What pleased you the most today Justin?
The contribution from all 22. We reviewed it last week, we had too many passengers and we were after 22 committed guys to their role and the contest and I thought we got that. That’s what pleased me most.
Are you becoming a more even team this year?
I think so and that comes with giving players opportunity. Clearly we have played a younger midfield at times but we are giving opportunity to players all over the ground and we feel like those players are ready for their opportunity and we are bringing them in at the right time. They’re standing up and tonight was a really high pressure game and I thought we had a real even contribution from everyone.
Caleb Serong had another good performance, how is developing at a rapid rate?
He’s not your typical first year player. His attitude, his want to compete, his body size, his strength, he’s really mixed it with our mids from day one that he’s been at the club. We’ve given him a couple of roles the last couple of weeks playing on those really good inside players, and he’s been able to not only get the job done but he’s been able to get the upper hand on both those roles. I’m just really proud of him. He’s a young kid with a great attitude and a good skillset for AFL footy and he’s only grow on what he’s done tonight. I think the last two weeks shows he has got a lot of talent and AFL qualities and he’s only going to get better.
How proud are you when you look at the contested possession numbers (151 – 115)?
I thought we didn’t have any passengers in the contest tonight. I thought some players that have been down in that area really put their hand up and the other thing that was pleasing was not only our commitment to the contest, but our method was good. Last week we lost all structure and at times we had eight guys within five metres of the footy and that’s not the way we want to play. We want to play with method. We played with better desire and commitment to the contest, so it was really pleasing.
How did you assess Connor Blakely’s performance and is in the side for a bit now?
Absolutely he’s there for a bit. He’s had a point to prove for the last ten weeks to be honest. I said to him during the week that he’s a better footballer now than what he was eight weeks ago without having played AFL football and that was because of his attitude. His attitude to training with real purpose, his commitment to the contest, his commitment to his teammates and that prepared him for his opportunity and tonight he took it. Clearly he’s got some work to do in certain areas of his game but I loved his attitude, I loved his commitment to his role.
Nat Fyfe up forward a tonight, is that what we will see when your younger midfielders are getting it done?
Absolutely. He wants to play forward. We want him to play forward. We’ll continue to work on the balance of his forward and midfield time. The thing about Nathan when he goes forward is that he draws a good defender. He makes that defender play on him which helps all the other forwards around him and he gives a really strong contest like he does in the midfield. So we will continue to tinker with that but I liked the balance tonight.
Matt Taberner is quietly putting together a good season, a goal in every game so far.
He’s fantastic. He finished off under real pressure in that last quarter, that first goal he kicked was one we needed to settle the ship a little bit and give us a bit of a buffer. He just competes, he works his backside off on the field but that’s just a reflection of the work he does off the field. He probably puts the most work into his game of anyone on our list, he’s just a work horse and he’s bearing the fruit of that.
To get a scalp like Collingwood, how significant is that for a young and injury-hit team?
It’s a good win. Collingwood have got some injuries at the moment and are probably missing three or four of their best players. It’s great to win but it’s probably just more of a reflection and understanding for our boys that if we have 22 committed players to their roles and the contest, we can mix it with any team. It’s not so much the opponent tonight, it’s more the brand we played and the commitment to each other.
Thoughts on David Mundy’s performance?
I thought he was probably one of our best players last week, given the conditions he was so clean. He’s really important to us, he probably plays less game time than the other mids but the leadership he brings to a young midfield is priceless. Tonight, he found a lot of the footy and used it so well, he’s just a calm head for us out there. I know a lot of our young mids learn a lot off him during the week and he’s just a calm head when the opposition get on top so he’s super important.
Were you fairly happy with the start tonight even though you were scoreless?
Yes absolutely. Clearly they’re a fast starting side and we even saw that last week in their loss that they get off to quick starts, so we wanted to take any speed out of the game that we could and build our way into the game. I was frustrated in the first quarter because I felt like we created enough opportunities to be able to be in front or be closer to them, but I was rapt with the way we applied our self to the contest in defence and hung in there.
Did you exchange any words with Nathan Buckley after the game?
I just said good luck for the rest of the year. They’re doing it a little bit tough at the moment with injuries, I know they’ll bounce back, they’re a good footy team.
What’s Luke Ryan done in the last month to elevate his game to the level where it is now?
To be honest I don’t know whether it’s just the last month. He’s been a pretty good player for a number of years at this club. I think his commitment to his professionalism and his want to improve his football during the week has put him in good positions to execute on gameday. I feel like Luke is our most passionate footballer, he cares about his teammates on the field and his want to compete at every contest is a great example for all of our younger backs and all of our younger players. He’s going really well at the moment and I couldn’t be prouder of the way he goes about his footy.
Is he in the frame for All Australian?
I think so. I think he’s been our most consistent player, you just have to look at who he’s played on and who he’s competed against to get the enormity of the way he’s gone about his footy this year. He’s been out of his weight division a lot and he’s just competed through his positioning and his competitiveness, he’s going really well.