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Nelson injured as West Perth succumb to Swans

Monday, May 27, 2024 - 9:30 AM
Nelson injured as West Perth succumb to Swans
The loss of tough defender Scott Nelson to a broken leg not only maintained his horrific run with injuries but took the wind from West Perth’s sails at a crucial time against Swan Districts.
Up by 34 points late in the second term on Saturday after a bright start to the important match at Steel Blue Oval, the loss of Nelson coincided with a fundamental momentum shift that ended with Swans winning by 13 points.
The 13.9 (87) to 10.14 (74) result dropped West Perth from the top five and preceded a tough month with matches against East Perth, East Fremantle and Peel that could determine whether the Falcons qualify for finals.
Nelson was making his 46th league appearance after a decade-long career in which he has missed more matches than he has played but been an important contributor when fit.
A miserly lockdown defender who has become an integral part of West Perth’s team this season, the regular presence of the 27-year-old has aided his dual premiership brother Shane to a golden season as a primary midfielder.
Shane Nelson relished the chance to play with his brother as he explained recently.
“He hasn’t had the best run with injuries,” Shane said.
“But he’s playing some good football, some real good lockdown roles and has got the better of some important players.
“It’s great to be playing alongside him and hopefully we can still string a few more games together.”
Whether that happens this season remains to be seen after Scott Nelson’s left leg was trapped under his body during a tackle deep in West Perth’s defensive zone on Saturday.
The match was delayed for more than 10 minutes while Nelson was taken from the ground on a stretcher before an ambulance took him to hospital.
Big forwards Tyler Keitel and Jasper Scaife, who may have been playing his last WAFL match if North Melbourne select him in this week’s AFL midseason rookie draft, were prominent early as West Perth dominated the midfield but failed to convert their control onto the scoreboard.
Scaife landed two in the first term and could have had a third with a shot after the siren missing from long range, while Keitel was lively in the second term as the lead extended towards six goals.
Conal Lynch did a superb job to blanket Swans captain and State wingman Jesse Turner, who had just four touches in the first half, while Dean Munns used his pace and tenacity to negate the dangerous Leigh Kohlmann.
Shane Nelson (nine clearances and 13 contested possessions from 24 disposals), Luke Meadows (12 contested of 25), Connor West (13 of 24) and the rapidly improving Kane Bevan (10 clearances and 13 contested of 24 disposals) ensured West Perth had a busy and effective midfield.
But the game changed dramatically after half-time.
Swans claimed a remarkable 38 to five marks in the third term, and produced 67 uncontested possessions to 26, with Tom Edwards, who was moved to full-forward when Kohlmann was concussed, the main beneficiary.
Zac Guadagnin was at his disciplined best with nine effective spoils but Edwards found enough space to claim seven marks and kick four goals in the quarter.
The deficit was two points at the last change, but Aaron Black soon regained the lead when he landed a long set shot into the breeze.
A 15-minute arm wrestle followed before Keegan Knott squeezed through a trademark bouncing goal to square the scores late in the frenetic closing stages.
But West Perth could not combat recent State players Jye Chalcraft and Nik Rokahr who were busy all day and lifted their rating at the end.
WEST PERTH 4.6 7.10 8.11 10.14 74
SWAN DISTRICTS 1.2 4.6 9.7 13.0 87
GOALS - WEST PERTH: Knott, Keitel, Scaife 2; Black, Lynch, Demarte, Rundle.
SWAN DISTRICTS: Edwards 4; Lynch 2; Kohlmann, Clarke, Reidy, Chalcraft, Bright, Cipro, McLachlan.
BEST - WEST PERTH: Sh Nelson, Meadows, Bevan, Lynch, Black, West.
SWAN DISTRICTS: Chalcraft, Edwards, Rokahr, Germs, Pina, Lynch.