Friday, June 16, 2017 - 5:38 PM by Matt Barnsley

WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan gave his thoughts on the crucial win over Swan Districts, Tyler Keitel's exploits up forward, Andrew Strijk's 200th game and looked ahead to this Saturday against South Fremantle at HBF Arena.

QUESTION: It wasn’t always pretty, but it was such a big game that you would be delighted with the final result?
ANSWER: We probably squandered a few opportunities early, think we had 16 scoring shots in the first half to seven. We missed a couple of real easy ones which has been a bit of a pattern for us which is disappointing. We felt 19 points probably wasn’t enough because we knew Swans have been in ripper form so they came hard at us. A couple of times in that last quarter too they hit the lead and we challenged them. We just felt that if we could get a couple in a row and get a bit of space then sometimes when you chase hard all day and you can’t overtake it only takes one or two goals back to back that can take the wind out of their sails. I thought the last five or six minutes we controlled the game and we got two and a half goals up. They got a late one but from the 25-minute mark of the last quarter it looked like we were going to hold on. We’ve shown over the past couple of years and you watch games of footy that if there’s still enough time you got to be wary. I thought the players dug deep for Andrew’s 200th and VB led from the front, especially in the last quarter through his efforts. I thought Lourey looked sharp forward. Blake Wilhelm did a good job on Bennell, Munnsy was again outstanding keeping Ellard to two possessions in the first half. Then he alternated between him and Faulkner in the second half. Kody was fantastic down back. We had good contributors I guess without anyone being outstanding. Lourey kicks three, Tyler four, even Rudy who was in and out of the game finished with a couple. It was a really good team effort. Any success we have as a club is based around us working together as a team and I thought we did that well.

Q: Happy that you ended up with plenty of run left even though you had the shorter break?
A: That’s always hard to know. We don’t talk about it and deal with what’s put in front of us and it was a six-day break. We look at the fixture and we adjust our training as such. We were disappointing in a lot of areas last week but to be honest East Perth were outstanding. They probably played as well as East Perth can play. We weren’t at our best but they were at their very best. The players were stung by that, it was on television, it was a derby on WA Day and they’re a proud bunch of players so they didn’t like that and they changed that this week. They also changed with that little bit in mind that it was Andrew’s 200th. 

Q: Tyler Keitel has been doing everything right to make him the best tall forward in the WAFL, except finishing in front of goal. To kick well this week and kick such a good, crucial goal late must help his confidence?
A: You’d think it would be massive for him. We focus a lot or talk to Tyler a lot about it because as you said he’s taken a lot of marks and played some really good footy. Goalkicking is something that hopefully over time you get a routine a bit of confidence he will sort through that. It’s important that he’s getting the shots, he kicked 4.2 and we’d love him to kick six straight, but he’s probably had 50 shots on goal at the halfway mark of the season. So you’d think if he had another 50 in the second half you’d hope he’d kick 35.15 or 30.20 and it’s going to be a decent season. We talk a lot of Tyler’s preference to play back because that’s where he was the past couple of years but we see that Tyler could be one of the very best key forwards in the competition. We want to build our forward line around him. I thought Lourey looked sharp so in combination they were good. We probably just didn’t get enough at ground level from the players we ran through there, but once we got our head around that we started to take better shots on goal and therefore we kicked better in the second half.

Q: How much does it help your set up and versatility in the group having Ben King and Joe Morrow back?
A: Both of those guys are good defenders, Kingy in particular who will stick to task and Joe can play both ends. There’s no secret that we’re trying to pick the most versatile side we can. We threw magnets all over the place. When you first start doing that it’s a little tough. The players have to get used to it and coaches have to be confident in it but now the longer the season has been going the more confident we are in just picking up a magnet and moving it somewhere. Blake Wilhelm moved forward for instance and did a really good job on Bennell who was looking dangerous early. Ugle still hurt us a bit but we can’t run with everyone. I think Blake ended up having three or four shots on goal as well and set a couple of others up. He played once as a forward earlier in the year. That’s really positive for us, Joe and Kingy obviously helped that. 

Q: Dean Munns really got back to his lockdown best?
A: I watched Swans last week especially early and Ellard was outstanding. I think Greg identified that in his weekly column on their website as well and he’s inspirational leader. So we attacked at the top and to allow two touches in a half of footy is outstanding. They did a few things different which freed him up a little bit and so Munnsy worked through that for a little bit but still had a huge influence on the result. Munnsy he just sticks to his task and he’s done a fantastic job.

Q: How good was it to get the win in Andrew Strijk's 200th game?
A: I was asked a few weeks ago who’s the best player I’ve coached and I’d hate to single anyone out but on ability and influence I’m not sure I’ve coached anyone with more ability or influence. Does that make him the best player I’ve coached? I don’t know. He’s just a fantastic player, his ability to hurt the opposition by foot and his ability in the air, play forward or back make him our real Mr Fix-it man. He’s still playing some really good footy, he wasn’t at his very best this week but look he’s an absolute jet and he deserves every accolade anyone bestows on him. 

Q: 200 games is a big number, but 29 isn't a big age. He could have plenty of football left?
A: I would think that if Strijky maintains his want to train and dedication to the game he could play for another two or three years. We may change his roles and what we may ask him to do and how many games he plays in a year and all those things. But if he wants to play for another two or three years he’s got that real x-factor and he’s got finishing class. We’ve joked with Strijky for years he will finish his last two years coming out of the goal square, fat as a pig and hopefully kicking some goals but he’s a long way from that. Even when he went back he didn’t have a huge influence but what he did, he did extremely well. Him, his family and his new wife should be extremely proud it’s been a pleasure to coach him. 

Q: How big was this result in terms of your season, considering a loss and you're back fighting for fifth and by winning you are only percentage from second?
A: We don’t spend a lot of time looking at ladders and talking through the “what ifs” of that, but it was one this week with Peel getting over South yesterday and East Perth in form. It was a must win game and cliché wise it was an eight-point game. It was a game that could have a big bearing on ladder position. Swans are going to be around the money, they're playing fantastic footy and it took our very best to beat them. I’m a lot more relieved but the flipside of that it’s only 10 games in and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge and we just need to make sure that we play at our very best. Obviously we were terrible last time against South. Their form over probably the last month, five weeks has been a bit up and down but at their best they’re scintillating. We need to sit down and make sure that we’re ready to go next week. 

Q: You have struggled against South Fremantle of late. Do you try to really change things up against them or do you back in your style and hope you can execute better?
A: That’s going to be a long, long discussion on Tuesday night at selection and we’ve talked over a couple of weeks about changing a few things structurally because of the way the competition is playing and what might have been working six months ago, two years ago may not necessarily be the way we want to defend. That’s been a topic of discussion as to how much it changes we’ve got to be careful that we don’t radically change what we do but we do need to look at a different way to play South. What that is and I will probably spend most of this week looking at the two or three games where sides have been able to curtail their influence and see if there’s something of a pattern in that because that’s what my job is and that’s what it’s about recognising patterns and so on. They were clearly challenged against Peel and in the end they could have pinched the game after being eight goals down. They’re a good football side with a lot of talent so we will need to be at our very best to beat them.