Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 8:15 PM by Matt Barnsley

WEST Perth's longest-serving coach Bill Monaghan talks about Saturday's win over Swan Districts, what is impressing him most with the last two wins and looking ahead to this Saturday against Perth at HBF Arena.

QUESTION: Must have been happy with that performance to beat the unbeaten Swans?
We did a lot right during the day, probably at times it felt like we should’ve been a lot further ahead. In the end we were pretty lucky, we did a lot wrong in the last two or three minutes, some things that we can really learn from. Sometimes you don’t really get the opportunity at training to practice those things in that sort of pressure cooker. We will take a lot away from the win. South Fremantle two weeks ago horrible, fantastic last week against Peel and we backed that up today against a side that was four and zip.

Q: How have you been able to get this turnaround the past two weeks after the loss to South Fremantle?

A: Tell them to don’t do it again. I say this partly tongue in cheek but it’s true. I can only control so much as a coach. Yeah, I do a bit of planning, look at the opposition come up with structures and team plays stuff like that. Ultimately, it’s what the players do when they take the field, and how they prepare themselves. I’ve told everyone last week after the South game I really took a back seat. We made several comments as coaches about what we expect and what’s an acceptable performance and clearly that wasn’t against South Fremantle. If it’s up to me change it, then we probably are really going to struggle. So the players took ownership of it, the players changed their attitude. South are a very good side, but we don’t think they’re 100 points better than us. But they’re still maybe better than us. Full credit to the players I really did take a backward step and this week I did a little bit more and the players dug deep late on a hot day against a quality opponent.  

Q: Must take confidence out of beating a team who hadn’t lost yet this year?
Yeah you would think so, but from the lessons we’ve learnt from the past few weeks it’s really only the performance in front of you that matters. We haven’t looked any further, without making it sound like a cliché, we only worry about our next opponent. As coaches and players, we have some long term and mid-term planning but ultimately, we can only control what we do on any given game. Our focus today was Swans, then next week it will go to Perth and we keep rolling through. You would think that some self-belief and confidence would’ve been gained from our last two wins against two sides who are going to be clearly around the money. 

Q: What was your reaction to Rudy Riddoch kicking the sealer against his old club?
Look if I’m totally honest those things don’t spring to my mind when you’re coaching. Rudy has come across to us he’s now a West Perth person, I don’t see that he’s an ex Swan Districts player like I don’t see that Steve Potente is. I’m only interested in what Rudy Riddoch does in a red and blue jumper. So, I guess if you put yourself in Rudy’s situation and probably in Swans’ situation, Rudy’s probably buoyed by it and Swans are probably seething from it. For me it’s business as usual I’m not overly concerned whether or not Rudy kicks the winning goal as long as he plays his role.

Q: Scott Simpson again was terrific in the ruck?
Yeah look again he probably won more knocks than he did last week, so that’s something that hopefully he will continue to get better at. It’s his second and third efforts that are outstanding, he’s got a really high work rate. Like I said before people can give me the credit I’m happy to take it but Scott’s actions when he’s playing in the ruck that are reported. Not the fact that I moved his magnet from centre half-back into the ruck. We showed faith in him and hopefully we educate him to do what he needs do. In the end it's how he performs and what he does when he rolls up that’s the most important thing.

Q: A fair game anytime someone racks up 47 possessions?
That’s why we love Aaron Black so much, he really led from the front. As coaches, we think we probably overused the ball at times, Blacky probably fell into that a little bit. It’s not necessarily who gets the possessions or the number of them. 

Q: Nick Rodda's best game of the season too?
Nick's had a pretty slow start to the season, I thought his aggression in the air and his defensive acts were much better today on a range of players but predominantly on Ricky Cary. Cary got a couple early but I think he only finished with the two. Ben King was also fantastic down back. Kody Manning did some good things down back and I'm not sure Luke Meadows was doing a great job so we pushed him into the midfield, and good thing was he increased his output. It’s probably just our efficiency inside 50 today that was probably of most concern to us.

Q: Fair to say Kody Manning could be in career-best form?
Unfortunately we only had to push him forward was because he got a cork in his backside, from an off the ball incident that was clearly outside the rules of the game. Someone coming up behind him and kneeing him in the backside 100m off the ball isn’t a good way to have your day pretty much end. The last quarter and a half he basically couldn’t run, but Kody’s got a big heart and he really wanted to finish the game off. He pushed forward and he had some effect for a kid that couldn’t run very much. Kody Manning is an outstanding footballer he leaves nothing out there on the track, hasn’t had the best run of injuries over the last two or three years. He’s probably in a group of WAFL footballers across all clubs that had he got an AFL opportunity or be given an opportunity he’s good enough to play AFL footy. Yes, he’s got some deficiencies, everyone does, but you would like to think that if he was in a full-time program someone might have been able to teach him a few of those things. He was really enjoying his footy behind the ball today but obviously late he had to go forward and play a role even though he was clearly hampered.

Q: Aidan Lynch had to earn his chance this year and he's grabbing it now?
Lynchy’s had to fight his way back through and in the long term that will do Lynchy a world of good. We love what Aidan brings around the footy and have had for the last couple of years. It’s probably what he does when the opposition has the ball and on the spread which is really crucial in midfield play. Our challenge to Aidan is to really improve his fitness and his running power. He went away with a couple of shady characters over Christmas and he probably didn’t come back in the greatest nick. He’s had to fight his way through that.

Q: Sam Rotham stood up in defence too without Mark Hamilton? 
I’m a huge Sam Rotham fan. I think he’s got huge upside and straight out of the colts program a couple of years ago he got thrust into senior footy, and for seven or eight weeks when we really battled with some key position players out. As an 18-year-old kid he did a super job. Unfortunately last year where we though he may be able to take his game to another level he suffered an ankle injury so he didn’t play much footy last year. Now he’s slowly getting back to the fitness and strength that’s required for WAFL footy. I think Sam Rotham is a 150-game player at this club if he works hard. Good return, he’s a little bit off the pace with a couple of areas. I’m sure if he keeps working hard he will continue to play league footy.

Q: Important to not drop off next week against Perth?
A: It was great to win, tough day, good opposition and I felt we controlled large parts of the game without taking the advantage on the scoreboard. We did a lot wrong in the last two or three minutes in particular the upside of that was we didn’t lose the game. Not only did we have the opportunity to learn we banked four points. It doesn’t get any easier you look at the ladder and Perth are 1-4 but they gave us a big touch up in a pre-season game earlier this year. All wins should be enjoyed whether you scrape in, whether you’re lucky or unlucky whatever. We won and enjoy the evening, then front up to prepare well for next week's opponent which happens to be Perth.