Lions sign baseball star

Monday, April 8, 2013 - 1:24 AM

SUBIACO has signed former Major League Baseball player and national representative Luke Hughes to a deal which could see the Perth Heat star make a surprise return to the sport he quit to pursue his baseball dream.

Hughes, who represented Australia as recently as last month at the World Baseball Classic, failed to secure a professional contract for the 2013 baseball season.

In 2010 at age 26, Hughes joined an elite group when he hit a home run in his first plate appearance at the Major League level.

The 28-year-old had a rollercoaster ride in 2012 when the Minnesota Twins, who he had spent nine seasons with, released him.

Hughes' career was revived when the Oakland Athletics offered him a contract, but the Morley product only played four times for the A's.

The Toronto Blue Jays provided a second lifeline when a minor league contract was placed on the table, but the door was closed shortly after the 2012 season concluded.

Hughes returned home and spent the Australian summer with the Alcohol Think Again Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League in their attempt for a third straight championship.

A talented junior footballer, Hughes made the decision to pursue a career in baseball despite showing potential while playing colts football for East Perth.

Hughes was a part of the Royals’ 2000 colts premiership as a 16 year old.

"I was watching the East Perth-West Perth game on TV and I just thought 'why not?'" he said.

"Why shouldn't I have a kick this year and see what happens, see where it takes me?

"I am the kind of person that once they go at something they want to try and get to the highest level possible.

Subiaco Football Operations Manager Luke Sanders says the club is thrilled to have Hughes on board for season 2013.

" The club’s excited to have Luke sign on after his experience at the elite level in Major League Baseball,"

"We understand he hasn’t played footy for a number of years but he’s an elite athlete and we’re are excited about his potential." Sanders said.

"He’s experienced success at that elite level and I’m sure he has a lot to offer to our playing group."

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Round 4 WAFL Results

Sunday, April 7, 2013 - 4:00 PM - by Chris Pike

ROUND 4 of the 2013 WAFL season was split over Friday night and Saturday afternoon with West Perth, Claremont and Perth all remaining unbeaten while East Fremantle scored a thumping win.

The action started on Friday night at Fremantle Oval with West Perth holding on to win a thriller against the Bulldogs, 13.8 (86) to 13.5 (83).

Then on Saturday, Perth won a nail-biter over Swan Districts 15.13 (103) to 14.17 (101) at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval with Claremont too good for East Perth winning 19.15 (129) to 11.9 (75) and East Fremantle thrashing Subiaco 25.11 (161) to 14.8 (92).

West Perth opened up a 32-point lead early in the second quarter, but South Fremantle refused to go away and were in front by a goal at three quarter-time.

However, the Falcons took back the lead early in the last term thanks to quick goals to Marc Crisp and held on from there to win by three points.

Along with Crisp's two goals, Matthew Johnson added three for the Falcons with Rohan Kerr and Anthony Tsalikis booting two apiece.

Mark Hutchings was terrific with 32 possessions with Aaron Black picking up 30 disposals, Steven Browne 28, Shane Nelson 23, Jay van Berlo 23, Kerr 21, Matt Guadagnin 21 and Jordan Jones 20 while also doing well defensively on South Fremantle's Paul Mugambwa.

South Fremantle showed great fight but in the end remains winless this season after going down to the unbeaten Falcons.

Adam Guglielmana booted four goals for the Bulldogs and Jarrad Winter three.

Kris Miller continued his outstanding form on the ball with 26 possessions while Haiden Schloithe racked up 22, Toby Bairstow 22, Ryan Cook 21 and Winter 20.

Sean Tighe had an intriguing battle in the ruck opposed to West Perth counterpart Chris Keunen. Tighe finished with 20 possessions, four marks and 42 hit outs, and Keunen 19 disposals, four marks, four tackles and 42 hit outs.

Perth dominated the first half against Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval, but the black-and-whites hit back hard in the second half to hit the front in the dying minutes.

However, a controversial free-kick and 50-metre penalty to Perth saw the Demons gifted the match-winning goal to keep them unbeaten so far this season after three games.

Brennan Stack booted four goals for Perth with Fraser McInnes and Paul Bevan two apiece.

Matt Tedesco was outstanding with 29 possessions, 14 marks and a goal with Dene White picking up 23 disposals, Ashley Smith 23, Daniel O'Sullivan 20, Brett Hodge 19 and Matthew Moody 19.

Lance Daly kicked four goals for Swan Districts with Tim Geappen, Dayle Garlett and Tom Roach booting two apiece. Wayde Twomey picked up 27 possessions, Brett Robinson 19, Shaun Hildebrandt 18 and Matt Riggio 18.

Claremont got on top early against East Perth with the last five goals of the first quarter, and the two-time defending premiers were never headed from there cruising to a 54-point win to remain unbeaten this season as well.

Despite losing West Coast big man Jeremy McGovern from the forward-line, Jack Bradshaw kicked five goals, Anton Hamp four, Paul Medhurst three and Ian Richardson two.

Mark Seaby was terrific in the ruck with 18 possessions, eight marks, 24 hit outs and two goals. Luke Blackwell racked up 34 possessions, Ryan Neates 30, Matthew Davies 25, Alex Silvagni 22 and Sam Fong 20.

Josh Smith kicked three goals for East Perth with Brock Higgins, Garry Moss and Arthur Bennell adding two each. Brendan Lee picked up 29 possessions, Ashley Boyes 20 and Mathew Seal 18.

East Fremantle not only beat Subiaco emphatically by 69 points at East Fremantle Oval, but the Sharks managed to overcome the Lions at Shark Park for the first time since Round 13, 2000.

Subiaco had won 14 straight games at East Fremantle Oval before Saturday and overall 25 of the last 26 games, but the Sharks proved far too good running out emphatic winners.

Mitch Boyle, Ryan Lester-Smith and Josh Simpson all kicked a career-high four goals with Max Duffy adding three and Cameron Symonds two.

Rory O'Brien racked up 37 possessions, Mark McGough 27, Sean Henson 25, James Bayliss 23, Daniel Kerr 23, Aidan Tropiano 21 and Jayden Schofield 21.

Jason Bristow knocked up winning the ball for Subiaco finishing with 37 disposals and two goals. Brett Mahoney also had it 34 times, George Hampson 30, Jarrod Kayler-Thomson 29 (and two goals), Rhett Kerr 22, Rob Forrest 20, Abe Davey 20 and Clancy Wheeler 20.



Swan Districts 14.17 (101) lost to Perth 15.13 (103)

East Perth 11.9 (75) lost to Claremont 19.15 (129)

East Fremantle 25.11 (161) beat Subiaco 14.8 (92)

South Fremantle 13.5 (83) lost to West Perth 13.8 (86)


Swan Districts 11.14 (80) lost to Perth 16.7 (103)

East Perth 9.6 (60) lost to Claremont 16.8 (104)

East Fremantle 16.14 (110) beat Subiaco 11.12 (78)

South Fremantle 14.14 (98) beat West Perth 12.7 (79)


Swan Districts 18.3 (111) beat Perth 11.6 (72)

East Perth 8.5 (53) lost to Claremont 12.12 (84)

East Fremantle 14.13 (97) beat Subiaco 12.8 (80)

South Fremantle 18.7 (115) beat West Perth 5.11 (41)

WAFL Round 4 Preview

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 4:00 PM - by Chris Pike

WAFL Round 4 action sees another Friday night fixture at Fremantle Oval before three big games on Saturday afternoon.

South Fremantle will host West Perth at Fremantle Oval on Friday night before on Saturday, East Perth takes on Claremont at Leederville's Medibank Stadium, East Fremantle hosts Subiaco at East Fremantle Oval and Swan Districts battles Perth at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.

There's some big news at selection across the board too with Travis Casserly, Dayle Garlett, Michael Swan, Alex Silvagni and Daniel Kerr among the inclusions, and Jason Salecic, Andrew Embley, Blayne Wilson, Andrew Foster, Mitch Brown and Garrick Ibbotson among those going out for their respective sides.


Selected teams

It might be the winless South Fremantle hosting the unbeaten West Perth at Fremantle Oval on Friday night, but both sides will head in confident of a strong performance.

The Bulldogs have played away the opening two games going down to Claremont at Claremont Oval in Round 1 and then narrowly losing to Perth at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium last week.

The Falcons have started the 2013 season in tremendous fashion beating East Perth by 75 points in Round 1 at Arena Joondalup and then backing that up with a 24-point win over Subiaco at Leederville's Medibank Stadium in Round 2.

They have had the bye last weekend over Easter to freshen up and prepare to head to Fremantle Oval.

South Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby has elected to name the same 22 that played Perth last week with Adam Doughty (pelvis) and Andrew McCarrey (ribs) at this stage looking to have overcome their sore bodies to take their place in the side.

Young defender Nick Borovac is on standby, though, for the pair and could come in for his first game of the season after battling a thumb injury with John Sgherza also a chance to return if needed after he returned solidly in the reserves last week after an injury-interrupted pre-season.

Not only has Fremantle Oval been a popular venue for Friday night games in the past for players and spectators alike, South Fremantle has also enjoyed some tremendous success on the occasion.


Since 2004, South Fremantle has played 33 night fixtures down at the port and won an impressive 23 of them. That record alone should be enough to suggest that the Bulldogs should look to play more night games at home particularly at this time of year when the weather is conducive to it.

Despite that impressive 23-10 record over the past eight seasons, South Fremantle and West Perth have played just four night games at Fremantle Oval on a Friday in history, and it's the visitors who have had the better of the battles.

West Perth first won at Fremantle Oval back in Round 6, 2002 by a solitary point and has since backed it up with a 36-point win in Round 1, 2004 and then by 26 points in Round 21, 2010.

The only loss to the Bulldogs came by 64 points in Round 16, 2010 when the Falcons managed just the three goals on that night.

However, that history shows that playing Friday night games at Fremantle Oval certainly holds no fears for West Perth.

A big factor behind West Perth's strong start to the season has been the health of the squad. Even though captain Jason Salecic goes out of the side to face the Bulldogs, Marc Crisp, Trent Manzone and Anton Saylor are all quality players desperate to try and replace him.


Selected teams

altaltEast Perth and Claremont might have been predicted to both be premiership contenders this season, but the Royals now need to put in a strong performance at home to the Tigers on Saturday to avoid slipping to a 1-3 start under new coach Brian Dawson.

The Royals made minimal changes to their squad coming into the 2013 despite Dawson replacing Tony Micale as coach, and then Brendan Lee returning to the midfield to offset the loss of Nick Kommer to Essendon.

Then with the addition of some West Coast players through the new alignment, many expected East Perth to be a real premiership contender in 2013 but things haven’t gone to plan so far.

There was the Round 1 75-point thumping against West Perth and then after a scrappy win over Peel, the Royals went down last Good Friday by 15 points against Medibank Stadium co-tenant Subiaco to be 1-2 heading into Saturday's clash with Claremont.

Coming off the last two WAFL premierships and three straight reserves flags, depth has always been Claremont's strong suit even if the likes of Kane Mitchell, Tom Lee, Lewis Stevenson and Gerrick Weedon are among those premiership stars no longer at Tigerland.

It hasn’t slowed Claremont with the Tigers so far recording a 48-point win over South Fremantle and 61-point thumping of Swan Districts to open the 2013 campaign as they search for a rare premiership hat-trick.

East Perth could not afford to lose any defenders this week coming up against Claremont and the likes of Chad Jones, Anton Hamp, Jeremy McGovern, Ian Richardson and Paul Medhurst, but West Coast looks set to give Blayne Wilson a debut.

Small forward Shaquille McKenzie also loses his place in the side after a quiet start to the year with Arthur Bennell his likely replacement following five goals in the reserves last week against Subiaco.

Former captain and 157-game veteran Michael Swan returns for the Royals following a suspension and then appearance in the reserves last week. Jacob Payne, Ashley Boyes and Lewis Wilson are among those also pressing claims for selection.

Claremont loses dual premiership half-forward/midfielder Andrew Foster but Fremantle's Alex Silvagni returns for a possible defensive job on East Perth big man Josh Smith.

Dual premiership ruckman Mitch Andrews could also return to help Mark Seaby take on Paul Johnson and Scott Lycett with Jesse Laurie and Nic Chidgzey also in the mix for the Tigers.


Selected teams

Subiaco heads to East Fremantle Oval to take on the Sharks on Saturday with the confidence of the most remarkable recent winning run behind them.

The Lions might have won just 114 games from 338 games in history against the Sharks, but recent years has seen Subiaco completely dominate East Fremantle both at East Fremantle Oval and away from Shark Park.altalt

Subiaco has won its last five games against East Fremantle but more significantly 25 of the last 26 meetings between the two sides since late 2002.

East Fremantle's only win in that period against Subiaco came in Round 21, 2010 when the Sharks prevailed by 11 points but Subiaco had won 20 straight before that and now five on the trot since.

Even more significant is Subiaco's dominance at East Fremantle Oval this century.

East Fremantle last beat Subiaco at home in Round 13, 2000 by just three points and since then the Lions have won all 14 clashes at Shark Park.

That is quite the history for East Fremantle to try and overcome this Saturday at East Fremantle Oval, but if the Sharks want to again be a premiership threat in 2013 after making last year's grand final then it is something they must overcome.

East Fremantle has started the season with a loss to Swan Districts and win over Peel with Subiaco beginning with a loss to West Perth before beating East Perth last week.

East Fremantle had 10 AFL-listed players in its side last week against Peel and will lose key defender Mitch Brown to West Coast this week.

Even though Brad Sheppard, Sam Menegola, Bradd Dalziell, Garrick Ibbotson, Cameron Sutcliffe and Jacob Brennan have all been named as outs, most will still line-up for the Sharks but former Docker Brock O'Brien won't.

West Coast star midfielder Daniel Kerr will come in for East Fremantle with Brad Cooper, Scott Jansen, Jayden Schofield, Scott Hancock, Mitch Boyle, Matthew Jupp and Rhys Cooyou pushing for selection as well.

Subiaco could lose ruckman/forward Callum Sinclair but with East Fremantle down a ruckman as well with Rob Young injured, it might not be as big a blow as it could be against other sides.

Kyle Halligan, Seva Martin, Simon Moore and Scott Worthington are all a chance to come in for the Lions.


Selected teams

altaltPerth has been the surprise packet of the 2013 WAFL season to date winning its first two games and now will be looking to make it three against a Swan Districts side coming off a big loss to Claremont last Saturday.

Swan Districts did start its season off on a high with a tremendous performance at East Fremantle Oval to beat East Fremantle in Round 1, but then following the Round 2 bye struggled last week after quarter-time eventually losing to Claremont by 61 points.

Perth, on the other hand, was able to back up its Round 1 win at home against Peel with another 13-point victory last Saturday against South Fremantle also at Brownes Stadium to give the Demons a 2-0 start to their 2013 campaign.

Swan Districts loses West Coast's Andrew Embley from last week's side that lost to Claremont with the Eagles veteran set to return to the AFL after a solid run last week for the black-and-whites.

Back-up ruckman Nathan Blakely also goes out of the black-and-whites line-up with Travis Casserly and Dayle Garlett heading the list of inclusions.

Casserly is in line to play his first WAFL league game since the 2010 premiership win against Claremont.

The classy running defender missed the last two years through suspension, but has been solid the first two rounds in the reserves and could come in and strengthen Swans' forward-line, and potentially be given the job of trying to stop one of Paul Bevan, Kyle Reimers and Simon Donovan.

That trio kicked 13 of Perth's 16 goals last week against South Fremantle.

The other important inclusion at Swan Districts is the supremely talented Garlett.

While his off-field antics might have stopped him being drafted into the AFL despite his talent, there is no doubting what he can do on the field and that was highlighted with his 28 possessions, nine marks, eight inside 50s and three goals in the reserves against Claremont last week.

Lance Daly, Blain Boekhorst and Adam Faulkner are also pushing to be included in the Swans' team to take on the Demons.

Perth loses West Coast's Sam Butler who had 29 possessions last week against South Fremantle with exciting forward Brennan Stack set to return. Midfielder Julian Jacobs, defender David Johnston and ruckman Daniel Murray are also in the mix to return for the league side for the Demons.

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Round 3 WAFL Results

Sunday, March 31, 2013 - 4:00 PM - by Chris Pike

WAFL Round 3 action was split over Good Friday and Easter Saturday with East Fremantle, Subiaco, Perth and Claremont all recording impressive victories.

The round began on Good Friday at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium with East Fremantle getting over the top of Peel Thunder, winning 17.9 (111) to 13.10 (88).

Then later on the day at Leederville's Medibank Stadium, Subiaco won the battle of the co-tenants 16.8 (104) to 13.11 (89) over East Perth.

On Saturday, Perth and Claremont both remained unbeaten to start 2013 with the Demons beating South Fremantle 16.9 (105) to 14.8 (92) at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium, and the Tigers downing Swan Districts 18.17 (125) to 9.10 (64) at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.

The first game of the weekend was on Friday afternoon in Mandurah with East Fremantle taking advantage of having the breeze in the first and third quarters booting 11 goals to three to set up its 23-point win over Peel.

While the game consisted of 18 AFL-listed players, it was a former one in East Fremantle captain Mark McGough who was the outstanding performer on the field. He finished with 32 possessions and two goals.

Max Duffy, Ryan Lester-Smith, Sean Henson and Brett Peake all kicked two goals each as well for the Sharks with Bradd Dalziell picking up 24 disposals, Henson 22, Garrick Ibbotson 20, Cameron Sutcliffe 19, Brad Sheppard 19 and Rory O'Brien 19.

Kristin Thornton and Hayden Crozier kicked three goals each for Peel with Jack Hannath and Matt Brown adding two each.

Cruize Garlett made a good Peel debut with 26 possessions with Tom Sheridan gathering 27 disposals, Paul Bower 26, Jesse Crichton 24, Brown 23, James Hawksley 20, Pat Travers 20 and Viv Michie 20.

Medibank Stadium co-tenants Subiaco and East Perth also did battle on Good Friday, with the Lions in control for most of the contest to run out 15-point winners to record their first win of the season.

Brad Stevenson made a strong return for Subiaco from a knee reconstruction kicking three goals with Rhett Kerr and Clancy Wheeler adding two each. Brett Mahoney racked up 31 possessions, Jarrod Kayler-Thomson 29, George Hampson 23 and Chris Phelan 23.

Josh Smith kicked five goals for East Perth and Steven Payne two with Aaron Sweet picking up 34 possessions, Brendan Lee 31 and Garry Moss 22. Ruckman Paul Johnson had 37 hit outs.

Then on Saturday, Perth held on to win a tight affair by 13 points against South Fremantle with its small forward-line outstanding. Captain Paul Bevan kicked six goals from 27 possessions with Kyle Reimers also booting four and Simon Donovan three.

Sam Butler also picked up 29 possessions for the Demons, Matt Moody 24, Alistair Smith 23, Michael Sinclair 22 and Dene White 21.

Paul Mugambwa, Adam Guglielmana and Mitch Banner all kicked three goals each for South Fremantle with Kris Miller picking up 27 possessions.

Also on Saturday, Claremont overcame a quarter-time deficit to beat Swan Districts by 61 points.

Anton Hamp kicked four goals with Chad Jones and Ian Richardson adding three apiece, and Jeremy McGovern and Trinity Handley two. Andrew Foster picked up a team-high 22 possessions.

Tony Notte kicked three goals for Swan Districts with Tim Geappen and Aaron Elari adding two each. Shaun Hildebrandt compiled 25 possessions, Tom Roach 24, Graham Jetta 21, Matt Riggio 20 and Andrew Embley 20.



Swan Districts 9.10 (64) lost to Claremont 18.17 (125)

Perth 16.9 (105) d South Fremantle 14.8 (92)

Subiaco 16.8 (104) d East Perth 13.11 (89)

Peel 13.10 (88) lost to East Fremantle 17.9 (111)


Swan Districts 12.12 (84) d Claremont 10.9 (69)

Perth 14.9 (93) d South Fremantle 11.14 (80)

Subiaco 8.8 (56) lost to East Perth 11.12 (78)

Peel 13.2 (80) lost to East Fremantle 14.21 (105)


Swan Districts 8.3 (51) lost to Claremont 14.20 (104)

Perth 8.4 (52) lost to South Fremantle 18.12 (120)

Subiaco 15.11 (101) d East Perth 3.5 (23)

Peel 7.7 (49) lost to East Fremantle 19.12 (126)

Round 2 WAFL Results

Saturday, March 23, 2013 - 4:00 PM - by Chris Pike

WEST Perth made it two straight wins to start the WAFL season with East Perth also bouncing back to record a victory in the only two matches in Round 2 this weekend.

The round began on Friday night at Leederville's Medibank Stadium with West Perth prevailing against Subiaco 11.12 (78) to 8.6 (54).

Then on Saturday at the same venue, East Perth won a hard fought battle against Peel Thunder 11.14 (80) to 9.14 (68).

West Perth was coming off a 75-point thumping over East Perth to open the season last Saturday, and started on fire on Friday night against Subiaco as well with six goals to two to lead by 23 points at quarter-time.

However, the Falcons kicked just 1.8 over the next two quarters with Subiaco kicking five goals to leave West Perth with only a five-point three quarter-time advantage.

West Perth kicked it up a gear in the last quarter, though, booting four goals to one to end up winning by 24 points.

Kody Manning, Josh Mellington, Matt Fowler and Anthony Tsalikis all kicked two goals each for West Perth while Shane Nelson racked up 30 possessions, Rohan Kerr 29, Aaron Black 25, Mark Hutchings 25 and Laine Rasmussen 18.

Callum Sinclair was terrific in the ruck for Subiaco finishing with 17 possessions, 40 hit outs and two goals. Chris Deluca also kicked two goals with Jarrod Kayler-Thomson gathering 28 disposals, Brett Mahoney 29 and Aidan Parker 24.

Then on Saturday, East Perth hit back from a 75-point thumping at the hands of West Perth last week to fight out a hard fought 11.14 (80) to 9.14 (68) victory but for the second straight week Peel will be kicking itself over some poor missed opportunities in front of goal.

It could well have cost Peel a win over Perth last Saturday, and robbed it of a real chance to threaten East Perth in the last quarter yesterday.

However, East Perth finished strongly and dominated much of the final quarter with Josh Smith and Garry Moss kicking the sealers.

As if losing the first two games of the season both by two points wasn’t bad enough for Peel, star recruit Jarrhan Jacky went down with a serious-looking knee injury and was stretchered off the field.

There was more encouraging news in the reserves with former North Melbourne player Cruize Garlett looking good gathering 23 possessions though.

East Perth had just the two West Coast-listed players at its disposal with Blayne Wilson playing well in defence against his former club while Cale Morton was solid on the wing with 19 disposals.

On the other hand, Peel had seven Fremantle-listed players with Viv Michie the standout with the classy on-baller gathering 26 disposals to go with six clearances and a goal. Hayden Crozier was also good with 24 touches while Jesse Crichton was prominent with 19 and a last quarter goal.

Craig Moller fought hard in the ruck up against Paul Johnson and had 19 possessions, 13 hit outs, six clearances and a goal. Johnson was outstanding for East Perth as well, though, with 24 touches, 34 hit outs, nine clearances and eight inside-50 entries.

Peter Faulks was solid in defence but didn’t spend too much time on Smith with the Royal big man kicking three goals from 24 possessions and 12 marks after being held goalless last week. Tom Sheridan worked hard for 17 touches as well with Tanner Smith showing encouraging signs forward.

As far as the non AFL-listed players went, East Perth had a host of strong ball winners led by co-captains Craig Wulff (31 possessions) and Brendan Lee (28). Freddie Clutterbuck also picked up 28 touches and Aaron Sweet 26. Moss and Mat Seal kicked two goals apiece.

Another of Peel's recruits, Marlon Motlop from Swan Districts, worked hard on the ball gathering 23 possessions with former Royal Pat Travers picking up 22 and Devin McFarlane did well in defence with 21.

Brad Holmes kicked three goals, but two of those came in a two-minute burst in the first quarter and his third didn’t come about until the last minute of the contest.



Subiaco 8.6 (54) lost to West Perth 11.12 (78)

East Perth 11.14 (80) d Peel 9.14 (68)


Subiaco 14.10 (94) d West Perth 9.11 (65)

East Perth 12.13 (85) d Peel 11.8 (74)


Subiaco 20.10 (130) d West Perth 8.5 (53)

East Perth 9.10 (64) d Peel 3.11 (29)

Hard work continues for East Perth co-captain Lee

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 4:00 PM - by Chris Pike

HARD work has always been the hallmark of Brendan Lee's career and the East Perth co-captain has no doubt that doing just that is what's needed from his team to bounce back from a tough start to the 2013 WAFL season. 

Lee had to do the hard yards early in his career at East Perth after moving up from Busselton and played mostly reserves football for two and-a-half years before playing some good football in East Perth's midfield throughout 2009.

Then coming into 2010, he worked tremendously hard to become perhaps the fittest and hardest working player in the WAFL and that saw him have two outstanding seasons in 2010 and 2011, culminating in winning the fairest and best in 2011 and then being rookie-listed by Essendon.

Despite being hampered by injury, he won the Bendigo Bombers' VFL fairest and best award and showed some good signs in two games in the AFL for Essendon, but found himself delisted at the end of 2012 and was quick to decide to return to East Perth to build on his 63-game league career.

The start to the season didn’t go to plan, though, with East Perth managing just one goal after half-time to end up losing by 75 points to West Perth.

It left a sour taste in Lee's mouth, and indeed everyone else at East Perth, and he now is backing the Royals to bounce back strongly this Saturday against Peel Thunder at Medibank Stadium.

"Obviously going up to Joondalup is always a game we try to ramp ourselves up for and it was pretty disappointing to finish off the second half like we did, and not even rally and fight back," Lee said.

"We had a really good start to the second quarter and we were up by about three goals, but we were pretty flat coming into half-time after West Perth had kicked a few quick goals. To be honest, everyone is just really keen to get back to a game this week and improve on that last half for sure."

Lee has no doubt that Peel will be a big challenge this Saturday, though, no matter how desperate the Royals are to bounce back.

With a host of Fremantle-listed players and new recruits James Hawksley, Paul Bower, Cruize Garlett, Jarrhan Jacky and Marlon Motlop, Peel has plenty of talent but it's a former teammate that Lee is looking forward to battling.

Pat Travers returned to Peel last year after 97 games with East Perth and Saturday will mark Lee's first chance to go up against him.

"We just need to lift our intensity around the ball and get back to being good at contested footy. Our skills obviously weren’t the best last week, but just our appetite for the contest needs to improve and if it does, we will be OK," he said.

"Regardless of their recruits, they have improved every year for the last five or six years so they were always going to be a better side. With the guys they have got on board as well like Cruize Garlett and even Patty Travers, their midfield is pretty strong and they have a well balanced side.

"I get along really well with Patty and it will be a good laugh. He has a bit of white line fever so I might get a few scratches and bites, but seriously it will be good to play against him and see how I can shape up against a quality player like that. He finds more footy than nearly anyone I have come across."

The changes to East Perth's list since Lee departed for Essendon and returned 12 months later has been minimal with the major differences now being that Brian Dawson has replaced Tony Micale as coach, and Paul Johnson is on board as the best ruckman in the WAFL.

"Daws has been a great refresher for the group to come in and implement some new strategies and give us a new voice. I think it's only going to be a good experience for the guys to go through with his experience both professionally and from when he was at Swan Districts," Lee said.

"I heard really good things last year about Johnno and from what I've seen over the last two weeks he is definitely going to be a lot of help for myself and the rest of the midfielders. I just have to get a bit of continuity of playing with him and that will come over the next couple of months."

Lee is honoured to be co-captain alongside 204-game veteran Craig Wulff this year with 157-gamer Michael Swan stepping down, but the 25-year-old is glad that he can further develop his leadership with both star veterans continuing to lead from the front at the club.

"When I first came back from Melbourne I thought that this might be Wulffy's last year, but I definitely don't see that happening now. He really is as motivated as I've ever seen him and before the game on Saturday he really showed how motivated he is," he said.

"The thing with Wulffy is that he's still as passionate about the game and to do the work as he was when he was younger, so I don’t see him stopping anytime soon. Swanny was looking to step down from that role and I think it will be great for his game so he can just concentrate on his role in the team, and so he can concentrate on building up his business.

"For me to be nominated with Wulffy was great and I was really humbled by it. It's a good time to do it as well when Michael Swan is still there along with Wulffy. I still have a long way to go and I can learn a lot from those guys."

Now that he has had a few months to gain some perspective on his time at Essendon in 2012, Lee is glad that he got the opportunity to live out his dream of playing in the AFL, and despite being understandably disappointed to have lasted just one year, he still wishes the Bombers well.

"It's very disappointing firstly, but I'm definitely not bitter at all. I'm a huge supporter still of Essendon and where they want to go and I appreciate and respect that they are in a position as a top three Victorian club where success is expected," he said.

"I definitely appreciate the chance that they gave me and I'm disappointed to not be there, but I come back a much better player and I learned a lot of things along the way over there not just about my footy."

Credit to Lee, though, that unlike many AFL players who are lost when delisted and relying on state league clubs to find them jobs upon recruiting them, he was already well set up off the field thanks to a business he started up in February of last year.

Fifo Capital helps small and medium-sized businesses across Victoria and Western Australia to overcome cash flow obstacles.

Lee continues to split his time between Perth and Melbourne helping companies with both expansion and operational efficiency with their finances, and it's something he is just as passionate about as his football.

"I set up the business in February of last year so I was doing that while playing footy over in Melbourne," Lee said.

"We have a lot of work to do but I'm enjoying that side of things."

WAFL Round 2 Preview

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 4:00 PM - by Chris Pike

THERE are just the two matches in Round 2 of the 2013 WAFL season this weekend with West Perth looking to become the first team this year to get to two wins, and Subiaco, Peel and East Perth just out to get off the mark.

The round begins on Friday night when Subiaco takes on West Perth at Leederville's Medibank Stadium before at the same venue on Saturday, East Perth hosts Peel Thunder.

Claremont, East Fremantle, Perth, South Fremantle and Swan Districts all have the Round 2 bye.


Selected teams

West Perth couldn’t have started its season off in any better way than thrashing East Perth last Saturday, but Subiaco watched on and now will be ready to come out roaring to starts its 2013 campaign.

West Perth thumped East Perth by 75 points in last Saturday's derby at Arena Joondalup while Subiaco had the Round 1 bye.alt

Even though the Falcons will come into the game on just a six-day break after playing in the hot conditions last Saturday, they simply ran the Royals right off their legs and it's unlikely the slightly short break will have any kind of impact on Friday night's game.

Subiaco will be fresh and raring to go, though, there's no doubt about that in Jarrad Schofield's first match in charge of coach after the triple-premiership player, and AFL premiership winner with Port Adelaide replaced Chris Waterman coming into the 2013 season. Friday night's game.

Schofield has overseen a massive turnover in Subiaco's list over the summer and that will see David Madut, Nick Hay, Jarrod Kayler-Thomson, Ray Daniels, Ryan Herring and Brad McDonald all making their debuts for the club on Friday night.

Kayler-Thomson arrives after playing 108 games for Perth, Herring after 26 games for Peel and Daniels after four for Swan Districts while the other three are new faces.

Madut is an exciting 19-year-old ruckman who will have a big job up against Chris Keunen with Hay the 20-year-old younger brother of former Hawthorn star Jonathan, and McDonald is a 24-year-old recruit from the Penguin Football Club in Tasmania.

With six new faces plus a host of youngsters including Matthew Cullen, Daniel Leishman, Chris Deluca, Myles Smythe, Alliston 'Buddy' Pickett and Dom Sheed, it's an incredibly young Subiaco side and one that's even a far cry than the team that lost the 2011 grand final to Claremont.

Despite Subiaco's youth and vibrancy coming into the new season, West Perth is already up and running following last Saturday's huge win over East Perth.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the win over East Perth was the fact that there were terrific contributions from youngsters, experienced players and those in between alike.

Debutant Matthew Johnson kicked six goals while Dan Hunt and Michael Pettigrew were terrific in defence with Ray Bartholomew, Chris Keunen, Jay van Berlo, Shane Nelson, Steven Browne, Jordan Jones, Aaron Black and Andrew Strijk all outstanding also.

The West Perth team to face Subiaco on Friday night is even strengthened further with the return of last year's fairest and best winner, and West Coast rookie, Mark Hutchings.

Two players had to make room with the squad going down from 23 to 22 from last week, and to move aside for Hutchings. The two unlucky players are Marc Crisp and Trent Manzone.


Selected teams

East Perth and Peel Thunder both made losing starts to their respective 2013 campaigns last Saturday and now will be desperate to bounce back this Saturday to avoid slipping to an 0-2 start .

East Perth went down to West Perth last Saturday by 75 points at Arena Joondalup having just kicked the one goal in the entire second half.

Peel was more competitive, but would have been just as disappointed to lose to Perth by 12 points despite having more scoring shots and plenty of opportunities to win the game particularly in the last quarter.

The game takes on extra significance as well considering that East Perth has a huge task against reigning premiers Claremont next week and Peel has the bye, so for the loser on Saturday it has the potential to spiral into a disastrous 2013 season that promised so much for both clubs.

East Perth loses former co-captain Michael Swan to a one-week suspension from the team that lost to West Perth last week with Tyson Rudd also losing his place in the side.

Brock Higgins, Mitch Howlett, Corey Hutchings and Lewis Wilson are all making a case to come into the Royals line-up. Higgins had 11 touches and 26 hit outs in the reserves last week, Howlett 24 disposals, Hutchings 11 touches and two goals, and Wilson 10 possessions.

East Perth won't have a mass of West Coast players at its disposal either with just Blayne Wilson and Cale Morton set to play. It will be an interesting situation for Wilson after he previously played 36 matches with Peel where he was drafted from.

Peel has made a host of changes to its team from the one that lost to Perth last Saturday with Drew Robinson, Mitch Green and Liam McKenna going out of the side.

Solid key defender Chris Luff returns with Ash Thornton back in after five goals in the reserves last week and Jamason Daniels also comes in after 24 disposals in the reserves as well. Fremantle midfielders Jesse Crichton and Hayden Crozier also come in for the Thunder.

That means that Peel will have the services of Peter Faulks, Tanner Smith, Jayden Pitt, Crichton, Tom Sheridan, Craig Moller, Crozier and Viv Michie from Fremantle to take on the Royals with.

Round 1 WAFL 16’s Results

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 5:51 AM

South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Swan Districts and East Perth all recorded opening round wins as the 2013 WAFL 16’s carnival season kicked off with a bang at the weekend.

Peel Thunder began its 2013 campaign in emphatic fashion with a 75-point win over Perth at Brownes Stadium, running out 15.8 (98) to 3.5 (23) victors.

South Fremantle also got its season off on a winning note with a comfortable 10.13 (73) to 6.7 (43) win over Claremont at Claremont Oval.

East Perth made a good start to its carnival with a hard fought 4-point win over West Perth at Arena Joondalup and Tim Yorkshire-Narrier from La Salle College was best on ground kicking 5 goals for Swan Districts in their 1-point win over East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval.


Peel Thunder 15.8 (98) def Perth 3.5 (23)

Best: Bloomfield, Tomerini, Matthews

Best: Phillips, Polak, Taylor

Swan Districts 9.8 (62) def East Fremantle 9.7 (61)

Best: Yorkshire-Narrier, Mostert, Outridge

Best: Black, Philip, Parish

East Perth 8.11 (59) def West Perth 7.13 (55)

Best: Radecki, Opum, Bell

Best: Mountford, Charlie, Hills

South Fremantle 10.13 (73) def Claremont 6.7 (43)

Best: Ah Chee, Petera, McGuiness

Best: Rogers, Guelfi, Hewitt

Round 1 WAFL Heat Policy

Friday, March 15, 2013 - 5:54 AM

The West Australian Football League will allow each team to field an additional player for Round 1 of the AAMI WAFL Premiership season tomorrow (Saturday March 16) under the WAFL Heat Policy.

WAFL Operations Manager Cameron Knapton said that although the forecast had come down from 35+ to 32 degrees, it was in the best interest of the players, clubs and competition to action the Heat Policy.

"We decided earlier this week to implement this policy to allow clubs to plan for selection, given they can each field an extra player in their League sides. Players are also coming into Round 1 off shorter pre-season games," Knapton said.

"Quarter breaks will also be increased from 7 to 10 minutes to enable teams to leave the field for the shade of the rooms at each change in both Reserves and League. Half time will remain at 20 minutes.

"We will also consider implementation for Round 2 should it be required," he said.

Initial squads have been named with 26 players.


Saturday, March 16 – 2.10pm

West Perth v East Perth (Arena Joondalup) ABC TV

Claremont v South Fremantle (Claremont Oval) 6iX Digital

East Fremantle v Swan Districts (East Fremantle Oval) Radio Fremantle 107.9fm

Perth v Peel Thunder (Brownes Stadium) 990AM

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Shepherd glad Peel took a leap of faith

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 8:00 AM - by Chris Pike

CAM Shepherd has waited patiently for his belated chance as a WAFL senior coach, but now all he is focused on is helping to develop a strong, healthy and winning culture at Peel Thunder.

Shepherd played 153 WAFL games between Claremont and Peel and since then has developed in various roles as a coach with a variety of clubs most recently alongside Scott Watters at Subiaco, Tony Micale at East Perth and Greg Harding at Swan Districts the last two seasons.

While he has put his hand up for senior coaching jobs before and been overlooked, he has never let it get him down and he continued to work hard in whatever role he was doing at whichever club he was working at.

Shepherd was quick to apply for the Peel Thunder job once Trevor Williams departed midway through last season and was subsequently appointed for the next two years.

He was glad that Peel showed faith in him with the appointment and he's glad that he now has the chance to show what he can do as a senior coach.

"Going down to Peel is really exciting and everyone down there has embraced the changes that we have put in place so we are really looking forward to the season ahead of us," Shepherd said.

"I have been around for a fair bit of time and have enjoyed every moment at all the clubs, which has given me I think a really good understanding of the competition and what's required to hopefully be successful as a coach."

Shepherd has not let the disappointment of missing out on previous jobs he played for get him down and he thinks that's what has kept his passion high for the time he got the chance, which has now eventuated.

He is enjoying the work at Peel so far now leading into the Round 1 clash with Perth on Saturday at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium.


"Someone once said that you are constantly disappointed by not getting these jobs, but I'm really pleased that Peel took the step to appoint me as coach and I hope that I can repay them," he said.

Shepherd might have plenty of his own thoughts on how to prepare a playing group, how to train, what game plan to use and what things to implement, but he has no doubt he has also picked up plenty along the way from all the fellow coaches he has worked alongside."It has been a hard but enjoyable time jumping on board at Peel and working closely with Brad Bootsma and John Ditchburn and his team. Sometimes you appreciate it more when you have been disappointed a couple of times."

"I reckon you are constantly learning from the people that you are associated with. I have great respect for Scott Watters and even my time with Tony Micale was insightful, and Greg's handling of Swans last year was really good coming off a poor season the previous year," he said.

"You learn something from each of them, but you have your own style of play that you want to take and fortunately with Fremantle and the alignment now I've even been able to glean off Ross Lyon, Simon Lloyd and Ash Prescott some of the things that are important to Fremantle so we can have some sort of integration there."

Shepherd's focus now is not on building on his own reputation as a coach, but building up Peel to become a successful club in the WAFL competition for the first time since entering the league in 1997.

"I'm probably not worried about how I go because it's not about me, it's more about how we develop as a footy club and how the side goes," Shepherd said.

"This is a team that has come last 11 of its 17 years with a best finish being sixth so our real challenge is not wins and losses, but how we go about playing the game and how our structures are stuck to by the players. It's probably not necessarily exciting, but it's a season that starts with great expectation."

WAFL 16s Carnival kicking off

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 6:21 AM

Round 1 of the 2013 WAFL 16s Carnival commences on Saturday March, 16 with three games played after WAFL League matches including:

- West Perth v East Perth at Arena Joondalup, starting at 5.15pm
- East Fremantle v Swan Districts at East Fremantle Oval, starting at 5.15pm
- Perth v Peel Thunder at Brownes Stadium, starting at 5pm

The final game of Round 1 will see Claremont play South Fremantle at Claremont Oval on Sunday March 17, starting at 10am.

To download the Carnival program click hereWAFL 16s Carnival Booklet 2013

The WAFL 16s carnival is a 7 round series of matches played during March & April.

"The carnival provides the opportunity for players, coaches and umpires to be exposed to an enhanced level of competition and training which plays a vital role in their development," State Pathways Manager Darren Davis said.

"The carnival also allows our WAFL clubs to provide a team and coaching environment in which every individual has the opportunity to develop and display their talent, leadership and determination and in doing so prepare the players for progression to WAFL Colts or the State 16s Academy."

At the conclusion of the Carnival, the State 16s Academy squad will be selected. This squad will train over a 10 week period before a travelling party of 25 players will be selected to participate in the NAB AFL Under 16 Championships held in Sydney in July.


WAFL pre-season week three results

Monday, March 11, 2013 - 8:00 AM - by Chris Pike

CLAREMONT and West Perth won pre-season hit outs on Saturday night to remain unbeaten heading into the 2013 campaign proper with East Fremantle and South Fremantle also recording victories during the day.

West Perth beat Peel Thunder 14.10 (94) to 13.7 (85) at Bendigo Bank Stadium, East Fremantle downed Perth 17.8 (110) to 11.7 (73) at Brownes Stadium, Claremont won against Subiaco 15.5 (95) to 14.4 (88) at Medibank Stadium and South Fremantle beat Swan Districts 18.8 (116) to 11.9 (75) at Fremantle Oval.

Two-time reigning premier Claremont made it three straight pre-season wins coming off victories over Swan Districts and East Perth, and won a hard fought battle at Leederville's Medibank Stadium by seven points on Saturday night.

Despite missing Andrew Foster, Blake Anderson, David Crawford, Chad Jones, Ryan Neates and Byron Schammer, Claremont remained unbeaten with a seven-point win over Subiaco.

Jack Bradshaw kicked three goals as did Ian Richardson and Jeremy McGovern. Mitch Andrews and Paul Medhurst kicked two each.

Jake Murphy gathered 21 possessions with captain Andrew Browne also gathering 21 disposals to go with eight marks and three inside 50s.

Luke Blackwell gathered 19 touches, Hugo Breakey 19, Nick Winmar 18, Andrews 17 and James Thomson 16.

Callum Sinclair was once again a dominant presence for Subiaco with 24 possessions, eight marks, 20 hit outs andthree goals. Alliston 'Buddy' Pickett also kicked three goals with Chris Deluca and Clancy Wheeler booting two.

Jason Bristow gathered 19 possessions, Brett Mahoney 18, Wheeler 17, Ben Randall 16 and Aidan Parker 16.

West Perth backed up its win over South Fremantle the previous week holding on to beat Peel Thunder by nine points at Mandurah's Bendigo Bank Stadium also on Saturday night.

The Falcons kicked six goals to two in the third quarter to set up the win over the Thunder with Fremantle's Josh Mellington booting four goals, Matthew Johnson three and Anthony Tsalikis two.

Shane Nelson continued his outstanding form in the midfield from last season racking up 30 possessions with Steven Browne picking up 28 disposals, Marc Crisp 25, Aaron Black 23, Jordan Jones 22 (and 15 marks), Ray Bartholomew 21 and Rohan Kerr 20.

Veteran defenders Dan Hunt and Michael Pettigrew were also impressive while Frank Stockley had 11 disposals, 10 hit outs and a goal in the ruck.

Kristin Thornton kicked three goals for Peel and Jarrhan Jacky two with captain Brendon Jones racking up 30 possessions, Pat Travers 31, Paul Bower 26, Matt Orzel 21, Drew Robinson 21 and James Hawksley 19.

Peel also had good service from Fremantle's Jesse Crichton (31 possessions), Peter Faulks (14), Craig Moller (10, 11 hit outs), Jack Hannath (10, 37 hit outs), Viv Michie (27), Jayden Pitt (23), Tanner Smith (10) and Alex Forster (13).

South Fremantle won its first pre-season game following losses to Perth and West Perth beating Swan Districts by 41 points at Fremantle Oval on Saturday on the back of 11 goals to four after half-time.

Ashton Hams sent an emphatic reminder to West Coast coach John Worsfold that he could still have plenty to offer the Eagles forward-line in 2013 kicking five goals from 13 possessions. Ben Saunders added three for the Bulldogs.

Former Port Adelaide midfielder Mitch Banner continued his strong pre-season form for South Fremantle as well with another 26 possessions and two goals in a best on ground performance.

Veterans Kris Miller and Craig White also impressed for South Fremantle as did former Claremont big man Alistair Gillespie who had 15 disposals, five marks and two goals.

Tim Geappen kicked three goals for Swan Districts with recruit from Perth Matthew Rogers kicking two from 16 disposals. Shaun Hildebrandt racked up 19 possessions, Matt Riggio 18 and Tom Roach 18 with the veteran trio showing they will be a force once again in 2013.

East Fremantle made it two wins and a draw from its three pre-season games recording a comfortable 37-point win over Perth at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium.

Versatile and experienced big man Rob Young kicked four goals for the Sharks to go with 11 possessions and 22 hit outs. Brett Peake, Ryan Lester-Smith, Aiden Tropiano, Fraser MacDougall and Sam Menegola all kicked two goals apiece.

Bradd Dalziell picked up 26 possessions for East Fremantle, Menegola 25, Cameron Sutcliffe 24, Rory O'Brien 24, Sean Henson 22, Mark McGough 20, Garrick Ibbotson 20 and Lester-Smith 18.

Simon Tunbridge, Brennan Stack and Simon Donovan booted two goals each for Perth with Michael Mather picking up 23 possessions, Matt Moody 22, Alistair Smith 22, Paul Bevan 21, Brett Hodge 19, Dene White 19 and Daniel O'Sullivan 18.

Recruits, depth and discipline in order at Peel

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 4:00 PM - by Chris Pike
NEW Peel Thunder coach Cam Shepherd is confident of a strong first season in charge and it's more based on five star recruits plus more depth in the squad than anything to do with the Fremantle alignment.

Shepherd has arrived to coach Peel looking to improve on yet another wooden spoon season in 2012, but looks likely to have the most talented looking squad that the Thunder ever has had at his disposal.

That is highlighted by five recruits that could very well mean Peel has done the best recruiting of any club in the competition.

Indigenous trio Cruize Garlett (North Melbourne), Jarrhan Jacky (Swan Districts) and Marlon Motlop (Swan Districts) will add plenty of experience, pace and skill while Paul Bower (Carlton) and James Hawksley (Brisbane) return from the AFL system to strengthen Peel's defence.

On top of that, talented pair Kelvin Lawrence and Johnny Bennell return for another crack at WAFL level and that's before anything from Fremantle is even taken into account.

At least for this season, Peel is unlikely to actually improve based on having Fremantle on board given the fact that West Coast's Scott Lycett and Blayne Wilson regular players will now be with East Perth.

The Thunder might have Fremantle's Jayden Pitt, Tom Sheridan, Alex Forster, Viv Michie, Tanner Smith, Peter Faulks, Jack Hannath, Craig Moller and Matt Taberner, but all are young players still finding their feet as senior footballers aside from Faulks who played 13 games with Peel in 2012.

While all that sounds good from a playing front, Shepherd knows all too well that just having plenty of talent and a good side on paper will count for little if the attitude and commitment isn’t right.

Demanding that commitment from the entire playing group might not have been popular with all the existing players when Shepherd arrived, but he has no doubt that what he is trying to implement could very well give Peel its best chance ever of climbing up the ladder.

"The first thing is that it is a club that has been starved of success and has been yearning for something that is just a bit different to hopefully open the door to that success," Shepherd said.

"I'm not saying that I am going to provide that, but we have put in some behaviours and trademarks that we think are really important to us and the player group have embraced those, and driven those.

"Those are the sort of things that we will constantly refer to in order to hopefully give us success off the field as well as off it. We've got a great facility down at Peel and now we need to put some wins on the board, but more importantly get the behaviours right and get the team thinking about what's important not only for themselves, but for the team."

While the likes of Brendan Hancock, Matt Battye, Callan Eddy, Bryce Thornton, Ryan Herring, David Johnston, Mitchell Lleyendekkers, Mitch Keddell and Rhett Mason might be among those no longer at Peel, Shepherd has no question everyone remaining is totally committed to the cause.

"We won't tolerate half-hearted efforts," he said.

"That's not to say that in the past they have been half-hearted, but they've had different standards and our standards this year are equivalent to most other WAFL sides in the competition and we will be training as often, and as hard as the opposition. I think that stands us in good stead.

"To be at Peel this year, you have to be one all, all in and we are all together, and know what is expected of each other. There are no excuses."

Shepherd is especially excited with the arrival of Garlett from North Melbourne where he played 32 AFL games, Motlop from Swan Districts where he starred last year coming from Port Adelaide and Jacky who has been a strong performer for Swans also since coming back from the Adelaide Crows.

"We really think that Cruize will be one of the better inside mids in the competition. He's had a slow start to the year because of the protracted clearance arrangements, but we are just looking forward to Cruize having a stellar year to put himself back in front of the AFL scouts," he said.

"I really believe in both of those two boys (Motlop and Jacky) and their skills of football, but more importantly in their assets as people around the footy club.

"I think that both of them should have really strong years and I admire them for coming down to Peel and hopefully they will enjoy what could be a good season for them. They both have been really fortunate in securing wonderful employment, so Peel has been instrumental in that as well."

Add in Garlett, Motlop and Jacky to a midfield already consisting of Pat Travers, Brendon Jones, Kristin Thornton, Matt Orzel and Jamason Daniels, and it is an impressive looking on-ball brigade.

"We think that at our best with everyone up and going we should be able to match it with most sides in the competition in the midfield," he said.

"On top of Jones, Travers, Thornton and those guys, there are three or four others who can grow into accomplished midfielders as well who are young fellas coming through the colts.

"I think they will be learning off some really good players like Jones, Patty Travers and guys who are good, reliable WAFL players. In the past those guys have had to shoulder most of the burden and eventually get run down, but we think the added depth will help them."

Shepherd is looking forward to how Peel's defence will be shaping up anchored by Hawksley and Bower, with help from Drew Robinson, Chris Luff, Devin McFarlane and others.

"Part of any good side is how they defend and providing we remain healthy, and our good players stay on the park we think that our best back-line should be able to be as good as any in the competition," he said.

"Paul Bower has played 70 games for Carlton and he is a really good person around the footy club. We expect him to have a really strong year in the back-line. James Hawksley since he came to training and came to us early in November after being delisted, and suffering that disappointment, has been wonderful to the young players in our side.

"Both of them being ex-Peel boys will be really important to our group. The club hasn’t been successful in the past in getting ex-Peel boys back to the club so these two are a real benefits for the footy club to get them back in and have them playing for us."

Despite all the attention focused on Peel's new alignment with Fremantle that takes full effect in 2014, Shepherd has been impressed with the way it has all gone so far.

"We haven’t had anyone down to our training, which has been as much as I hoped, because we need to get our players to understand that Peel standing alone is important and then the Peel-Fremantle alignment hopefully makes us stronger," Shepherd said.

"We have worked really closely with Fremantle since the partnership was announced and they have been really welcoming to myself, and I've been lucky enough to be involved with Simon Lloyd and Ash Prescott, and Ross Lyon in relation to understanding their players and some of the important things as to how they go about their business."

2012 WAFC Annual Report

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 9:59 AM
The 2012 West Australian Football Commission Annual Report is now available on-line.

Click here to view it now -

Youth Leadership Program delivers young leaders back into the community

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 8:17 AM

More than three months after the beginning of the Youth Leadership Program, the young students graduated on Saturday, February 16 at the AFL NAB Cup triple header at Patersons Stadium.

The group of students aged 15-17, recognised as motivated young leaders, were selected from umpiring, school and community football programs to attend the Youth Leadership Program in November last year.

The program aimed to equip these already identified leaders with a range of skills to take back to their community and impact on their peers.  Thanks to OneLife, the young leaders will now go back into their community as ambassadors for mental health and suicide awareness.

In addition to this, the group also attended sessions on understanding leadership, situational leadership, youth advocacy, mentoring and goal setting.

The program featured some high profile guests throughout including West Coast Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett, AFL Umpire Dean Margetts, retired SAS soldier, Brett Warner, and WAFC High Performance & Integrity Manager, Steve Hargrave .

The WAFC Game Development team was also involved throughout the program.  The wide range guest presenters shared some of their life experiences related to leadership, and had some valuable knowledge to share.

The program had its grand finale on Saturday after the NAB Cup, with WAFC Commissioner Larry Kickett and WAFC Director of Game Development Warren Nel contributing to a wonderful graduation for the group.

This is just the beginning for the group, as they now go back into their communities and aim to have an impact on not only their peers, but the wider community.