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Falcons centurion just hoping for bounce back winThursday, May 9, 2024 - 1:57 PM - by Chris Pike

HAVING already joined his decorated cousin Matt as a premiership player, he joins him as a 100-game WAFL player at West Perth this Saturday but all Zac Guadagnin is hoping for is a bounce back win for the Falcons.

Guadagnin can still remember watching his older cousin tearing it up in the West Perth midfield as part of his 192-game WAFL career that included playing in the 2013 premiership before he followed suit by pulling on the same No. 10 jumper after starting out in 38.

Ever since that debut and Guadagnin has been the cornerstone of the West Perth defensive unit and now over the course of a 99-game career, he is a premiership player, played in another grand final, has played state football, and named to the WAFL Team of the Year.

That's quite a lot that the 26-year-old has already crammed into his WAFL career cementing himself as one of the standout defenders in the competition, but now he reaches a significant milestone this Saturday.

West Perth will play the West Coast Eagles at Pentanet Stadium and Guadagnin will celebrate his 100th WAFL game to book his name onto the No. 10 locker just underneath his cousin.

Celebrating 100-game milestone

Getting to the 100-game milestone is something that Guadagnin is rightfully proud of especially to be doing it wearing the same No. 10 jumper that his cousin Matt wore with such distinction for the Falcons before him.

The pair are already both premiership players with West Perth and now to both become 100-game players it means their names will be together on that No. 10 locker which is something that means a lot to Zac, and to the whole family.

"It's obviously something I'm very proud of and that I've been working towards for a while now," Guadagnin said.

"Especially to have Matt's name just above mine, it's something that's pretty special for the family and it will be nice in future years to see both our names on the locker. It's something I'm incredibly proud of and that I'll forever remember I guess.

"My earliest memories are of going down to West Perth games to watch Matt play as a young fella so the club has always meant a great deal to me from an early age.

"Matt's still connected now which is nice and will forever be connected with the red-and-blue. To have both our names on the locker now after Saturday is something nice for all our family to cherish."

Need a win more than anything

While Guadagnin is rightfully looking forward to his 100-game milestone this Saturday against the Eagles at Pentanet Stadium, mor than anything he just wants the Falcons to get back on the winner's list.

Even though West Perth missed the finals last year on the back of the premiership in 2022, the Falcons did finish the 2023 season strongly winning the last six games and then started 2024 on fire winning the first two.

However, the Falcons have lost their past three games now including by 113 points last week in Mandurah against Peel Thunder in what is the biggest defeat Guadagnin has been part of, and biggest West Perth has suffered since 2012.

He's now hoping that milestone or not for himself this Saturday that the Falcons bounce back in style against the Eagles.

"I'm probably lucky it wasn’t last weekend to be honest and it's nice to have it at home," Guadagnin said.

"I'll have a few mates and family who will come down so hopefully it's a good day and hopefully I can help get the boys up and about to get a win this weekend.

"We're definitely looking to redeem ourselves after last weekend's performance and it has been a bit of an up down year, and now we've lost our last three.

"It is a bit of a tough time at the moment with all our injuries, not that it's an excuse, but I'm just hoping this week the boys can find that little bit extra whether it's for my milestone or not, and we can get the win."

Success already in career

Guadagnin has enjoyed being part of a great period of success with West Perth highlighted by that 2022 premiership triumph where the Falcons beat Claremont at Leederville.

He's also been part of teams that made the grand final too in 2018, and played finals in 2020 and 2021, and is thankful for the strong teams he has been able to play with at the Falcons.

"I've been very lucky and I think we've played finals the majority of years I've been playing so far, and have been really blessed to be part of this team," Guadagnin said.

"Obviously West Perth has been a strong side for a long time and we always aim to play finals every year and especially when we won that flag, it tops off everything we had been working towards.

"I was lucky enough to play in a grand final in my first year which didn’t go our way because Subi was such a powerhouse but we've pretty much been a contender most years and then to win that flag, that's obviously the ultimate highlight."

Memorable wins you've been part of

While the 2022 premiership triumph will always take the take, there are plenty more memorable Falcons wins that Guadagnin has been part of over his career.

The shock 2018 preliminary final win over South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval back in his first season just two weeks after losing to the same team at the same venue by 98 will always be a standout for so many reasons no matter how the grand final went a week later.

"We always actually bring that game up and especially in 2022 we would talk about our greatest wins, and that prelim in 2018 against South always comes up," he said.

"No one gave us a chance, but we found a way and I don’t know what the odds for us were that way, but that will always go down as one of the greatest wins I've ever been part of.

"Playing out there with some of the greats like Jay van Berlo and Andrew Strijk, it was a day to remember for sure."

New-look defensive group

For a lot of Guadagnin's career so far he has shared a back-line with the likes of Tyson Moulton, Mark Hamilton, Noah Pegoraro, Blake Wilhelm and Nathan Alexandre who have now either moved on are currently out injured.

That's given Guadagnin some mighty big jobs so far this season as he tries his best to hold down the back-line, but he's enjoying the challenge and is looking forward to some of those currently injured starting to filter back into the team.

"It's looking a bit different this year and we've been such a tight group the last few years with the same sort of six, seven or eight blokes, and we're a tight-knit bunch," Guadagnin said.

"But I do like the challenge of bringing some of the young boys through like Jye Skender and Bailey Long, and it can be nice to have some fresh faces and young energy down there, but I do miss that old group.

"And Noah and Tyson Moulton are out at the moment so I'm looking forward to those boys getting back soon hopefully. We're just trying to blood some young boys and I know it can be tough at the moment, but hopefully this experience is good for them in the long run."