The West's WAFL team look at all the news from around the State league.

The West's WAFL team look at all the news from around the State league.

Andrew Strijk is highly unlikely to be in the blue and gold of West Coast next season but could he be wearing red, white and black?

St Kilda officials were at East Fremantle Oval on Sunday when the Sharks gave West Perth a shellacking and they could not help but be impressed by the efforts of the lively Strijk.

Back in the midfield where he does his best work after the Eagles had tried to convert him into a small forward, Strijk had a career-high 25 kicks as he showcased his superb skills with ball in hand.

Strijk’s journey includes 112 Falcons matches, two State appearances and 11 AFL games in three seasons.

Saints coach Scott Watters has already had success by giving dumped Eagle Beau Wilkes a lifeline and he may have another win with a forgotten ball-carrying midfielder whose kicking puts him in elite class.

West Perth don’t know where the 25-year-old will be next year but suspect that his return to form in the past month coincides with a realisation that he is not in West Coast’s current or future plans and that he can finally return to playing with the freedom that got him drafted in the first place.

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While a small WA Footy Commission focus group is beavering away to come up with a plan to better house West Coast and Fremantle reserves in the State league, one suggestion from an influential AFL figure has left WAFL officials stunned.

One of the most contentious issues about stand-alone Eagles and Dockers reserves teams is the source of the top-up players required to fill their teams every week.

The suggestion that amateur or country players could be used is risible given that the stated aim of the two clubs is to provide a better development environment than that provided in the existing WAFL teams.

So the identity came up with another solution – flying in experienced interstate players every week to improve the quality of the reserves teams.

Funny that an organisation that often cries poor can contemplate forking out tens of thousands of dollars to import players.

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What is it about South Fremantle and 15 goal scorelines?

The Bulldogs have kicked 15 goals in seven matches this season – and lost every time.

The defeats have included three single-figure margins as well as losses by 12, 14, 23 and 29 points.

Yet their arch rivals East Fremantle have kicked 15 fours times and only lost once – when South kicked 16 goals against them in the last derby of the season.

Mind you, that took a long bomb from Ben Saunders right on the final siren or South would have suffered their eighth 15-goal loss of the season.

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That Peter Harvey is a funny fellow.

The Swan Districts president was at the pre-match function last Friday night when South chief executive Brian Ciccotosto was hosting his final home game before slipping into retirement.

Harvey is not the only one to think Cicco’s knowledge, passion, contacts and ability to get things done should not be lost to WA football.

But not many people could have matched Harvey’s suggestion about what Cicco should do next.

“I’ve got the perfect job for you, Cicco,” Harvey said to the largish gathering. “You should become the WAFL salary cap investigator!”

The comment brought the house down and prompted much mirth in which the words “brown paper bags” were clearly discernible.

But be careful about what you wish for, Peter.

Isn’t there a saying about poachers and gamekeepers?

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Cicco made a point of recognising the three other club bosses who attended his final supper.

One was Tom Bottrell, an automatic attendee given that he is in charge of Swans but also a former South Freo stalwart who played exactly 200 games for the club.

He wouldn’t be drawn on whether he was sizing up Cicco’s chair for a potential return to the port.

Marty Atkins took a few hours off trying to get Perth back on track to return to the club where he remains the club record holder with 266 matches.

And East Perth veteran Marbles Wilson, probably the only other WA footy official to know where as many bodies are buried as Cicco does, also showed up.

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Cicco told the supper that it was almost 20 years to the day that the lights were turned on at Fremantle Oval for the first night match at the ground – also against Swan Districts.

And he didn’t miss the chance to remind everyone of his commercial acumen that had served the Bulldogs so well over the decades.

“We bought 100 lights from Richmond Raceway for $25,000,” he recalled.

“We used 50 of them and sold the rest for $30,000.”

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There was plenty of humour on the night, not least when president Haydn Raitt was presented with a special certificate recognising one of his recent achievements.

“For devoted service to indecent hand gestures to East Fremantle,” Cicco read from the citation before handing over the framed document.

It referred, of course, to the aftermath of the derby the week before when Saunders’ late goal ignited remarkable scenes which included Ciccotosto being chaired from the ground and Raitt producing a celebration in the Merv Cowan stand that may have seen West Perth receive a “please explain” from the WAFL.

The West Australian

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