WEST Perth have overcome a 30-point deficit to charge home against Swan Districts, taking a 9.8 (62) to 8.5 (53) victory in a thriller at Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval on Saturday.
The Falcons' win was a credit to their engine room, led by Shane Nelson and Liam Tedesco (35 and 28 disposals respectively), who took the game to another level in the second half to get West Perth back into the contest after kicking just the one first half goal.
It was a special occasion for both teams, as veteran Swan Tony Notte ran out in his 250th game for Swan Districts.
Meanwhile, the Falcons welcomed back former captain Jason Salecic for his first game since retiring after lifting the premiership cup back in 2013.
Tensions were red hot early in the contest, with the Swans looking to continue their good start to the season, while the Falcons were determined to bounce back after their heavy loss to Claremont.
Swan Districts’ Tom Edwards kicked the first major of the game directly in front to get the Swans off on the right foot.
West Perth were able to respond in quick time, thanks to a goal from forward Tyson Moulton.
The Swans improved their ball use towards the end of the first term, which helped them to an eight-point lead at the first break.
The majority of the play in the second quarter was played in the Falcon’s forward half.
However, the scoreboard did not reflect it, as the Swans kicked three-straight to West Perth’s three behinds, taking a 23-point lead at the major break.
Swans’ backman Nelson Waite was a driving force from defence, with 19 disposals at half-time, while West Perth’s Nelson was doing everything in his power to get his team going, having 17 possessions of his own.
The Falcons lifted in the second half to breathe life back into the contest.
The spark came from back-to-back goals from Jack Burke and Rudy Riddoch to get West Perth within 15 points.
The contest was fierce, as the two sides traded goals for the rest of the quarter to set up an exciting last quarter.
West Perth came out firing in the fourth, as Riddoch put through his third major, giving the momentum to the Falcons.
The Swans fought hard, but their intensity was matched, as the Falcons laid crucial tackles and made the most of their opportunities.
Backman Tom O’Donnell kicked truly late, one of four unanswered goals for West Perth in the final term, as the Falcons stormed home nine-point victors.
BACKMAN O’DONNELL KICKS THE SEALER
Traditionally a backman, Tom O’Donnell managed to sneak up forward with the Falcons holding a two-point lead. He was able to put it through the big sticks, forcing Swans to have to kick multiple goals to get back in front. Whether it was a coaching masterclass, or a bit of individual brilliance, the act put the exclamation point on an incredible fightback.
FIERCE BATTLE BETWEEN PALMER AND GUADAGNIN
Coming into the game, Swans forward Jesse Palmer had kicked 13 goals and was a key cog in the Swan Districts forward set up. Backman Zac Guadagnin was challenged with the task of playing on him, and fans were treated to an intense contest throughout the day. Palmer managed just the three behinds in a massive win for the West Perth coaches box. However, Palmer’s presence was felt throughout the day, and looked dangerous inside 50 when he had the ball in his hands.
OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – ROUND 6
WEST PERTH 1.0 1.3 5.6 9.8 (62)
SWAN DISTRICTS 2.2 5.2 8.3 8.5 (53)
WEST PERTH: Goals – Riddoch 3; Moulton 2; Tedesco, Lynch, O'Donnell, Burke.
Best – Nelson, Tedesco, West, Black, Guadagnin, Pegoraro.
SWAN DISTRICTS: Goals – Edwards 3; Noble 2; Anderson, Fisher, Reidy.
Best – Gault, Anderson, Waite, Cipro, Beck, Johnes, Bayok.