West Perth to have history on its side in celebration of first WAFL flag

Tyler Keitel in the commemorative jumper West Perth will play in this Saturday. Picture: Martin Kennealey d469288
Tyler Keitel in the commemorative jumper West Perth will play in this Saturday. Picture: Martin Kennealey d469288

WEST Perth will celebrate the 120th anniversary of its first WAFL flag when it hosts Claremont at Arena Joondalup on Saturday.

The players will wear a replica guernsey featuring a simulated lace-up front and an imprint of the 1897 premiership team.

A photograph of the side is the club’s only surviving memorabilia from that year.

West Perth’s 1897 premiership team. Picture: West Perth Football Club

“They did premiership caps around that era,” club historian Sean Cowan said.

“I’ve never seen a premiership cap from 1897; the earliest I’ve seen is Perth 1907.”

Key defender Tyler Keitel (21) described the replica jumper, which includes each of the 1897 players’ names, as awesome.

“West Perth has such a rich history and it is good to see it acknowledged,” the 42-gamer said.

“The players respect every past player; it’s a big thing here.”

Keitel’s uncle, premiership ruckman and 2002 club best and fairest Ron Skender, is one of them.

“When I was a real young fellow, I remember going out on the ground, jumping on his shoulders and singing the song with him in the changerooms,” Keitel said.

“I suppose that’s where my love for football started. And I always looked up to him when playing my footy.”

Club director and past player Peter Cutler said the 1897 West Perth team finished on top of the ladder.

“In those days the club finishing on top at the end of the season was deemed the premiership team,” he said.

“West Perth was undefeated, winning seven matches and drawing five at a time when behinds scored were not included in the score.”

Cutler said the club’s move later in the year into a new facility at its ground would enable it to better showcase its history.

“Planning is already under way for memorabilia, audio and video displays, and the establishment of a West Perth Hall of Fame,” he said.

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