A fitter and more vibrant West Perth have overrun East Perth in an emphatic first round Perth derby win at Arena Joondalup.
With teenager Matt Johnson producing a stunning six goal haul and Shane Nelson prolific midfield, the Falcons turned a close game at half time into a second half romp, outscoring the Royals 11 goals to one after half time in a 19.18 (132) to 9.3 (57) victory.
Josh Mellington added three goals and 17 touches to the effort, Ray Bartholomew weighed in with two brilliant goals and key defenders Michael Pettigrew and Dan Hunt also had strong games. Young key forward Nic Rodda also showed promise.
The players that carried East Perth to half time, their dominant ruckman Paul Johnson and midfielder Garry Moss faded after half time.
Craig Wulff was typically dogged, Danny Chartres was sound in defence.
But East Perth’s fitness will come under question after they wilted in the heat.
The first term had been fast and free flowing with the Royals steadying after a bright West Perth opening.
Young Falcon Johnson kicked his team’s first two goals and Bartholomew bombed one from outside of fifty but the Falcons were otherwise wasteful.
East Perth made the most of their chances, Ryan Maldenis nailing a terrific snap form 25 metres and Josh Smith and Moss combining after a strong Smith mark for Moss to stroll in. When comeback kid Dean Cadwallader took a strong mark and goaled from fifty metres East Perth had a narrow lead to take to quarter time.
They looked set to cash in on that lead in the second term, kicking the first two goals of the quarter to open up a 15-point lead.
Johnson took a towering mark for his second and Cadwallader added a second.
But the Falcons struck back hard with their own Johnson creating havoc with East Perth’s defence.
He added two second quarter goals to go with his two first quarter ones . Promising teenage forward Rodda took a strong mark to add one and a clever Anthony Tsalikis kick set marc crisp on his way for a goal on the run.
By half time West Perth had taken a four point lead and the decisive issue in the match was likely to be which team held up in the heat.
And it became clear early in te third term that West Perth had the legs.
After an arm wrestle in the early minutes of the quarter their runners took charge.
Six minutes in Bartholomew kicked his second goal – the first of the quarter, then the floodgates opened.
Mellington, prominent all day, snapped truly. Tsalikis added two in two minutes and then Johnson kicked his fifth, a poised grubber.
The Royals got one back through the dogged Wulff but when Matt Fowler booted his first goal of the game on the three quarter time siren West Perth had a 38 point lead to take into the final quarter and East Perth had it all to do.
And they simply weren’t up to it.
The Royals raised a small effort at the start of the term but as West Perth’s greater run kicked in again late in the quarter they banged on the only five goals of the term. Johnson added a sixth and Josh Mellington kicked his third.
|GOALS – WEST PERTH: Johnson 6, Mellington 3, Bartholomew 2, Tsalikis, Crisp, 2, Rodda, Nelson, Salecic. EAST PERTH: Cadwallader, Johnson 2, Swan, Wulff, Maldenis, Seal, Moss 1.|
BEST – WEST PERTH: Johnson, Nelson, Browne, Pettigrew, Hunt, Bartholomew. EAST PERTH: Johnson, Wulff, Wilson, Chartres, Moss, Sweet.
INJURIES - NIL: .
REPORTS: M Swan (EP) for tripping.
UMPIRES: B Wardman, S Parry, S McPhee.
CROWD: 2574 at Arena Joondalup.
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