Falcons steal Peel s thunder with record rally
West Perth's Christopher Keunen gets above Perth's Jack Hannath. Pic: Rob Duncan/WA News

Reigning premiers West Perth equaled their greatest ever final-quarter comeback in claiming a thrilling one-point win over Peel Thunder at Arena Joondalup today.

The Falcons trailed by five goals at the final change and left their run late, kicking three goals in time-on of the last quarter to snatch an unlikely triumph.

Veteran forward Anthony Tsalikis kicked the winning goal from a set shot deep in the forward pocket with just seconds remaining.

There was not enough time left for Peel after the restart and the Falcons held on for a 14.9 (93) to 14.8 (92) victory.

The win saw West Perth move back into the top four for the first time since round four, while last-placed Peel’s losing streak has now reached 18 games.

High-profile recruit Andrew Krakouer kicked three goals for the Falcons, while Steven Potente, Nick Rodda and Kody Manning kicked two each.

Dockers forward Matt Taberner starred for Peel at the other end, kicking a personal career-high tally of five goals.

Peel fielded a strong side with 14 Fremantle players in the line-up and got good value from most of them.

Tom Sheridan was the pick of the bunch with 32 possessions and two goals, while Sam Menegola (33 possessions) and Garrick Ibbotson (25 possessions) were also strong contributors.

After a scrappy opening to the game, Peel took control in the second quarter and kicked clear with a seven-goal burst.

Taberner took three strong marks and converted, while Kristin Thornton, Matt Brown, Sheridan and Anthony Morabito all contributed as the lead blew out to 42 points by the main break.

West Perth mounted a challenge in the third quarter, kicking the first four goals of the term to trim the margin to 17 points.

The Falcons had all the momentum before Brendon Jones and Taberner kicked steadying goals for Peel.

Down by 30 points at three-quarter time, the home side fought back again in the final quarter.

They kicked the first three goals of the term and held Peel scoreless until the 18-minute mark, closing to within 10 points.

But as the game moved into time-on, Cruize Garlett converted a set shot from 50m to give Peel breathing space.

Goals to Kody Manning and Nick Rodda and a snapped behind to Marcus Adams put West Perth back within five points before Tsalikis took an uncontested mark in the pocket.

He went back and calmly slotted the winning goal from a tight angle.
Tsalikis was one of the Falcons’ best with 27 touches, while prolific ball winners Shane Nelson (34), Andrew Strijk (27) and Aaron Black (29) were all prominent.

West Perth forward Matt Fowler put his hand up for a recall to the league side against Subiaco next week with an eight-goal haul in the reserves.

SCOREBOARD

WEST PERTH 3.2 4.3 8.6 14.9 93
PEEL THUNDER4.1 11.3 13.6 14.8 92
GOALS – WEST PERTH: Krakouer 3; Potente, Rodda, Manning 2; Strijk, Kerr, Browne, Guadagnin, Tsalikis. PEEL: Taberner 5; Morabito, Garlett, Sheridan 2; Thornton, Jones, Dann

BEST – WEST PERTH: Nelson, Strijk, Tsalikis, Potente, Browne, Black. PEEL: Sheridan, Taberner, Morabito, Jones, Menegola, Ibbotson
INJURIES: Nil
REPORTS: Nil
CROWD: 1276 at Arena Joondalup

The West Australian

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