Round 9 - League match report with Cam Shepherd

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 10:47 PM

PT 10.5 defeated Cl 7.12

In a tough and bruising game, with the season on the line for both clubs Peel were in front all day, and despite being challenged fiercely in Q4 we managed to kick some critical goals and get the important win.

Peel had made 11 changes to the team, the most in my memory and to the credit of all players the team combined efficiently.

Better players on the day included Brandon Matera, Ben Howlett, Michael Johnson, Blair Bell, Ryan Nyhuis and Jordan Boullineau.

Alex Cohen played really well in his first league game capped off with 2 goals and it was great to have Haydn Ballantyne playing for his old club.

Good returns also from Keegan Power and Brad McGowan in their first games for the season.

We know look forward to the big game this week v WP.

Cam Shepherd - League Coach

Round 9 - Senior Development Match report with Ass. Coach Shannon Cole

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 10:42 PM

The Senior Development team had the task of taking on top of the ladder side in the Claremont Tigers at Claremont Oval on Saturday.

The group started the contest with great spirit and had a ferocious appetite for the contest going to quarter time within 6 points of regular grand finalists Claremont. Flying starts to James Kirby, Brett Millward and Kalani Scarrot saw our defensive unit on top of the game dominating in the air and providing plenty of drive of half back. A knee injury to Millward took him out of the game and soon followed by a concussion injury to Ash Humphreys which ruled him out for the remainder of the contest.

The Thunder continued to battle hard in the second quarter but could not put the score on the board and went into the main change 4 goals down.

Unfortunately for the guys, the weight of numbers started to tip the contest in the Tiger’s favour after half time and with some poor skill execution from Peel, Claremont kicked away running out winners by 12 goals despite relentless effort from the likes of Kirby, Matthews, Tassone, Wrigley and Jakeb Shine.

While the coaching group was disappointed at the result, we were also buoyed at some positive signs including the recapture to form of Calvin Thorne (18 disposals), the return to the side of Henrico Madhi and Mitch Lewis for their fist games of the year. As well as debutants Jarlath Duke and Rakeen Pickett.

A primary duty of the senior development side is to provide a platform for the club’s younger players to hone their craft and earn promotion to the league side and we congratulate league debutant Alex Cohen as well as Brad McGowan, and Keegan Power for their return to WAFL league football.

The players and coaches will review the game strongly and continue to focus on building the skills and conditioning of the playing list as we head into West Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium for Round 10 action.

Hope to see you all there!

Shannon Cole - Assistant Coach/Senior Development

Round 9 - Q & A with Colts Coach Brad Dodd

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 10:36 PM
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The  Ocean Hill Estate Peel Thunder Colts were back in action last Saturday, taking on the Claremont Tigers at Claremont Oval. After the game we spoke with Head Coach, Brad Dodd.
 
Another debutant this week, tell us about Brendan Cooke?
BD: Cookie is another 17 year old who plays Ruck/Forward. As a coaching group we really had one eye on next season with Brendan, but we wanted him to be apart of the program so we could monitor his progress. He’s really come on in leaps and bounds- had a strong start to the season for his local team and in the end he needed to be rewarded. 
 
The second meeting in 4 games between these 2 teams, a big win last time, does the group take any confidence from that? 
BD: You’d think so but we were wary of the response. Claremont are always effected heavily by PSA Football so we knew the team running out would be quite different to the one we played earlier. Opportunity can breed enthusiasm and they’ve made the last 5 Grand Finals, so we weren’t taking them lightly. 
 
Slippery conditions in the 1st, the radar was off in front of goal, kicking 2.5 to take 10 point lead not Quarter time. How’d you see the Quarter?
BD: Claremont were well on top around the ball early but we managed to wrestled back control and get the scoreboard ticking over. We had 37 tackles for the quarter and won contested ball. So the intent was there. We just needed to use the ball a bit better- a little bit of over-use was going on. 
 
The Thunder kicked 2 early goals in the 2nd to open up a 22 point lead before Claremont came surging back into the contest to trail by 4 points at the main break. What happened?
BD: Claremont stuck at it and from our perspective, we felt we had a drop off with our defensive intensity. We felt that we were dropping off early and conceding easy lead ups, which put the Backs under pressure. When the ball is in your area down back you need to be in the game 100% of the time- some of our defenders switched off at times and we were made to pay.  
 
Claremont hit the lead after kicking the first goal of the 3rd quarter, before the Thunder responded to open up an 18 point lead at the last break. Where were you getting on top?
BD: Firstly, our Backs got their starting positions and defensive actions right. We got a strong response from our Midfield- who looked dangerous when we got it out into space. Down forward, we started to work for each other and get the ball into some one on ones. We probably didn’t get full value for our effort- our ball Inside 50 could’ve been more clinical at times. 
 
A strong last Quarter, kicking 5 goals to run out 36 point victors. How’d you see the last?
BD: We were pretty efficient going forward, having 8 scoring shots from 8 Inside 50’s. We played some really unselfish football- taking the easiest option when we weren’t quite doing that earlier. We ran really hard to space and created some overlap due to a strong work ethic. 
 
Overall, a pretty solid win. What were you pleased with the most and anything to work on?
BD: We were happy that we created enough scoring opportunities from our Forward entries to kick a score. Our ability to win the ball and get out into space was excellent- it’s been a focus over the last month and we’re starting to see some positive signs. Happy that we only conceded 7 goals but we still have some work to do individually, and as a team, with our defensive actions, starting positions and structures. Still some work to do on our goalkicking, which has dropped away the last 2 weeks. 
 
Who were the better performers on the day?
BD: Pretty even across the group but had a few of our younger guys step up. We thought Cam Gavin was excellent in the Midfield. Cam is one of our promising 17 year olds, who has played 7 games this season. We see him as leading our Midfield next year. We’ve used him off the bench all season and he’s been improving each week and impacting more. LJ Hewitt, in his 2nd game, used the ball well, kicking a goal and having 3 score assists off his wing. Jack Sears continued his excellent year, providing a strong presence and kicking 3 goals up forward. Our leaders in Lachlan Riley, Jake Howes, Bradley Oldfield and Tyson Powell had a strong influence on the match while Bailey Taylor and Jye Kimpton were solid down back. 
 
Back at Bendigo Bank Stadium this week to take on West Perth. How have they been travelling?
BD: We’re yet to play West Perth but they’ve had a positive start to the year and sit just outside the Top 5. The challenge for our group is to consistently perform and improve each week. We still feel there are a few areas we need to be better at and West Perth will represent another great challenge.  

Round 9 - League match report - Peel v Claremont

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 9:28 PM

Peel Thunder have ended a two-game losing streak with an 11-point victory over the Claremont Tigers, at Claremont Oval on Saturday.

Peel’s fast start was matched by a third quarter surge from the Tigers but the Thunder held on to win 7.4. (54) to 10. 5. (65).   

Keegan Power, who played his first league game in two years said the pressure was very different coming from reserves.

“The game is much quicker… but it’s just good to be back and playing,” he said.

“Today we just stayed in the hunt, obviously after they came back a little and in that fourth quarter we stood up.”

Peel Thunder were able to hit the scoreboard early and maintained their pressure and consistency in front of goal in the second term, going into the half time break leading by 18 points.

Claremont fought back in the third, but Peel were able to hold them off going into three quarter time with a four-point lead.

Power said coach Cam Shepherd had a lot to say at the end of the third quarter, when the game was within four points.

“Cam told us to stand up, obviously the season is on the line, and it was good that the boy’s listened and we got away with the win,” Power said.

The Thunder asserted their dominance in the fourth quarter, kicking three majors to seal the win.

Debutant Alex Cohen had an inspiring league debut collecting eight possessions and kicking two goals.

Ben Howlett was also one of the best on ground collecting 20 possessions and laying 17 tackles.

Next week Peel Thunder take on West Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Saturday, June 9, at 2.15pm.

Written by: Ysabella Salisbury

Photo:  Rachael Clifford

 

Solid representation from Peel Thunder in the WA State Academy

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 7:44 PM

The Peel Thunder Football Development squads were well represented at the 2018 Under 16 and Under 18 W.A. State Academy jumper presentation on Tuesday night at Claremont Oval.

8 Peel Thunder players were selected in the Under 16s State Academy, with another 5 boys being selected in the State Under 18s Academy. We caught up with Peel Thunder Talent Manager John Deitz to get the latest update on the programs.

A huge result with 13 players selected in the state academy squads- how has the process worked for selection?

The Under 16s boys played their carnival over the WAFL pre-season and first 3 rounds of fixtures. A number of selectors were at all of our games and viewed all 9 clubs first hand. There was really strong communication and feedback from the selectors about our players, where they saw them fitting and full credit to our coaching group for giving all the boys in the mix an opportunity to be showcased in those positions, whilst also providing opportunity for the other players in the squad to play and show their talent which is always a difficult juggling act, but one that was done pretty well. There was a talent game in mid April which was selected from the carnival, and a squad selected from that

For the 18s the selectors obviously have a bit more history on the players in the main, but again form over the first few rounds in the colts competition was critical. Again we tried to give all the boys in the mix every opportunity to push their case, and the squad was finalised on Tuesday morning which has been a bit later than previous years as the spread of talent across the competition is fairly even this year on what we have seen so far.

Now the boys have been selected how do the programs look and when are the respective carnivals on?

The respective squads have been training for 3 weeks now at a number of venues in Perth. The 16s boys are training Tuesday and Thursday nights under the guidance of Tony Micale and his team of coaches including our Year 9 coach from 2017, Mick Glassborow. Their squad is currently at 46 but over the next few weeks they have trial games to see the boys under pressure and in positions they feel they can play at state level, before they finalise a squad that will travel to Adelaide to play South Australia on the 24th of June. The squad then goes to Queensland to play 2 games against Vic Country and Vic Metro at Metricon Stadium and the Gabba.

The 18s are training 3 nights a week at the moment. They had their final trial match last Friday against the State Country side which was a great hit out for them, and their first carnival game is on the 3rd of June v South Australia. Over the next month they will play the Vic Country and Vic Metro sides and the Allies which comprises players from the Northern States Academies (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, GWS), NT and Tasmania. It’s a massive opportunity for the boys involved to work under the likes of Peter Sumich, Glen Jakovich, Ash McGrath and our colts coach from last year Craig Otto who has taken on the midfield role in the Under 18s state academy this year.

Can you tell us a bit about the players selected in the Under 16s squad?

It’s a pretty good spread of types of players- David Yaccob (Pinjarra FC), is a hard working left footer who played across half back, inside mid and on the wing for us in the carnival. Hes generally pretty neat with his disposal and works really hard both ways as a winger. Connor Avery (Secret Harbour FC) is really strong at the contest and can win plenty of the ball as a midfielder. Hes also shown he can drift forward and kick a goal. Connor hasn’t played a lot of footy so it’s a great result for him to be selected. Isiah Winder (Eaton FC) played for us as an inside mid/half forward and is a real bull around the stoppages and has shown he can hit the scoreboard when he goes forward. Tyrell Metcalf (Mandurah Mustangs) had a really impressive carnival as a half forward. He is a talented kid who is lightly framed but has some tricks up forward. Roy George (Eaton FC) is another highly talented player who can play a number of roles through the midfield or across half back. He is really athletic and loves to run and carry. Calvin Stone (South Mandurah) is a developing key defender who had a really strong carnival. Hes had limited exposure to development footy so is still finding his way but has long arms and good closing speed which will hold him in good stead. Zac Trigwell (Donnybrook FC) is a medium forward with strong hands and a nice set shot. Zac missed a lot of the carnival with injury but came in and had huge impact kicking 5 goals in his first game back and caught the eye with the way he goes about it. And Kyle White (Waroona) is a developing ruckman who unfortunately suffered a significant knee injury in the first game but has really good scope to develop as he is competitive and really cracks in at the bounces and around the ground. Kyle is also in our colts squad so we see him as a likely prospect down the track.

And the 18s boys?

Another really promising group with Jarrad Fazioli (Eaton FC) a small forward/midfielder who has started to hit some good form over the last few weeks. Faz is only small but has good speed and shows he can hit the scoreboard when he plays forward. He has played higher up the ground this year and was really good against Perth with 22 disposals as an inside mid. Tyson Powell (Rockingham) is a 187cm utility who has been playing more through the midfield this year after playing mainly as a forward last year. He hits the ball hard and has good hands and is a pretty reliable user of the ball around the ground. Bradley Oldfield (South Mandurah) is a real competitor who has moved into the midfield and been pretty consistent this year. Brad has a real appetite for hard work and the contested ball. He has drifted forward to kick 6 goals this year which is a new element to his game and been really important for us. Jason Carter has come to us this year from Claremont and the Fremantle NGA and is a real exciting talent who plays across half back/wing and loves to run and take the game on, while James Sturrock (Baldivis) was rewarded for a really consistent start to the year with selection in the squad on Tuesday. James is a gut runner who has played mainly on a wing but the last month has played more inside and has won plenty of the ball. It is his first time in a state program so it’s a great achievement and opportunity for James.

A great result with so many boys in but are there any hard luck stories?

In any selection process there will be boys who are disappointed so no doubt a few of our boys feel a bit unlucky. The message for them is to keep working hard and just keep performing strongly over the course of the season. In terms of injuries Durak Tucker would have been a key player as a defender in the 18s squad this year but unfortunately did his ACL after round 1 so that was really disappointing for him personally, as well as our whole group as he is a great kid to have around. The way Durak has thrown himself into his rehab has been absolutely first class and a real example of resilience and professionalism for the other boys in the squad after suffering a major setback in a year he had set his whole junior footy career on.

Well done- what do the next few weeks have in store for the development programs at Peel Thunder?

It’s a big few weeks for our colts boys coming up, it’s a great time of the year with the state boys away to expose a few of our younger players to the level. Doddy and his coaching group have a really strong development focus with their approach and are doing a great job in educating the boys how we want to play. We started the year a little bit slowly but the competition is really even so theres not a lot of margin for error every week.

The 16s boys will start their preparation for Melbourne on the 11th of June. They head over to Melbourne on the 5th of July so we all look forward to that trip.

Our Under 14s and 15s will have their trial days in early July so keep an eye out for those dates over the next couple of weeks through the junior clubs, while the South West academy for our colts boys will launch on the 31st of May at Leschenault which we all have been looking forward to getting underway.

Thanks for your time and all the best to the development squads over the coming weeks.

 

John Deitz - Talent Manager

 

Round 8 - Q & A with Sen. Dev. Coach Daniel Haines

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 7:23 PM

Q: How would you sum up the team’s performance in tough conditions?

A:  I thought we started the game with real intent and hit the scoreboard in the first quarter.  Our ball use was a lot better but we didn't take full advantage with the amount of inside  50's we had. It was a real arm wrestle in the second quarter with East Fremantle taking a few more opportunities with the breeze.

Q:  With the breeze in the third quarter the team found it hard to score, what was the reason for this?

A:  We did kick to the extra numbers for East Fremantle a lot in the third and didn't play smart footy.   We wasted a lot of entries forward.   As long as the  team has taken some lessons from the game and look to improve our ball movement, we will be able to keep scoreboard pressure on the opposition.

Q:  The senior development competition is very close this year.

A:   I  believe we can bounce  back against Claremont this week with strong, hard and desperate footy.

Q:  Better players?

A:  Jakeb Shine and Brett Millward were terrific all day in defense, Brad McGowan was lively forward with two goals and 7 tackles, Lloyd Meek had 42 hit outs in the ruck and seems to be getting better each week ,Ah-chee, Kirby and Wrigley were hard at the contest all day. 

This week we are at Claremont Oval, 11.30am.

 

Daniel Haines

 

Round 8 - Q & A with League Coach Cam Shepherd

Monday, May 28, 2018 - 10:52 AM
 
 
Q : A disappointing result, what went wrong?
 
A : We always knew that East Fremantle at EF Oval was going to be a tough game.  The game was close all day.   Unfortunately when the chips were down EF leaders like Hampson and Marsh stood tall and impacted the game. We missed some critical chances to put scoreboard pressure on EF especially early in the last quarter but failed to complete.
 
Q : Despite the loss there were some good individual performances?
 
A : Yes thats right. Pleasing efforts from Howlett, Apeness, Giro, Bell and Harley Bennell give us some hope going forward, however to win games of footy we need at least 15/16 players winninhg their position, and thats what we will be looking to do going forward.
 
Q : Can the team rebound and get back on track?
 
A : That is what we will be working to. We have been such a wonderful and competitive team over the last three years .  It is tough to go through a drought but hopefully it makes us stronger.  We have enjoyed great success, now to realise that we dont have Deboer, Mzungu, Silvagni, Collins, Taberner, Griffin, Dawson, Ibbotson, Bootsma and OBrien to fall back on. It's up to others to stand tall.  A great challenge.
 
Q : Thanks for that, any other messages for our members?
 
A : Yes, the members need to know that we are working hard and are united in our efforts to improve. I know our members have ridden a real rollercoaster over the 20 odd years of our existence and we aim to be climbing the ladder again as soon as possible.  However what is exciting is that there is great opportunity for young players in our district to play at the highest level in the WAFL.
 
Cam Shepherd
 
Image: Lennon Matthews-Rowell

Round 8 - League match report Thunder v Sharks

Monday, May 28, 2018 - 9:40 AM

 

 

 

An inaccurate Peel Thunder suffered a 24 point loss to East Fremantle at ATOM Stadium on Saturday.

The Thunder were kept goalless in the last term while the Sharks pushed away, finishing 8.13 (61) to 4.13 (37).

Peel’s Haydn Matthews said the teams scrappy play resulted in a lack of dominance on the field.  “We tried to work our game around that contested ball… but we weren’t able to hold it through the four quarters,” he said.

The Thunder had a slow start in their first term scoring five points, as East Fremantle’s strong defence overshadowed Peel’s resilient effort.

Matthews conceded that tough weather conditions made it hard for both teams to get their hands on the ball with 13 behinds each.  “Yes, the conditions were tough and that had an impact, but we could have been better in that area definitely,” he said.

Peel’s second term brought a flurry of frustration as the Thunder’s inaccurate shooting led to one goal and four points.

Ben Howlett had a strong game with 35 disposals and six tackles.

Matthews said his presence in the team plays an important role.  “He plays really well and it’s [important] especially for myself to look up to someone with a strong contested ball and clearance,” he said.

The Thunders effort and pressure didn’t halt in the third quarter kicking three goals and a point, closing the deficit between the Sharks to three goals.  The Thunder were unable to reduce the deficit in the final term only managing three points.

Harley Bennell’s class was shown on field with more game time this week, scoring a goal and two points.

Matthews said Bennell is showing positive signs on return.  “Harley’s playing really well… slowly building up his tank and his load of running from his injuries… [it] will be interesting to look how he goes,” he said.

Apeness, Lawler and North also showed their efforts adding a goal each to the score board.  Fremantle’s Stefan Giro led Peel’s disposal count with 34 possessions.  

Haydn Matthews said Giro’s fast return from his pre-season injury has brought a strong presence to the forward line.  “Giro’s made a strong return, he gets a lot of the ball and can use it inside and outside,” he said.

Peel Thunder take on the Claremont Tigers at Claremont Oval next Saturday June 2nd at 2.15pm.

Written by:  Rachel Clifford

Image:        Lennon Matthews-Rowell

Round 8 - Q & A with Colts Coach Brad Dodd

Monday, May 28, 2018 - 9:17 AM
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Ocean Hill Estate Peel Thunder Colts were back in action last Saturday, taking on East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval. After the game, we spoke with Head Coach, Brad Dodd.
 
The State 18’s finalised their squad for the upcoming State carnival this week, with another Thunder player added. 
 
BD: James Sturrock was added to the squad, taking our Peel representatives to 5. It’s great reward for James, who wasn’t a part of the talent day earlier in the year. James had a great pre-season and has started off the year really well. In the end, his form was too good to ignore. 
 
2 more debutants this week, tell us about Jackson Knight and Jacob Hewitt?
 
BD: Jackson is a 17 year old who predominately plays Forward but we see him as being able to push into the Midfield when he gets a little stronger and increases his tank. He has a knack for kicking goals and was in the mix for an early season game but he kept getting injured. Jacob, or LJ as he’s commonly known, is a rangey type, plays mainly Forward but we’ll use him through the Wing and Half Back as well. He’s a really popular member of the group, he was challenged to improve his training habits early in the year and he did that. He uses the ball well and has good natural instinct. 
 
First Quarters have been an issue so far this season, but you managed to open up an 11 point lead at Quarter time against the Sharks. 
 
BD: A little misleading!  We were kicking with a 3-4 goal breeze. East Fremantle opened up the scoring through a really poor stoppage set up in defensive 50, which was really disappointing considering how important goals into the breeze would be. Be we managed to settle and managed to open up a little break with Deon Welhan kicking 2 opportunistic goals for the quarter. 
 
Conditions were really tough, with driving rain at times to go with a strong breeze. The first time with these types of conditions this year- what is the instruction to the group?
 
BD: It's a fundamental type of game. Being clean, flat hands in the marking contest, keeping the ball in front, forward momentum, tackle pressure. But we try and still encourage aggressive ball movement. Back your skills in. You learn a lot about players in these conditions- do they still run? How do they go in traffic? Can they be disciplined for the 4 quarters?
 
Kicking into the breeze, the Thunder held out well but the Sharks kicked a late goal to tie the game up at the break. What was the mood of the group at half time?
 
BD: We were a little frustrated about the late goal but we quickly debriefed the 2nd quarter before moving onto what we needed to reinforce, or change, heading into the 3rd quarter. We felt we played a little close to the boundary line in the 1st quarter and we looked more likely to score if we broke up the play short. We encouraged more aggressive ball movement. 
 
A frustrating 3rd Quarter with inaccuracy in front of goals meaning the Thunder only took a 3 point lead into the last. How did you see the 3rd Quarter?
 
BD: We created the chances but couldn’t convert, kicking 1.5 and a few out on the full. A few rushed snaps when we had time to steady and some missed set shots. We’ve worked really hard on our goal kicking, coming into the game we had been operating at nearly 70% over the last 3 games, but those missed opportunities left us with a big mountain to climb in the last. 
 
 
 
Kicking into a strong breeze, with only a slender lead, what was the message at the last huddle?
 
BD: We were quite clear in what we needed to do in the last Quarter. We changed our Forward and Midfield structure. We reinforced that goals had been kicked into the breeze in each Quarter. That we needed to play with a Soccer Goal mentality. To run and carry the ball if the ground opened up. 
 
A great last Quarter, with the Thunder holding the Sharks goal-less to run out 20 point winners. What stood out in the last?
 
BD: There was a steely resolve there. It was a real arm wrestle for the first half of the quarter before we kicked 2 quick goals to create a buffer. Really pleased that defensively we were difficult to score against, for the 2nd week we’ve conceded just 1 goal in the 2nd half. We’re really starting to play some strong, consistent defensive football. 
 
Who were the better performers on the day?
 
BD: A really even performance over the group. James Sturrock had an excellent first half, finding plenty of the ball and was really clean around the stoppages, Jake Howes continued his rich vein of form, doing plenty of heavy lifting through the Midfield.  Lachlan Riley was solid for most of the day but really gave us some drive in the last. Up forward, Jack Sears continues to move his game forward, in tough conditions he took 6 marks and provided a strong target. Clifton Stack, Deon Welhan and Tyrone Thorne were all busy- having 10 shots at goal between them. Down back, Lee Chapman continues to improve, Jye Kimpton was excellent while Jarvis Pina gave us some strong run from behind. 
 
Away to Claremont next Round, another big challenge. 
 
BD: On the road again which gives us a chance to once again show we can perform away from home. The Tigers are always strong and will be looking to bounce back after we beat them a few weeks ago. Should be a great challenge for our guys. 

Round 7 - Q & A with Colts Coach Brad Dodd

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 9:49 AM

The Ocean Hill Estate Peel Thunder Colts were back in action last Saturday, taking on Subiaco at Bendigo Bank Stadium. After the game, we spoke with Head Coach, Brad Dodd.

A solid performance against Claremont last game before the State bye, what did the team get up to over the break?

BD: We didn’t deviate too much from our normal format. We got our South West guys up twice during the bye week, which is great for the group as we usually only see them on a Monday. Our State representatives are now gone for 2 months and Bradley Oldfield got added to the squad after the Claremont game, which is exciting for him and us as a program.

Is having the State players away something you prepare for?

BD: As a program, we have. I guess you have an idea of players in the mix and we’re always pushing up our guys to the selectors but because there’s such an even spread of talent across the competition you’re never 100% certain. We made sure we invested heavily in our 17 year olds early so that they’re not all coming in now and are expected to pick up the tempo straight away. We’re happy with the 4 selected, and Durak Tucker would’ve made it 5 if he wasn’t injured, but we feel a few that have missed are a little unlucky. There’s still a chance some may get added.

Speaking of 17 year olds, another debutant this week in Deon Welhan. Tell us a little about him?

BD: Deon is a player who can play Inside Mid, Wing and Forward. He was apart of the State 16’s program last year. He’s a good mark for his size and plays with real energy when the ball is in his area. He’s had to work pretty hard to get a look in and he still has plenty of improvement left in him but we think he can have a bright future if he continues to improve.

Round 7 and Subiaco, who have started the season strongly but are coming off a last game loss against West Perth, their first for the season. Is that something that’s mentioned in the lead up?

BD:  Not really. Subiaco have had a strong start to the season, but it’s still quite early and teams are still finding their way at this level. We played them in a trial game, and while the sides were different, they certainly challenged us and had control of the game for long stretches. So we knew we’d need to be at our best to match them.

Subiaco got the early ascendancy in the 1st Quarter, opening up a handy 22 point lead at the break- where was the damage being done?

BD: There were a few areas of concern from the coaching box but primarily, Subiaco were out hunting us in the contest. They smashed us in contested ball and tackle count. We made some sloppy mistakes with the ball down back that cost us shots at goal. We had 8 Handball Receives for the quarter, so we weren’t running. All our major KPIs were red. The message at the break was simple,  we were being outworked and unless we addressed it, it was going to be a long day.

A positive start to the 2nd quarter, narrowing the margin to 10 points before Subiaco once again kicked away, leading by 29 points at half time. How did you see the 2nd Quarter and what was the message at half time?

BD: Defensively, we were still giving up easy goals through simple errors, sloppy free kicks or lost 1 on 1’s. Something as a group we pride ourselves on. All other areas that were out of whack in the 1st quarter evened out but Subiaco had 13 scores from 18 Inside 50s. The message was fairly blunt at half time but the game wasn’t out of reach and we really needed a stronger effort defensively, not just from the Backs, but across the whole ground.

A strong response in the 3rd, kicking 5 goals to 1 to close the margin to 7 points. How did you see the 3rd quarter?

BD: We had  stronger intent at the ball, and man, right from the first bounce. You could tell we were trying to be bolder with our ball movement. We’d had 13 Handball Receives to half time but had 17 in the 3rd quarter. That meant we moved the ball Inside 50 quicker and it gave our forwards a chance. Subiaco were still scoring a high percentage of times they went Inside 50 but we put them under more pressure when they had their shots- either by forcing them wider or putting pressure on the ball carrier when shooting on the run.

With the game in the balance, kicking into a slight breeze, what was the message?

BD: That we needed to continue to be bold with the ball. We reinforced with our Forwards that they needed to get the ball to ground, even if outnumbered. That our Backs win their 1 on 1s. That we continue to fight hard for each contest and move onto the next. We made some slight changes to our Midfield structure but we generally backed in our guys to fight their way through.

A cliffhanger, with a Subiaco shot after the siren (from 60m) falling short and a great come from behind 4 point win. What were you most pleased with?

BD: I was really happy for the group that we finally got over the line in a close game. Over the last 2 years there’s been about 10 games decided by less than a kick and i think we’ve won 1 or 2. We’ve been doing a lot of 2 minute scenarios and to see the players execute under pressure was really pleasing. It wasn’t perfect- and we spoke about things we could’ve done better after the game. Also happy that we were able to respond after half time- to be able to change the course of the game, as a team and as individuals, is something our guys are still learning- what works, what doesn’t- not accepting what is happening.

Who were the better performers on the day?

BD: We thought Jake Howes, Lachlan Riley and Andrew Butler were strong 4 quarter performers all day and lifted in the 2nd half. We moved Lachie into the middle at half time and he gave us a different look and some real drive. Jake really lead from the front and is continuing to get better each game. Andrew is having a great season. He’s become a really important player for us with his attack on the ball and strong work ethic. Up forward, we got great contributions from Lachlan Cullen, Jack Sears and Jaxon Egan. Lachie kicked 3 goals and had 6 tackles- often competing against defenders dropping into his space but continually bringing it to ground. Jack has been excellent for us and is regularly hitting the scoreboard now- he’s already found a consistent level. Jaxon had been quiet in his first 2 games but as I mentioned earlier, it’s takes a few games for the young guys to pick up the tempo and he should get a lot of confidence from his 2 goals and 5 Inside 50s.

Away to East Fremantle next Round, another big challenge. You’re yet to win on the road.

BD: Part of our groups development is learning how to prepare and play well away from Mandurah. Some have to travel 1.5 hours to get there, having to get up at 5am. Every away game gives them a chance to work on their routine and preparation, which is all apart of the learning process. Plus another great test against last years Premiers.