By Dave Burton
BOTH West Perth teams played very good football taking it right up to East Fremantle when they returned to Arena Joondalup, although only the Rogers Cup players would come away with a win.
The Falcons’ Rogers Cup side won 4.2 (26) to 2.5 (17) after sending an early message that the Sharks, who are fighting for a position in the top 4, were not going to get it easy.
Right from the opening bounce in the round 15 game the Falcons put pressure on tackling in numbers and then getting the run going on the outside.
East Fremantle did manage to score a goal in the last couple of minutes to take that advantage into the first break.
The second quarter started off in much the same fashion and it was the great forward pressure the Falcons were applying that resulted in an early turnover inside 50, LJ Fulcher took full advantage collecting a loose ball and kicking truly, for her first ever goal in Rogers Cup, to bring the teams level within the first minute.
Holly Morris created a turnover from a good tackle halfway through the quarter and slotted her resulting free kick to give the Falcons the lead by that margin.
The second half the Falcons strong play was wearing the Sharks down and they were dominating play for the remainder of the match.
Tia Smith kicked a goal in each of the last two quarter, continuing the trend of first time goal-kickers.
Better players on the day were Teal Bennett, who was clearly best on ground with her ability to keep her feet in a contest and hard running all day, Tia Smith received accolades from the manager for her two goals and LJ Fulcher for her efforts in the forward line earned the award from her peers.
The reserves, who eventually went down 6.9 (45) to 4.5 (29) to the second-placed Sharks could have expected a tough day, when East Fremantle opened the game with two goals in the first four minutes, but instead it kicked the Falcons into gear.
The strong resolve which has been evident over the last several weeks continued and with Kavita Pepper lighting up the forward line by kicking three first-quarter goals the Falcons managed to take a five-point lead at the first change.
In a game that was highlighted by the sheer fighting effort, it was not a surprise that West Perth’s Hailey Merrick was awarded best on ground as her ability to intercept in the defensive 50 kept the Sharks in check all day.
Merrick ably assisted by Trish Medwin made East Fremantle work to the end to secure their 15-point margin over the Falcons.
Kavita Pepper picked up the other accolades for her three goal performance.