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Nelson mastery not enough in pulsating WA Day derby

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 - 12:46 PM by John Townsend
Nelson mastery not enough in pulsating WA Day derby
What will West Perth do when Shane Nelson is no longer wearing red and blue?
The veteran Falcon put on a midfield masterclass during a pulsating WA Day derby on Monday that did everything but secure victory for West Perth.
Nelson found the ball 44 times, half of them contested, but even that herculean effort was not enough to keep East Perth at bay.
As the 4530-strong crowd at Pentanet Stadium was treated to a contest as enthralling as any previous encounter in the rich 118-year history between the archrivals, East Perth managed to snatch the lead with several minutes remaining to square the ledger at 175 wins apiece. Six clashes have been drawn.
The margin did not extend beyond six points at any moment in the frenetic final term while Harrison MacReadie’s time-on snap gave the Royals a three-point lead that proved the ultimate difference.
The 13.8 (86) to 11.17 (83) result had great significance with East Perth returning to the top of the ladder and West Perth dropping out of the five.
The battle between Nelson and Mitch Crowden (39 disposals) was the individual feature of a contest played at finals intensity.
Nelson maintained his superb form this season to prove a consistently brilliant contributor who found the ball at least 10 times in each quarter.
Crowden was equally incisive but had a profound impact by regularly winning the ball forward of the centre and supplying his forwards with numerous scoring opportunities.
It will be intriguing to see which way the votes fall on Sandover Medal night.
There were early signs that the match would be one to savour when Keegan Knott opened the scoring by snapping a trademark goal under great pressure after winning a ferocious one-on-one tussle with his opponent Jacob Msando.
East Perth settled better over the next 15 minutes and landed four goals to establish an 18-point lead that was to be the biggest of the game.
Knott and Tyler Keitel struck again before the first break but the duo were plagued by inaccuracy from that point as West Perth battle hard to create chances but were unable to take advantage of their chances.
Keitel finished with 3.5 and Knott 2.3 as the Falcons regularly won more of the football but were not able to make full use of their 51 inside 50 entries.
Ten scoring shots in the second term returned just three goals but West Perth erased the deficit to single figures at half-time and took the lead late in the third term when Nelson and Luke Meadows won a series of crisp centre clearances.
Three goals came in as many minutes as Corey Rundle landed a long shot, Keitel crumbed a dropped defensive mark from the next centre clearance and then Ben Johnson iced a long set shot.
The late withdrawal of versatile Noah Pegoraro with another hamstring issue placed greater responsibility on ruckman Brock Carter who had to combat two giant opponents.
Carter did not win as many hit outs as Scott Jones and Jedd Edwards but he was more effective with 18 of his 32 taps going to his team’s advantage.
Carter’s influence grew as the game went on and he had a strong say late in the game as the Falcons pushed for victory.
But East Perth made a winning move with defender Harrison Macreadie going into attack and kicking the first and last goals of the quarter.
Jack Demarte secured the lead and lifted West Perth’s hopes when he converted a holding-the-ball free deep in time-on but Macreadie responded by kicking truly after winning a ball on the ground.
WEST PERTH 3.2 6.9 10.13 11.17 83
EAST PERTH 5.2 8.3 10.7 13.8 86
GOALS - WEST PERTH: Keitel 3; Knott 2; Hinder, Demarte, Johnson, Kernutt, Lynch, Rundle.
EAST PERTH: Medhat, Tedesco, Macreadie, Page, van Diemen 2; Ameduri, Jones, Brayshaw.
BEST - WEST PERTH: Sh Nelson, West, Bevan, Carter, Meadows, Keitel.
EAST PERTH: Crowden, Scott, Macreadie, Randall, Brayshaw, Sturrock.