That must have been pleasing?
Absolutely. It was really important that we backed up our performance last week. I thought our contest work and pressure again was outstanding and we failed to capitalise on some golden opportunities in front of goal, but overall it was a good night.
We are seeing the emergence of Brayshaw and Cerra – what are your thoughts on them?
It’s reward for effort for those two and for a lot of our players who are in decent form. They’ve worked their backsides off to improve their game and they’re bearing the fruit of that. Their attitudes to put in all they’ve got to every session they do to get better and improve their game, tonight is a by-product of that. I think you’re starting to see Cerra’s composure and his ability to hit targets that others probably can’t hit and Andy’s just playing to his strengths with his in and under, inside outs. They’re both going really well so it’s just a product of the hard work they’re putting in.
They’re both around the 50-game mark, is that about the time young midfielders start to feel like they can take the game on?
Probably. It could even be a little bit later to be honest. We are starting to see some really good players in the comp starting to get up to 100 games before they take a hold of games. So they are still young in terms of age, but a lot of maturity in terms of the people they are, on the field but off the field as well. They both had good nights tonight.
Are you proud they were able to back up their attack on the ball from last week?
Twenty-two players committed to executing their roles. The contest is clearly a part of that but I feel like we are playing with good method which is giving us more opportunity to win the contest. We are executing in the contest which is fuelling our offence and helping us defend.
This method you speak of, did we get the best look at this season so far tonight in terms of how you want to play the game?
Probably. We probably over-possessed it a little bit to be honest. I think that was evident in the third quarter where we just went a bit handball happy, so we don’t want to be like that as much, but I thought the positioning off the ball allowed us to get through a lot with our ball movement. The final piece of the puzzle is to finish off that work. We were so close in the last quarter and when Lobby (Rory Lobb) missed a shot on goal, that final kick inside 50 deserted us so we’ve got a bit of work to do there. But for large parts of our game, we were in good order.
How have you seen the skills evolve?
I think we are using the ball pretty well but we don’t talk a lot about what to do with the ball, we talk a lot about providing good options for the ball carrier off the ball and I think we are doing that a lot better. So the ball carrier has got clear options he can go to. Tonight we tried to hold our forward structure a bit more which gave them something to go to under pressure, against Geelong we just lost our structure, so we’ve worked hard on that the last couple of weeks and it’s creating good options for us forward of the ball.
Does Rory Lobb need to change his goal kicking style with the run up?
I’ll have those conversations with him privately. He’s working really hard to limit how much he does stutter in front of goals. Unfortunately for him it’s coming back on game day, it’s not there during the week. Under pressure it comes back, so we’ve got a bit of work to do with it because it does force him to kick across his body. We’ll do some work on it, I know he is working hard on it. And hopefully he is seeing that hard work come to fruition on game day.
Would you consider getting someone in to help him?
It’s impossible in today’s climate to get someone from outside to come into our footy club. We’ve got people in the footy club that have worked with that issue before and had good results, so we’ll continue to work on it.
We know you’ve got a couple of high-profile defenders out for a while, what do you make of your back seven?
They’re going really well, supporting each other and working as a collective. I feel like as a team we’re defending reasonably well which is allowing our backs to support each other and get the job done. We are under sized, but they’ve been so good in the contest, Luke Ryan’s helping us set up behind the ball and everyone’s contributing to help us defend. They’re doing it as a collective and that’s what we’d be doing I we didn’t have any injuries as well, so I’m really proud of the way they’re going about it.
How bad is Travis Colyer’s hamstring injury?
It’s minor, but there’s something there so we’ll get it scanned and he’ll miss a couple of weeks.
What sort of option would you be looking at as a replacement for that type of player?
Michael Walters is due to come in so he might be a decent replacement.
Is Connor Blakely’s shoulder okay?
Yes, we’ll have to wait and see how it pulls up, but I just spoke to him in the rooms and he seems pretty comfortable with it. We’ve got a short turn around so it’s going to have to be okay.
Do you expect Jesse Hogan back?
We’ll have to wait and see. It’s been reported in the media and I said it, we’re going to look to try and play him back. He’s committed to playing back, we’re a bit undersized in our backline. He wants to do it he’s put his hand up to do it so how long that takes him to be able to upskill him to be able to play in our backline we’ll have to wait and see. He’s had some minutes in the reserves today and executed some stuff pretty well, so we’ll look at that.
What do you see in him that gives you confidence that he’ll thrive in that role?
Well first and foremost he wants to do it, so he’s committed to trying his hand at playing in our backline. His footy smarts are first class, he’s got a high footy IQ, he’s got some height which is a bonus and he’s just got a good ability to read the play. Given our situation with our backline and the players we’ve got out it’s worth giving it a crack.
Do you think it will be a long-term thing or just while the defenders are out?
I think it’s while the defenders are out at this stage. I still see him as a very valuable commodity for us up forward so it’s probably a short-term fix at this stage.
Is one opportunity enough to throw him in? How are you going to work out when to put him into the backline and go for it?
It’s going to be a little bit of a risk because we’re not going to get a lot of opportunity to play against another opposition in an 18-on18 format. We’ll have to be creative in the way we educate him, the way we give him opportunities to train as a back and at some stage we’re just going to have to throw him in.
Can you just explain what Mitch Crowden’s role was today and how happy are you with what he actually brought?
His role is pretty much a half forward. He’s been fantastic the last two weeks, he really gives us a strong contest forward of the ball, his tackle pressure and repeat efforts are fantastic, he’s just a desperate player at the moment. I also like the way he shows composure when he’s got the footy, it came unstuck a couple of times today but under pressure he’s able to find good options most of the time. I’m really happy for the way he’s going.
Did he have a role negating Sicily?
No, it just happened that way. Sicily likes to play on a small and then role off and help the talls and he happened to be on Mitch, it wasn’t a planned thing.