Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 4:07 PM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth premiership coach Bill Monaghan discusses the derby loss to East Perth in tough conditions ahead of a bye and a clash with an improved Perth this Saturday at HBF Arena.

QUESTION: The game against East Perth saw you dominate in almost every area bar the scoreboard, does that leave you quite frustrated?
ANSWER: It does but it just makes it hard to critique the game. We did a lot right and had a poor 10 or 15-minute patch in the third quarter that East Perth took their chances in. We had kicked 2.12 to half-time and we were 2.14 at one stage and whilst the conditions weren’t great there were probably three or four of those that were relatively easy shots. We are always disappointed when we lose but a lot of the processes were right and a lot of the effort was right so we can't be overly critical.

Q: You had so many players winning so much of the ball and a lot of those were your better ball users. Was it just a matter of those in front of goal not finishing off or was there a bit more to it?
A: I think the inside-50 count isn’t necessarily a great reflection. We had 27 in the last quarter and probably 20 of those weren’t of any quality and some of them were only one metre inside and then got knocked back out, and we would soccer it back in. We've worked hard over the last six or eight weeks to find more of the ball and our midfield has been doing a reasonably good job, and the way we've been setting up defensively means our half-backs have been finding a fair bit of it as well. We're trying to possess the ball a little more than we were earlier in the season. I would have thought that 71 inside 50s is an exaggeration of the difference between the two sides but 22 scoring shots on a day where before the rain came we had two quarters kicking into a significant breeze before the heavens opened. It wasn’t a day for scoring when the side that won only had 15 but our effectiveness in the forward 50 wasn’t good enough but if we kicked nine or 10 goals out of 22 shots then we win, and kick 11 or 12 and it's a good day at the office. It's hard to judge but East Perth defended well and they did well to hold us out in the end and that was from a combination of their good work and the conditions. 

Q: I assume Andrew Strijk will be right to play after the bye after being a late withdrawal which made it tough on Corey Chalmers who had already played a half in the reserves?
A: It was a strange one. Andrew ran out on the ground at half-time of the reserves and hobbled back in. We put him through a bit of a fitness test and there just wasn’t any point of trying to push him through given the way the weather was, and was predicted to be. We were fairly lucky that it happened when it did and it at least meant we could get Corey off after only a half in the reserves. It was tough for Corey and he has been struggling to find his best form in the seniors, and then to have to play a half in the reserves before coming out and playing in the seniors against a quality East Perth side. We still thought we did enough right in a lot of areas to cover the fact that Andrew didn’t play.

Q: Max Duffy has found some good form since coming back into the team over the last month or so, what have you made of his progression?
A: It's really hard to judge where Max is at. He does so many things that are good and productive not only for his own goal scoring but for the team, but then he does some things that you have to shake your head at and you don't know what he was thinking. But we knew that when we recruited Max that you have to take the good with the bad. I've spoken to him a couple of times the last couple of weeks about how he just needs to get his decision-making right, but there is still plenty of improvement in Max. He is doing a reasonably good job but like a lot of players he could do better. He understands that and is working hard, and hopefully he will continue some good form after the bye.

Q: It’s a much different finish to the year this time than last with two byes now in the last six rounds, are you comfortable with how you have planned for that?
A: You deal with the fixtures the way they come out. Last year it was eight straight games going into finals and this year it's a more broken up lot. Our S&C staff, in particular Craig Soley, has got a good handle on that and we are just training accordingly. We are fairly happy with the draw and the fact that we've got two byes in the last five weeks. We spent a lot of time complaining last year that we had eight straight games so we better not complain that we've got two byes. We'd like to have a couple of extra wins up than we are but 10-6 puts us in a reasonable spot.

Q: You haven't had much trouble against Perth in recent years but they do appear a vastly improved team?
A: They've been going really well and they've been playing with great passion and enthusiasm. Their midfield is as strong as anyone's going around as well. It's been a yearly thing for Perth to try and find a forward structure that kicks enough goals based around enough talls, but Spencer White is back now and Angus Graham is as well, and Sam Garstone has been standing up for them. Those talls make them significantly different to what they might have been previously against us. They are a fantastic story and Earl has them playing good footy. The players are certainly motivated to play their best footy against them after the bye though.