BILL GETS GRILLED – BILL MONAGHAN ROUND 21 Q & A

Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 8:19 PM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth premiership coach Bill Monaghan discusses Saturday's thrilling one-point win over Claremont at HBF Arena ahead of the bye this weekend and a final round clash with Swan Districts also back at the Joondalup venue.

QUESTION: It was important to bounce back and you did that, but Claremont is a team that just doesn’t lie down?
ANSWER: I can't control what Claremont do. They've lost a lot of close games and is that bad luck for them or good luck for the opposition, I don’t know. We were in front pretty much the whole day and we had a few blokes who were struggling and I'm sure they did too. We made five changes to what was probably our best 22 as well so we were vulnerable late. Steve Potente hasn’t played for a month, Nick Rodda hasn’t played for a month and I just thought in the end we looked a little out on our feet and they kept coming. Obviously it's good to get on the right side of the win and sometimes we can look at one side being unlucky, but if you're in front and you hold on you've done enough right over the day to win. Considering we got belted at clearances, we did a reasonable job I think to win the game. Centre bounces early were terrible for us and we were minus 12 in clearances over the ground so we played a lot of the game in their half but we dug deep and got the win. Whether it's one-point or 100 points, it's a win and takes us one step closer now to holding down third spot.

Q: First time in a while you've played in fine conditions, did that help play a much more attractive brand of football?
A: We mentioned the weather and it really came home to hurt us last week against Subiaco. We seemed to just kick the ball long to really poor areas and it's been a while since we played in good conditions. We had a bit of a focus to use the ball and run it a bit more, but I still don’t think it was our cleanest ball use. The process of what we were doing was right but early on we missed a few targets. But I was really happy that the players were trying to do what we asked and we thought if we could drag their defence out that we would get some really good looks inside forward 50. Strijk was really good early and Duffy was good all day, and throw in Manning and Potente who were really good small forwards. We looked dangerous when we could get the ball into space and get a lot of one-on-ones.

Q: That was the sort of performance you recruited Max Duffy for?
A: A lot has been talked about internally and externally about Max, and we did recruit him to kick goals. One of the reasons we are playing Andrew Strijk forward is because Max takes a fair bit of heat of their close down defenders. Claremont are one side who paid him a lot of respect in our first two games and I'm not 100 per cent sure who went to him this week and for how long. So Max has been doing a lot of bullocking work in taking their close down defender and we pushed Strijky forward to try and get more than one target up there, and he has kicked three bags of four. This week it was Strijky they paid more respect to and let Max off the hook. I've been really steadfast in my comments on it that Max's time will come and if he keeps working hard he will get an opportunity. He kicked six goals and his decisions with ball in hand, and execution was outstanding.

Q: You got Nick Rodda back but then unfortunately Tyler Keitel hurt an ankle?
A: Tyler just rolled an ankle, I don’t think it will be much of a problem especially with the bye week. You'd think he would get up but given the amount of footy he's played and over the last month he's been left out playing on all the big guys, if he didn’t play against Swans it wouldn’t be the end of the world for me. We picked Jordan Mills and rested Joe Morrow, and I was really happy in the end that we did. While Beau Maister got him a couple of times, he is an outstanding WAFL player and has played decent AFL footy, I thought Millsy held his own. Hamilton had to go back so that didn’t work out exactly how we wanted but we were lucky that we picked the extra tall and that selection was important in the end. We wanted to see Millsy before the finals because we thought we can have another big body forward and back, and he did a good job at both ends.

Q: Just on Jordan Mills, it's a good reward for his perseverance after almost 100 reserves games?
A: I think he played one or two Foxtel Cup games and he took last year off to go over and play in the NEAFL. He is just one of those guys, and he won't mind me saying this, whose ability isn’t right up there but his work rate and presence and marking ability is good. It's a great reward for him and we are blessed here at West Perth that a lot of our young kids stick around because they like the culture and the club. It's great to see him rewarded and I think he did enough to at least hold his spot.

Q: Jye Bolton was probably surprised and a lot of people were when you sent Dean Munns to Tom Ledger, but I think it worked well in the end?
A: It's always hard and people make comments about the Shane Nelson's, Clint Jones', Tropiano's and Jye Bolton's of the world. I didn’t think Bolton hurt us greatly this week. He did play well and had 34 touches and had 10 or 11 clearances, and seven or eight inside 50s but I felt that a lot of his ball use was rushed and kicked out of congestion. A bit like people probably think of Shane's games when he racks up high 30s. He played really well but we're trying to find different ways of looking at midfields. We know Dean can play on an inside and outside mid, and I wanted to put a bit more acid on our other mids to cover some players who were let off the chain last week against Subi. Cockie, Phelan and Kitchin all got a fair bit of it and our mids were kind of relying on closing everyone down. It was a bit about educating our inside mids that it's not all about Dean doing the shutdown roles, everyone has to defend.