Falcons can win flag from third: Keitel
West Perth forward Tyler Keitel says his side can win the 2020 WAFL premiership from third spot, having fallen agonisingly short of a finals double chance.
The Falcons needed to beat Subiaco by 20 points or more to bump Claremont out of second spot in the final round of the home and away season, and it seemed certain Geoff Valentine’s men would face South Fremantle in a second semi-final when they lead the Lions by 52 points in the third term.
A last quarter fadeout meant that opportunity was squandered, Subiaco kicking six goals to one in the final term to bump the Falcons down to third spot, setting up a first semi-final against Perth at Arena Joondalup on Sunday.
Keitel, who kicked five goals in another dominant showing up forward said it was an odd feeling post-match for his side.
“It was really strange initially, we were stoked when we walked off to know we had beaten one of the best teams over the last five or six years,” Keitel told Sports Drive on Wednesday.
“To come back into the rooms and hear that we had missed second spot by a point was really disappointing. Then we took a minute to sit back and reflect, we went in with a goal to win that game.
“Percentage was another side of it, but just to get a win like that against Subiaco does more so for our belief than anything else. It was definitely a good result at the weekend.”
The 24 year old recorded his third bag of five goals or more in a match for the season, dominating his match up with Lions premiership defender Angus Litherland.
“It was good just to get back in to a bit of form,” Keitel said.
“Last week I was really quiet (v Claremont) I didn’t hit the scoreboard or give much to the team. Just to get back in to that side of things was really good. When we have a midfield that’s cracking in as hard as they did on the weekend it’s hard not to get on the end of a few.”
Keitel has had another terrific season for the Falcons, kicking 21 goals in 8 games to finish equal second in the Bernie Naylor Medal, an award he won along with former teammate Andrew Strijk in 2018.
The former East Perth colts product also has an impressive career record against Perth, kicking 25 goals in 11 games with three bags of five, including a six goal bag in his 100th match of round five this season.
Keitel anticipated he wouldn’t get everything his own way come Sunday against an improved Demons outfit.
“This year was a bit different and I sort of had a little purple patch. In the past Perth were sort of the easy beats. I think that’s not the case anymore, that’s for sure.”
“They’ve shown real ticker, they are a real team to beat now. They have knocked off Claremont and South Fremantle, two teams we couldn’t get it done against. We have to respect them for that.
“They’re a different team now, it’s a different challenge.”
Despite the cut throat nature of Sunday’s first semi-final, Keitel said his side was confident of progressing.
“It’s really exciting. Finals footy is why you play, we’ve been building towards this. We love the opportunity to play finals, we’ve been able to do it for the last few years in a row. We’re going to relish the opportunity.
“Perth are an up and coming side and are going to have a lot of people there barracking for them, but if we back ourselves in and play our best football then we know what we need to do to get the job done.”
Needing three straight wins to hold up the 2020 WAFL premiership cup, Keitel believed his side was capable of achieving that feat.
“If there is any year you’re going to do it, it’s probably this one. It’s only the three weeks for finals. 12 quarters of footy and we are there.
The Falcons host the Demons at Arena Joondalup on Sunday, with bouncedown at 1:35 PM.
IMAGE: The West Australian.