Match marks coming of age

Trent Manzone fires off a handball in the Falcons’ big win over the Royals in April. Picture: Dan White
Trent Manzone fires off a handball in the Falcons’ big win over the Royals in April. Picture: Dan White

The then Jeff Gieschen-coached-Falcons defeated the Royals by 21 points in front of a crowd of more than 15,000.

Gieschen, who took West Perth to the 1993 grand final, went on to coach Richmond and become the AFL umpire manager for more than a decade.

He will come from Melbourne to be the guest speaker at the club president’s lunch before Monday’s WA Day derby encounter.

Falcons president Brett Raponi said Gieschen was in many ways responsible for the club’s success over 21 years at Joondalup.

‘He changed the culture and brought a new professionalism that had not been seen previously,’ Raponi said.

‘He set the tone and players like Darren Harris, Dustin Burns, Todd Curley, Stephen Trewhella and Jason Salecic have embraced it and driven it to where it is today.’

Harris, who coached the Falcons to the 2003 premiership, will join Curley and a host of past premiership players, including Bill Dempsey, Mel Whinnen, David Dyson, Bryan Pleitner and Steve Arnott. Past presidents Lew Hasler, Colin Rockman and Brian Atkinson will also attend.

‘It is one of greatest rivalries in the WAFL and captures the imagination and attention of everyone in football,’ Raponi said of the derby rivalry.

‘It’s a fixture that I and the Falcons faithful look forward to every year.

‘Nothing was sweeter than thumping them in last year’s grand final, taking our premiership tally to 19.

‘I also think most WAFL footy fans got a real kick out of our 100-point belting of them earlier this season at Leederville.

‘I am sure the Royals will be fired up to atone just as I am equally sure we will be up for the challenge too.’

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