Emphatic response to last week, Simmo?
Yeah, we were obviously disappointed after last week, we just wanted to get back to playing our roles, playing our system. The four-quarter effort was there today, the first time for probably the year, so really proud of our players. I do think both teams obviously had some injury issues, and when they lost (Ethan) Hughes in the second quarter maybe, up to half time it felt like it was going to be up to 170 to 160 sort of scoreboard, so whoever got in their forward line scored. We worked pretty hard to reduce that in the second half. I thought our mids stood up, particularly in the third quarter, and allowed us to have the field position we were looking for. Our forwards finished off the good work.
Is it the best you’ve seen Tim Kelly play?
He came third or fourth in the Brownlow a few years ago, so he’s played some pretty good games. But what’s special about Tim at the moment, and I’ve seen him do it last year in the St Kilda game as well, when we really need him to step up for us, he’s tried his absolute best to do that. I thought he complimented our mids, winning the medal was great for him, but I thought the collective of our midfield group played a really important role towards our win.
After last week against Geelong, that midfield did need to step up, so that must please you especially against the Fremantle midfielders?
I think (The Fremantle midfielders) have been in tremendous form, we didn’t really go in with a tag this week. We really ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about whether we should, we play to win, I suppose, and that was the message before the game, just have a swing, sort of thing. So, we backed in our players. Our challenge is to be consistent every week, and I think a lot of clubs are finding that difficult, and we’re no different. So, I’m really proud of the players today, and really proud of their performance. But the challenge is going to be can we consistently do that home and away, and it starts next week against Hawthorn.
Oscar Allen in defence, he seems to take a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, what did you make of his game today?
Early on, like I said, we were getting beaten, and when we were getting beaten in the midfield or come out the front of stoppages and centre bounces, we couldn’t really work together and support each other. We were quite vulnerable, and that’s to be expected with our backline, and I thought Oscar worked his way into the game well. Ideally he’s playing forward, or forward ruck, but with the weight of numbers, with Shannon (Hurn) going out late, we toyed with stacking our forward line. But, knowing his experience isn’t great, but his maturity is, and his ability to handle that with a younger backline, who were probably playing for the first time together ever, I thought he was part of a pretty good mix there once we settled a little bit in the second half.
That third quarter when you went on that five goal run, where do you think you were able to get on top so emphatically in that period?
Like I said, I think our mids played a pretty strong part in that third quarter, we converted, we’re pretty good at converting in our front half. The forwards work really well together to provide each other space and options. And our shape behind the ball in terms of how we defended, I thought, was a lot better than last week. We just went so far away from what we do. So that was our focus this week, really. Obviously, we were quite public about how disappointed we were, and sometimes you’ve just got to accept it. So, the players did, I did, and we didn’t have to win today, we just had to play a better brand. And I thought that we did that. And without a crowd, we were really disappointed, as a club, we obviously take a big hit financially, and we miss an opportunity to play in front of our fans. But, it is what it is, you’d rather do that than be in lockdown, so we understand why. But, we had a real sense of purpose about trying to play. Our staff as well had tried so hard to get people here, and to play like we did, hopefully we made our supporters proud of us.
How did you view the role that young Harry Edwards played today?
Sometimes he was quite vulnerable with the way the ball was coming in, so there was a bit of heat on the ball. I think he’s played his second game, (Matthew) Tabener looked like he was going to kick 10 there at one stage, so I thought he worked his way into the game like all of our backs. And in the end I think they kicked two goals in the second half, so we limited supply which is probably the priority, and then when it did come down, I thought he held his own.
How important is it now to continue this form on the road?
Well, it’s not about winning every week, and I think the game and the season is just if you’re off a little bit, you get hurt a lot, is what we’re seeing. So, you know, I’d just love to see us play our best version of what we look like as a team. If we’re not good enough, that’s fine, that’s football. But trying to play near our best, and win or lose, that’s our goal every week. So, we’ll have the similar focuses we’ve had all year really, and really try and hone in and play the best version we can play.
And given Shannon Hurn reinjured the same calf, how long do you expect him to be out this time?
I think he might have done exactly the same injury he did two or three weeks ago. So, it was Captain’s Run, yesterday, there was probably a minute to go before we got off the track, and he just felt a bit stiff in the calf. So, I think the scans suggested it’s just a reoccurrence. So, very minor, but I think he missed three weeks last time, so it’ll be a two or three week injury.
Do you expect him to play next week?
Probably not. More less likely. He trained yesterday, it’s a shoulder issue, it’s around the muscle tendon area, so it’s not end of the world type of stuff. But he needs to have strength in that area to play. I’m not quite sure if we’ll get too many soldiers back next week, but we’ll see how we go.
Do you expect now for Allen to hold the fort in the backline for a bit longer, while McGovern and Barrass are out?
Yeah maybe, we had a few options to go to. We were going into this game yesterday with him in the forward line, so just losing Shannon probably tipped the scales. So, we’ve got to weigh up the Hawks, and what they can produce with their young forward line. They’ve got lots of talent (Jack) Gunston’s back in the side, so we’d love to have Ossie forward, but if we need him back we’ll play him back. We’ve got some other options with Jake Waterman, or (Jarrod) Brander, or we’ve even thought about putting ‘Vards’ (Nathan Vardy) back down there for a little while, so we’ll work through that again in match committee this week.
Jamaine Jones, seems to be his best game of the year, what did you make of his performance today?
Just tried to free his mind up, JJ, he’s got lots of talent, he’s aggressive around the ball, and he’s trying to play a role. So, playing a role, and playing his natural game is the challenge for JJ and tonight I think he just played his natural game, we helped compliment with a slightly different role. I thought he was good, he was probably the last player we picked in the side, when Shannon went out, he probably came in. And we were really happy we made that decision, because he helped compliment the rest of our forward line.
When you know you’re not getting blokes back, and you’re so vulnerable in defence, especially, how important was it for everyone to be able to stand up and go ‘we can win’ with this sort of a team out in the park, as opposed to ‘maybe I can win’?
I don’t think the ‘maybe’ ever came into our mind, to be honest. You can’t go in playing like that, the ‘maybe I can win’. I’ve spoken about this a lot, and I know a lot of coaches do, that if we play a certain way, our system, then anyone can play it. And whether you lose because the talent’s not quite as strong as it could be, we were probably missing eight or nine players today, mind you, I think Fremantle were not far off the same, I think both teams have been decimated. But, we don’t have to win every week, we just need to play a brand that makes our fans and members proud. I thought today we did, and hopefully we can do that next week.