Trent how would you assess the game?
Melbourne in that first quarter were really good, that breeze was really strong and we won the toss and kicked with it for a change, probably a tactical error, we should’ve gone into it though we could’ve been eight goals down as well if we had of played like we did. They were just first to the ball, cleaner, did everything right in that first quarter and I thought our second quarter was good, particularly with about nine minutes to go I thought we really wrestled some momentum back and got ourselves a chance at half time. The third quarter I thought we played well with 12 inside 50’s to two or something but probably just needed to score a bit more than what we did, and the last quarter was always going to be a battle into that breeze. We were hoping that our fitness would get us there, but we just couldn’t get the ball into space to run at any stage. Credit to Melbourne they were very good across all four quarters.
Is the season a waste after that?
Yes, a little bit. I just spoke to the group and said that AFLW is the fastest improving sport in the world and after the Adelaide game we plateaued, we were just at the same level and everyone else just kept getting better and if you do that you’re going to get overtaken quickly. Last year we thought we were the benchmark and this year, we were going pretty well without really stamping our authority and then just plateaued towards the end. We weren’t far away but just not good enough.
And do you now turn that around and take these losses?
It’s a really good lesson. Normally at the end of the season you get that feel of either you’re the premier or you’re not good enough, and last year for the first time ever, we didn’t get either feeling so you don’t get those great learnings out of it. We could’ve easily got beaten last year within those last finals, but we never got the opportunity, so for the group to be motivated internally it’s nice to have them get some feedback that they weren’t good enough. We talked about how we can prepare in the off season to make sure we come back as good as possible to have a crack again. We were the youngest team in the finals so that gives us really good scope to improve and we’re going to need to be up there and challenge the likes of Melbourne and the other teams within the finals.
You mentioned the coin toss, did you discuss going first with the wind or was it just a last-minute decision?
No, we definitely discussed during the week we said let’s see if we can change things around at the start and go with the breeze and it was a strong breeze today. It was unusual because it was going to the right of screen, normally it goes left so we definitely wanted to go to the right in case it could swing around as well. We’ve talked about the mindset with starting fast and different things so we definitely wanted to kick with the breeze, but the breeze doesn’t do much if you haven’t got the ball in your hands so that’s what happened in the first quarter.
How do you go into the third quarter when you know you have so much work to do?
It was pretty positive at half time because I thought we played pretty well in the last eight minutes of that second quarter. They were three goals at that point and they didn’t really score in the last eight minutes and we had a couple of opportunities ourselves. So we went in quite confident that we could come out well in the third quarter, which we did, but we just couldn’t capitalise, we kicked three goals but we probably needed to kick five to be a chance at that point.
Your defence was under so much pressure, how did you view their performance?
They did a really good job again. When the inside 50’s I think at half time it was 24 to six and we kept them to three goals and kept them to five goals for the game, which should be enough with the potency of our forward line. The backs stood up and it was different ones today, Matilda Sergeant really stood up down there and did some good work and young Sarah Verrier, the way she’s handled her first year, she’s going to be a very good player for us for a long time.
Was it a case of too few players standing up across the park?
I think so, particularly through the midfield. When you look at the starting mids for Melbourne, and all the finals sides, we’re probably just one player short through the midfield, so we will see if we can address that in the off season. Kiara Bowers puts the world on her shoulders and again her second half was just phenomenal, Hayley Miller’s doing some good work but we probably need a little bit of help in there. When you look at the Adelaide midfield of Marinoff and Hatchard and Phillips, and even the midfield today of Paxman, Hanks and Zanker – just that real quality all the way through the midfield. So it’s probably something we are going to have to address over the off season.