Milestone for Falcon

Ray Bartholomew sits by his locker in the West Perth change rooms.Picture: Dan White
Ray Bartholomew sits by his locker in the West Perth change rooms.Picture: Dan White

The persuasive Claremont Tigers had shown interest in him and his foot was half out the door.

But that’s as far as the Quinns Junior Football Club product got.

This Sunday, five years later, he plays his 150th Falcons game, when the club takes on East Fremantle at Arena Joondalup.

It’s a milestone that’s taken him a decade to reach, so far encompassing 147 WAFL league games and two Foxtel Cup matches across 10 seasons.

Reflecting on a tough start to life in senior footy, Bartholomew recounted how close he came to leaving West Perth in 2008.

‘I was in and out of the league side and I believed that I was a league player,’ he said.

‘Claremont was interested at the time and put an offer on the table.’

But a chat with good friend and club captain Jason Salecic convinced him he should remain at the Falcons.

‘He told me: ‘You say you want to play footy with your mates and all your mates are here ” what would you get out of playing at another club’?’ he said.

The arrival of coach Bill Monaghan in 2009 proved to be a turning point in the midfielder’s career.

Monaghan challenged Bartholomew to prove his worth in the league side’s best 22.

‘A new coach, a new lease on life, I thought: ‘I’m going to do everything I can to prove I am a league player at this football club and a leader as well’,’ Bartholomew said.

The skilled link-up player is now a vital cog in the West Perth machine, as the club heads for September action in promising form.

He would have reached his 150 milestone much sooner this season had it not been for a torn calf muscle. But that’s football.

‘To finally have got to 150 games is a great honour,’ he said.

‘To play at a club with such a big history means a lot.

‘When I retire, I will look back on it and cherish it.’