The West

In the land where chip kicks make pygmies of footballers, the man who can produce pinpoint 60m roosts is a giant.

Andrew Strijk towered over the scrappy contest at Claremont Showground on Saturday where he helped end the longest home-ground advantage in the league and keep West Perth in touch with the top four.

Twenty times Strijk sent the Falcons forward with scything passes directly to a teammate that not only carried close to a kilometre of territory themselves, but provided a level of efficiency unmatched by any other player in a game marred by atrocious skills and modest decision-making.

West Perth's ability to play the better football at the most critical moments underwrote their nine-point victory, 10.14 (74) to 9.11 (65), though Claremont kept the visitors goalless in the last term and showed enough spirit to threaten a boilover after being 31 points adrift at the last break.

It was Claremont's first defeat at the ground since their inaugural season in 1926 - albeit there being only a handful of matches over the subsequent 87 years - and added significant weight to next week's clash between West Perth and fourth-placed East Fremantle.

West Perth's premiership defence remains alive, particularly while they have Strijk's deadly right-foot weapon.

The 26-year-old has settled into his favourite position as a sweeping half-back and credited his three years at West Coast for the development of his exquisite kicking.

"I've worked hard on it, but there's no doubt the opportunity at West Coast, where you can practice your kicking seven days a week, helped develop it," Strijk said.

"The way the game is played now there is a real benefit if you can get the ball into the hands of blokes like Marcus Adams, who can kick it really long and let everyone run on to it. That is a massive advantage."

Kris Shannon is perhaps the speediest player in the league and his pace provided West Perth with another advantage as he twice dashed forward from deep in defence to kick valuable goals.

It was tough work for forwards on both teams with defenders like West Perth's Laine Rasmussen and Dan Hunt, and Claremont's Hugo Breakey, Jordan McAllister and Matt Davies revelling in the slow and wayward delivery.

The West Australian

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