Shannon, Strijk see Falcons over the line
Andrew Strijk. Pic: WA News

West Perth have got their premiership defence back on track after accounting for finals contender Perth in a dour struggle at Arena Joondalup.

The game was in the balance until time on in the last quarter when Kris Shannon and Andrew Strijk produced majors to seal West Perth’s win by 18 points, 15.13 (103) to 13.7 (85).

In a contest marked by the volume of ball-handling, skill and decision-making errors, both teams had numerous opportunities to take charge of the game.

The lead changed 11 times and the Demons were ahead midway through the last quarter but failed to make use of their final forward thrusts against a home team that played their best football in the dying minutes.

Shane Nelson continued his prolific form with 29 disposals but butchered the ball with 14 ineffective kicks to set the tone for the error-riddled match.

Strijk got significantly less of the ball but his better use was evident by his efficiency which brought three goals and a pivotal role in his team’s success.

The contest between ruckman Chris Keunen and Mitch Leyendekkers was the most absorbing of the game with both men producing more than 30 hits outs and gathering plenty of the ball around the ground.

Dene White was a prodigious ball-winner in the centre for Perth and produced a remarkable 11 clearances in his 27 disposals.

No other player matched his four-quarter effort though his captain Paul Bevan, with five goals, was little behind his impact.

Perth scored a goal within 15 seconds of the start of the second half when Brennan Stack took advantage of a spill in the goal square.

The score changed another six times in the term as both teams attacked in waves.

Bevan was a star for the Demons with two goals in the third term to give his team a slender lead.

His major on the siren from outside the 50m line provided a timely fillip to his team-mates.

Both teams made numerous skill and decision errors in the grim first half that saw the home team lead by 10 points at the main break.

Anthony Tsalikis claimed three marks inside 50 but was unable to convert any of them while Dan Hunt’s dropped sitter in the defensive goal square gifted Perth a goal late on.

SCOREBOARD

WEST PERTH 2.2 8.711.815.13 103
PERTH2.37.3 12. 413.785
GOALS – WEST PERTH: Adams, Strijk 3; Antonio 2; Black, Kerr, Browne, Tsalikis, Nelson, Fowler, Shannon. PERTH: Bevan 5; O’Sullivan, Collard 2; Stack, C Morton, Keast, Richardson.

BEST – WEST PERTH: Strijk, Keunen, Adams, Nelson, Shannon, Browne, Kerr.
PERTH: White, J Morton, Bevan, Leyendekkers, Risol, C Morton.
UMPIRES: B Laycock, J Orr, P Pitchers.
CROWD: 1500 (approx) at Arena Joondalup.

The West Australian

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