both more than serviceable as well. It's a tough ask and very different adjusting to WAFL footy and even talking to them after the game knowing that we'd played our practice games at Fremantle and Peel, the two smallest grounds, to get out on Joondalup on a host Saturday afternoon in a derby could potentially expose guys who were playing on smaller grounds or in Trent's case in some ways what is a lesser competition. They did what was asked of them, but we think it could be six, eight or 10 weeks until they are playing their best footy once they get used to me, the playing group, the big grounds and the competition.

It's a derby week so that compounds it a little bit and the Eagles have a few injury concerns, Hutchy missed last week and there's a few rumours floating around that he might be in line to play for the derby, but we probably plan a scenario to have him and not to have him. Kepler Bradley is the other one and with Zac Clarke injuring an ankle probably means he is in the mix. We will pick a side with both of them and if we get them, then it's a bonus but we do have to make at least one change because we are going from 23 down to 22. We have to make one change and potentially up to three.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 11:13 AM

The Falcons are proud to welcome new club sponsor The Blvd Tavern to the club.

Managing Director Frank Cicchini has a long history of supporting the Falcons over many years.

With his fantastic venue in the heart of Joondalup and Falcons just minutes away at the Arena Joondalup it seemed a perfect fit for both parties.

West Perth President Brett Raponi welcomed Frank and The BLVD Tavern to the Falcons nest. “I am delighted that Frank and his business have joined forces with the Falcons. We are the highest profile sporting team in the Northern Suburbs and we reside right here in Joondalup on The BLVD’s doorstep. I am sure that the players, members and all football fans will appreciate the support and no doubt patronise The BLVD Tavern over the winter months ahead. On behalf of all Falcon fans I thank Frank for his commitment to support the Club in 2013 and urge all members to support the BLVD Tavern.”

The Blvd Tavern is a landmark location. The Blvd Tavern is situated on the corner of Grand Boulevard & Boas Avenue, right in the heart of Joondalup.

The Blvd name is an obvious abbreviation of the word Boulevard & is proudly the new brand. The building originally purpose built a decade ago is licensed for up to 600 persons throughout the Lounge, Bar, Cafe & Courtyard.

Check out the website for more details: www.blvdtavern.com.au.