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Last quarter slide leaves West Perth season in balance

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 - 9:51 AM
Last quarter slide leaves West Perth season in balance
One ugly quarter does not define a season but West Perth may come to regret the impact of their last term against East Fremantle on Sunday.
Up by six points at the last change at Fremantle Oval and seeking the victory that would have enabled them to displace the Sharks in the top five, the Falcons were not able to get off the sodden ground.
They were scoreless in the quarter while East Fremantle dominated the term to win by 42 points, 12.10 (82) to 5.10 (40), and strengthen their chances of playing finals.
West Perth have now lost six of their past seven matches and while they are only one game and percentage from the top five, they are also the same distance from bottom spot.
It has been that type of season for the Falcons.
Veteran midfielders Shane Nelson and Luke Meadows continue to shine, often against the odds, Kane Bevan continues to emerge as a worthy successor to their mantle, and sturdy defender Zac Guadagnin maintains a standard of commitment and excellence that makes him one of the best in the league.
There were few signs of the turnaround when West Perth maintained the intensity of their recent WA Day performance by starting strongly in the tough conditions.
Aaron Black landed his team’s only goal of the first term to square the scores at the first change before the Falcons dominated the next half-hour to such an extent that East Fremantle failed to score.
Nelson had 10 of his eventual 27 disposals in that period, and laid four tackles, Meadows had eight touches, Conal Lynch had four of his 11 tackles, and ruckman Zac Patterson kicked two of the three unanswered goals.
Momentum shifted after half-time, though West Perth still led by 15 points midway through the third term when the returning Noah Pegoraro kicked a long goal to reward his team’s slog after heavy rain had turned the ground into a bog.
It was to be the team’s final major with West Perth managing just three more behinds while the Sharks landed nine goals from 15 scores.
The stats told the take in the last term with East Fremantle having 13 more contested possessions, 30 more disposals, receiving 17 more handballs and taking 14 more marks.
Jack Cleaver had 15 touches himself in the quarter – equal to half the Falcons combined - as he rampaged through the middle while West Perth couldn’t find a player to combat Ben McGuire’s pace.
West Perth will now have a week off to regroup before taking on Peel at Pentanet Stadium in the contest that is likely to be the pivotal moment in the season.
Connor West will be back but the Falcons will also have to find a way to fly again.
WEST PERTH 1.3 4.7 5.10 5.10 40
EAST FREMANTLE 1.3 1.3 5.4 12.10 72
GOALS - WEST PERTH: Patterson 2; Black, Dixon, Pegoraro.
EAST FREMANTLE: B McGuire 3; Leggett, J Marsh 2; Hagan, O’Reilly, Schoenfeld, Tassone, Turner.
BEST - WEST PERTH: Meadows, Sh Nelson, Guadagnin, Bevan, Lynch.
EAST FREMANTLE: Blakiston, Joyce, J Marsh, Murdock, Cleaver, Leggett.