Falcons storm home but fall just short

West Perth’s Jordan Jones at full stretch in the clash against East Fremantle.
West Perth’s Jordan Jones at full stretch in the clash against East Fremantle.

Picture: Dan White

In swirly conditions at East Fremantle Oval, the Sharks looked to have broken the match open when Ryan Lester-Smith goaled to extend the lead to 33 points with 10 minutes gone in the final term.

But the Falcons, led from the middle by Jay Van Berlo, came charging home with six of the last seven goals to make the home side work for the season’s first points.

The Falcons were close to snatching the lead after cutting the deficit to three points and pushing into their forward 50. But a courageous mark from East’s Matthew Jupp running back with the flight, and another wayward West Perth entry into the attacking 50 ensured the Sharks held on to win 11.7 (73) to 10.10 (70).

Rory O’Brien (36 disposals), Bradd Dalziell (33 disposals, one goal) and Jamie McNamara (27 disposals) led the Sharks for possessions, while Brett Peake (three goals) and Lester-Smith (two) provided the firepower up front.

Former forward Brock O’Brien, recast as a defender ” the role he played at AFL level ” finished with 25 touches in his first game back after missing most of last year.

For West Perth, Shane Nelson finished with 37 disposals and 10 clearances, supported by Aaron Black (28 disposals).

Ten of Marc Crisp’s 18 disposals were forward-50 entries.