Justin what were your thoughts on the game and the season?
I think we played a team that’s got a really strong, embedded system and I thought we competed really hard but their system got on top of us a few times in the second quarter, where we just couldn’t get our hands on the footy and couldn’t pressure them, which lead to three or four goals in pretty quick succession. Their ability to use their hands to get on the outside of us, we just didn’t handle that part of the game. They showed on the scoreboard, they were a bit more efficient going inside 50 and that was on the back of some faster type play. It’s disappointing. There’s been too many games this year, we touched on it after the game, where we’ve been in it at three-quarter time and given ourselves a chance and we just haven’t got it done. As far as reflecting on the season, we’ve made some inroads. I think we’ve grown as the season’s gone on. As a group and as a club, we’re not where we want to be. We’ve got a long way to go on the journey.
You’re outside the bottom six (in the ladder) for the first time in a few years. Is that a significant step, to make that jump or are you not satisfied with that?
No, we’re not satisfied with where we’re at. We can’t be a club that accepts where we are on the ladder. Really, we don’t – I won’t - review the ladder position as an area of growth. I think it’s more, we’ve got to drill down a little bit further than that, look at our game, look at our players and see where each and every individual can grow. That’s including me, where can I get better as a coach? How can I help our players to get better as a leader of the footy club? We’ve got to really drill down on individuals, our system and try to get better in many aspects.
Do you believe having a full season under a new system and understanding the game plan will have you better prepared for next year?
Naturally the more time you spend with the players, the more time you have to embed our system, for the players to learn it and embed their roles and work on aspects that allows them to execute their role better. Naturally, the more time you spend, hopefully, it improves but we can’t be a group that just expects improvement because we’re spending time together, either. Improvement’s not going to come without hard work, dedication and being a group that helps each other and guides each other through all situations that are in front of us. We can’t sit back and wait and hope for natural progression from spending time together. We’ve got to demand more of each other, demand more of ourselves, search for improvement areas and drive ourselves to get better.
Do you think there could be a spike next year?
Time will tell. We'll let the dust settle on this season. Review this season. Send our players off on a well-earned break, it's been a long, draining year mentally and physically for our players so they deserve a break. Once they go away we will review it as a coaching group and look for areas to get better at and then put in the hard work over summer. We'll just take it one step at a time and next year will sort itself out, but we'll need to put the work in first.
What do you need to bring in to get better?
It's probably not the right time to be talking about drafts and trade and that sort of thing. We need a fit list, that'll be the start. We need as many players as we can to have a full pre-season, once the dust settles we'll sit down and talk about additions to the list and how we'll need to attack the draft and these sorts of things but it's probably not right to be talking about it now.
Do you think you'll be active in the trade period or will you go back to the draft?
I think with our list profile, hitting the draft is the right way to go about it but as a club we'll continue to look at all avenues to improve ourselves. We want to add to the younger core of our group, whichever way possible. All club's will be the same, to explore all options, but we want to keep growing our younger core nucleus.
How many more changes do you need to make to your list?
I'm not going to sit here and put a number on it. At the end of every year there's list changes, there's staff changes, but we'll just let the dust settle on the season, get back to Perth, let everyone see the families and unite with loved ones and then we will do that (list management) down the track.
Are you confident both Jesse Hogan and David Mundy will be at Freo next year?
Yes, Jesse is contracted for next year and Dave, we want him to go around again, so we just need to work through that negotiation and make sure both parties are really happy with where it settles. I think he's proven this year he's got some good footy in him still and I've spoken alot about what he brings off the field being just as important so we'd like to keep him around.
How tough has this COVID year been as a first year coach?
It's thrown up some different scenarios that I probably didn't prepare for going into the job but I feel like as a footy club we've navigated it pretty well and our playing group has embraced every challenge. There's plenty that we got right this year and there's plenty that we got wrong so we just need to make sure we review the season, dig down to some improvement areas and take the lessons I suppose out of what has been a pretty dramatic year.