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Keitel has day out but record streak comes to end

Tuesday, July 2, 2024 - 3:25 PM

Keitel has day out but record streak comes to end

The last time West Perth lost to Perth at Lathlain Park, a Tasmanian commoner named Mary Donaldson had just married the heir to the Danish crown, Malcolm Turnbull had just been pre-selected for the federal seat of Wentworth and Jason Salecic was a rising star keen to add to his first premiership at the club.

Twenty years after West Perth last fell to the Demons as the away team, Salecic was back at the ground in his first season as senior coach and may have experienced a flashback from 2004 as his team surrendered that two-decade streak.

And while the 27-point loss was galling, it could have been substantially worse given that last-placed Perth led by 59 points in the last quarter and were on track to inflict a far greater thrashing only for the Falcons to kick the last five goals of the game.

Tyler Keitel kicked four in the term to finish with six goals and stretch his lead in the Bernie Naylor Medal race.

He was one of very few Falcons to have an impact as West Perth lost their fifth consecutive match and eighth in the past nine.

Just four Falcons laid tackles in the first quarter to provide an early warning of the lack of intensity that Salecic later identified as a key failing in his team’s approach.

Attitude may have been an issue but system was also under pressure with Perth using the corridor with greater poise, pace and precision to expose a West Perth defence under siege without the injured Zac Guadagnin and Ben Johnson.

Big forward Aaron Clarke was the major beneficiary of West Perth’s undersized defence and scattered midfield as he kicked a career-high eight goals in the 16.4 (100) to 11.7 (73) result.

Keitel and Clarke each had two goals at half-time but engaged in a shootout in the second half with both forwards landing a series of long set shots in a splendid display of high-quality goal-kicking.

Keitel was unable to impose himself in the first half, though he struck the ball superbly from range a couple of times, but had a purple patch in the final minutes.

West Perth appeared set to gain a significant advantage when Perth ruckman Josh Edwards was forced off after a heavy clash in the first term.

Brock Carter dominated the hit outs from that point with 10 of his 36 taps going directly to his team-mates while Luke Meadows (11 clearances from 37 disposals) Kane Bevan (10 from 27), Shane Nelson (7 from 38) and Connor West (7 from 24) gave West Perth a clear advantage at stoppages.

Yet Perth midfielders Corey Byrne, Charlie Constable and Charlie Thompson were considerably cleaner and more damaging with the ball as they ensured much of the match was played in Perth’s forward half.

Not for the first time this season, West Perth’s most senior players in Nelson, Meadows and Keitel were the team’s best performers with limited assistance coming from the less experienced members of the side.

Playing his 50th match for West Perth, West remains one of their most reliable and committed players whose game-high eight tackles provided a powerful example to his team-mates.

At 25, he is likely to be a pillar in Salecic’s bid to build his team for the future.

Noah Pegoraro was switched between attack and defence several times in a bid to spark some life into the team but it was to no avail.

Young defender Ryan Hudson had a tough challenge opposed to Aaron Clarke and went into the umpire’s book after an incident with opponent Jye Clark that led to Perth kicking two goals without the ball returning to the centre.

It was that sort of day for West Perth.

WEST PERTH 2.2 3.2 5.4 11.7 73
PERTH 5.2 8.2 14.3 16.4 100
GOALS - WEST PERTH: Keitel 6; Hobley, Patterson, Pegoraro, West, Rundle.
PERTH: A Clarke 8; Kemp 3; Thompson, Cary, J Clark, R Clarke, Stubbs.
BEST - WEST PERTH: Keitel, Meadows, Sh Nelson, West, Bevan, Carter.
PERTH: Byrne, A Clarke, Thompson, Taylor, Avery, R Clarke.