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Falcons soar past undermanned Demons
Daniel Hunt of West Perth spoils ahead of Demon Fraser Mcinnes. Pic: Ian Munro/WA News

West Perth have kept their finals hopes well and truly alive after outclassing a wasteful Perth by 42 points at Brownes Stadium this afternoon.

The visitors played smarter football in wet conditions and rode an early run of goals to triumph 16.10 (106) to 8.16 (64).

The Demons were hurt by the absence of former Collingwood star Leon Davis and without captain Ross Young would have been out of the contest far earlier.

They were not without their chances, having much the better of the second quarter yet only managing an inaccurate 1.7 to their opposition’s 2.2 for the term.

The result leaves West Perth fifth, a game and a half behind fourth-placed East Fremantle and still with a realistic shot at finishing top four.

They were the better side particularly in the first quarter where they started with four unanswered goals and were set up well out of defence by Ray Bartholomew, Dion Fleay and Michael Pettigrew.

Fremantle’s Nick Lower could not produce a performance of the same dominance as last weekend for Perth in his efforts to earn an AFL promotion.

Kepler Bradley was more impressive in a versatile role in which he found plenty of the ball around the ground and kicked a goal.

West Perth started full of run despite Lower getting the opening clearance for the hosts.

A juggled mark and conversion from Brent LeCras two-and-a-half minutes in sparked a run of four consecutive goals.

Demon Brett Hodge was putting his body on the line, but plenty of his teammates weren’t following his example.

The Falcons defence was well and truly on top and it took an opportunistic crumber’s goal from Joel Leeson to break the opposition’s scoreboard stranglehold.

Simon Donovan added another three minutes later to bridge the margin, but it didn’t change the visitors’ strength around the stoppages.

West Perth added another two goals before quarter time directly from centre square breaks to make their lead 24 points at the first break.

The Demons soon lifted, locking the ball inside their front half for almost all of the first 10 minutes of the second term.

However, the ascendancy was wasted as they peppered the goals only to come away with six straight behinds for their efforts.

Their chances of significantly pegging back the margin diminished as the rain became heavier and the quarter wore on.

The arm wrestle continued after the restart.

Perth looked done when the visitors kicked three of the first four goals in the third quarter, with Andrew Strijk prominent with two of the majors.

Late goals before the break to Matthew Rogers and Tim Noakes meant the result wasn’t over, but a conversion from Anthony Tsalikis from a free kick on the stroke of three-quarter time left the margin at five goals.

The Demons continued to fight early in the final stanza, but if there was any doubt two goals from Steven Browne put an unlikely win beyond reach.

WEST PERTH6.38.5 12.7 16.10106
PERTH 2.3 3.10 6.14 8.16 64
GOALS – WEST PERTH: Keunen, Strijk, Tsalikis, Browne 2; LeCras, Bradley, Jones, Fleay, L Tedesco, Salecic, Crisp, Bartholomew. PERTH: Leeson, Donovan 2; Stack, Rogers, T Noakes, Young.
BEST – WEST PERTH: Fleay, Bartholomew, Nelson, Bradley, Keunen, Pettigrew, Jones, Strijk. PERTH: Young, Leeson, Smith, Rogers, Kane, Spaanderman.
UMPIRES: B Wardman, J Dalgleish, R McCaw.
CROWD: 2200 (approx) at Brownes Stadium.