WAFL grand final: West Perth wary of huge challenge against Subiaco

West Perth Football Club coach Bill Monaghan with co-captains Jay van Berlo and Luke Tedesco ahead of training on Tuesday night. Picture: Martin Kennealey           d444092
West Perth Football Club coach Bill Monaghan with co-captains Jay van Berlo and Luke Tedesco ahead of training on Tuesday night. Picture: Martin Kennealey         d444092

WEST Perth is under no illusions about the task ahead to defeat a polished Subiaco side in the WAFL grand final.

The Lions, who lost only three games all season, belted the Falcons by 55 points when they met in the second semi-final just 11 days ago.

But West Perth, which finished second, is no stranger to stepping up when it counts.

Many doubted the Joondalup-based side could halt East Perth in the 2013 grand final when the Royals had gathered serious momentum at the business end of the WAFL season.

The Falcons not only took the flag but did so in emphatic fashion.

More than half of that successful side will run out for a second premiership crack at Subiaco Oval on Sunday. Experience counts on the biggest day in WA football, particularly against a reigning premier the class of Subiaco.

West Perth co-captain Luke Tedesco, who alternates game day captain duties with Jay van Berlo, will be the grand final skipper.

Tedesco described the challenge to defeat the minor premiers as “huge”.

“They were really impressive in the second semi-final and they’ve been the form side all year,” he said.

“We certainly have a big challenge ahead of us but I think we’re up for it.”

As a 2013 premiership player, he said the lead-up to the grand final that year was a feeling of the unknown, having not been there before. This year, there was a more relaxed mood around the group, with many having had that first experience.

He considered aspects of the Falcons’ second semi-final effort against the Lions to have been too defensive and asserted the importance of his side playing the grand final on their terms.

“We need to get back to the things that we do well,” he said.

“We need to get in and win the footy first and play to our strengths.”

Fellow co-captain van Berlo agreed on the “massive” effort required to defeat a “well-rested” Subiaco outfit coming off a week’s break.

He said there had been less time to think about the match compared to 2013 when the Falcons did not play the previous weekend after qualifying in the first week of finals.

“We’ve gone the longer way into the grand final,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s still a grand final, so you still feel the same nerves.

“We’re underdogs again so nothing changes there.”

The former Fremantle player praised Tedesco as the official grand final captain.

“That will be good for Luke, a great experience and I’ll certainly be there right beside him and supporting him all the way,” he said.

Sunday’s match will be the fifth time West Perth and Subiaco have faced off in a grand final.

The Falcons defeated the Lions in three out of four grand finals, the most recent being 2003.

Subiaco’s sole triumph came in 1973.