Friday, May 5, 2017 - 7:15 AM by Matt Barnsley

WEST Perth's longest-serving coach Bill Monaghan talks about Saturday's win over Perth including the efforts of Rudy Riddoch, Jay van Berlo's 150th game and plenty more ahead of this Saturday's clash with East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval.

QUESTION: What are your reactions to a pretty hard earned win over Perth?
ANSWER: It’s a really hard one to judge, I’m fairly critical of what we did, but in the end we won. I talked to the players about respecting the opposition and making sure that they play the game to the full. Maybe I had different expectations, 15.19 isn’t a bad day at the office in terms of getting the ball forward and shooting on goal, but we’ve got some work to do. Perth, I’ve watched them two or three times and they’ve played similar to that where they’ve stayed with opposition, but just get blown away in little patches. I thought it was ugly, it was frustrating, but at the end of the day we win by 19 points by kicking 15.19. We have to take the good with the bad. 

Q: Did they score a little too easily out the back for your liking at times?
A: You’re being way too kind by saying a little too easy. Since pressing and zones and all that’s come into play, we’ve always been a side that suffers from sides getting out the back, because we do get up the ground quite aggressively. So that’s not uncommon. What I try to explain to people who don’t understand that mechanism, is that we can pick those players up and in the times that we were playing that type of defence i.e. one on one we’re getting as many points scored against us as we are now. They kicked 14.6. I’d take 20 scoring shots against us every week. It was the ease of them though. Stack was very good; I think he probably kicked five from the goal line with no one on him. They have to get through it and use the ball well. Twenty scoring shots to 35 means we’ve had a significant victory.

Q: A pretty special performance by Rudy Riddoch?
A: We’ve been really patient in understanding where Rudy’s been through the pre-season. Do I think that’s the sort of performance that Rudy could give offensively? Yes, that’s why we wanted to get him here. I think he’s as talented as any other forward playing in the competition. Whether it's three games in, five games in, three and-a-half years in I don’t care, really. He was good on the offensive side and he like all of us has got some work to do on the defensive side. We’re rapt, we haven’t recruited a lot over the off-season, generally we just back our own kids in but I would’ve thought that having Simpson and Riddoch over the past few weeks, they’ve been good choices for us and they’re having a significant impact on the game.

Q: He never was able to play like that in a game for Swan Districts showing the ability to in patches. Why have you been able to get that out of him?
A: We need to keep it in perspective, he’s played three games and he was okay in the first couple, and he was better this week. I think sometimes when you’ve got players in your own backyard you can find things that they do wrong. Probably focussing on that and controlling the negatives and I probably do that same thing with a lot of our players. What we see in Rudy as an opposition coach is all the positives he does. I think that part of the secret to coaching people like Rudy and this isn’t a Bill Monaghan thing, is to keep believing and having faith. Rudy texted me during the week and said ‘will I play senior footy this week?’ and I nearly fell off my chair. Seriously Rudy you’re two games in you’ve been okay, but that’s probably symptomatic of what his mindset is as a Swan Districts player. This isn’t a criticism of Greg or Swan Districts but that probably shows that he never was comfortable in his position and was always looking over his shoulder. We do the same, every coach does and every club does. So it’s easy for us to look at the positives and Rudy just needs to continue to work hard.

Q: The mobile ruckmen whether it's Simpson, Keitel or Hamilton seems to be working well for you?
A: The trends across all major competitions are that the giant ruckman is probably in decline. I was told during the week and it probably doesn’t surprise me because I’ve been a believer in this for while, but the two AFL clubs who are most in decline in clearances are Fremantle and North Melbourne. I think they’ve got the two best ruckmen in the AFL. Look it's working. Does that mean we can’t play Sev? Does it mean when Chris is available in a few weeks' time we won’t play him? No. The beauty is when things weren’t going to plan Simpson went back and we had someone else play that role in the ruck. We’ve tried to spread the load and add versatility in all our positions. Manning starts back, ends up forward, plays through the midfield same with Meadows and we were trying to get Nelson who’s had another 40 and was really good around the clearances to push forward to crumb a couple of goals. Other than Corey Chalmers I’m not sure we had anyone who was genuinely crumbing the ball. It’s been something we focused strongly on, the rucks are part of that, it would be silly to think we’re not doing that in a range of positions. 

Q: Great to get the win in the 150th game of your captain?
A: We haven’t been super with our milestones games. As a coach I get caught between pumping that right up, being great servants to the club and just go out and do what’s normal. Guys like VB and most of the guys are the same, they’re not about personal accolades that’s why we love Jay van Berlo. He would’ve felt embarrassed, we had a guest speaker in and he spoke at the lunch beforehand, and there was a story that he’d been away all week. VB just likes to get out there and play. He gives the same effort every week and we’re really proud that he's got to 150 games. I did ask the players for an effort but I didn’t go over the top asking them for a special effort. He played his role, he’s a pleasure to coach, he’s an intelligent person and he’s got a good work-life balance and football. He’s a great role model for everyone at the West Perth footy club.

Q: I'm sure sentiment doesn’t come into selection, but I'm sure Jay would have appreciated playing alongside his brother?
A: We often don’t talk about that stuff. To be honest, not saying that Mitch Van Berlo didn’t deserve to play, but it came down to Mitch and another player. We couldn’t really separate them, so we thought it was best for Mitch to have that opportunity for Jay. Jay would’ve been proud of that. In Shane Nelson’s situation a couple of weeks ago he was really buoyed by the fact that Scott was playing. We don’t give games to anyone who doesn’t deserve them, but I can tell you this week it was line ball and we probably did go a little bit sentimental, because we think that’s really good for the fabric of the footy club. We’re blessed here that there’s six groups of brothers across the grades. We’re a club who like to promote our own and we really value those connections so it was good to see that Mitch was out there today with Jay. 

Q: You must continue to be happy with the response to win the last three games since that big loss to South Fremantle?
A: That’s a difficult question because that’s not as a coach how I view it. It’s not how bad we are how lucky we are. We were poor against South, I’m probably a little bit miffed as to why people say we’ve been inconsistent this year. We had a horrible game against South Fremantle, we beat East Perth relatively comfortably in Round 1, took it right up to Subi whose form is outstanding, were woeful against South, we beat Peel and Swans who are both going okay. Yet people are saying we’re inconsistent. We were really concerned about the effort we put in against South Fremantle on a number of issues. We think we’ve rectified them to a little bit in the last few weeks. I just don’t look at it the way people in the media or people from outside the inner sanctum do. There’s a lot of planning and effort put in that coaches and players do and we see it way different to what might be written in the press. 

Q: Confident of continuing the momentum against East Fremantle?
A: We just know that it doesn’t matter who we play. Perth were 1-4 going into this game and it took a fairly decent effort in the end to shake them off or to hold them off. I think Earl could be sitting in his change rooms thinking we took it up to them and we could’ve easily snatched the game. We don’t disrespect anyone whether we’re playing the top side or someone who may be struggling for a win. We know East Fremantle has got a lot of talent, we’re also fairly confident in the knowledge that if we play our best that we are going to be competitive. Does that mean we win every game? No. Does it mean we’re in every game? Take the South game out which is not something that’s normal generally speaking we’re in most games we play.