Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 7:42 PM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth's longest serving and winningest coach ever Bill Monaghan spoke following last week's loss to Subiaco and looks ahead to this Saturday's must-win contest with Claremont with a potential finals spot at stake for the Falcons.

QUESTION: What do you take out of a game like that?
That's a really difficult one because again for chunks of the game, obviously not big enough ones, we did a lot of things right. I thought we matched Subi in a lot of areas in the first quarter and not for the first time and I know this sounds like a broken record, but we kicked 2.5 to 5.2 and that's the difference. There were some crucial misses and two or three of those were really gettable, and then at the other end Ben Sokol takes a shot from 50m out on the boundary and it doesn’t spin but floats through the middle of the goals into the breeze. There are things like that where you get to quarter-time and think you've done a reasonable job but are three goals down. Then in the second quarter for the first 10 or 15 minutes we were pretty ordinary but they only ended up kicking three goals for the quarter. We were able to limit the damage on the scoreboard to a certain extent in the second quarter even though the signs weren’t great. What would have been nice would have been to sneak one or two just before half-time to get back to within three or four goals instead of being six down. Then again our first 20 minutes of the third quarter I thought was pretty good and we fired our best shot, but weren’t able to take our opportunities after playing the majority of the football in our half. Then in the last quarter the floodgates opened and the last 15 minutes were just horrible. They were running around doing as they wanted to. I would like to say the players knew Perth beat East Perth and were saving themselves for next week but I'm not going to seriously give them that as an out.

Q: You can always find some positives and I thought Blake Wilhelm's job on Liam Ryan was one?
That was always our plan B with Blake Wilhelm and probably had Kody not done some good jobs on him earlier in the year it was probably going to become our plan A. Kody was about 60-40 or 70-30 during the week to play because of his ankle and he just tweaked it a little bit again early. Given the athletic ability of Liam Ryan we thought it best to get him up the other end and Blake did some really positive things, which is good. We played Lourey back, I think Simpson had a really good game in the ruck and when we sift through all the debris we will hopefully find some things that are positive. But from the outside looking in, it's another disappointing loss and not something that we are proud of. We need to find a way to push through all the mental demons we are fighting at the moment and what's happened is that when things haven’t been going our way, we haven’t been able to fight through that both mentally and physically. That has been the disappointing part and that's not because the players don’t care or try, it's just that with any side who aren’t playing great footy for a period that these things can happen. It's not something we have had to deal with very much in my time as coach and there's only two years where we haven’t had a chance to make finals heading into the last fixture. We have always been a team that is around the mark so it's something that West Perth supporters, fans, coaches and players aren’t overly familiar with to be going through a difficult period, and it's not something that we are happy with. But there's still a pulse and while there's a pulse we'll keep trying. The challenge is to freshen the players up mentally and we copped another couple of ordinary injuries and it looks like another broken hand to Nathan Alexandre to go along with Sam Rotham's last week. That takes us to about 10 broken hands for the year so there's something obviously we are doing wrong there. That's not the sole reason because in terms of personnel, this week was as strong as we've been for six or eight weeks but some of them are underdone and you aren’t always great second up. But we have to find a way to head out to Claremont next week and hopefully have a win.

Q: When the players came in after the game they might have thought it was season over, did they get a lift finding out they were still alive?
We had a little cheer moment in the box when the word filtered through that East Perth lost but it's pretty hard for a player who had both a physical and mental beating to come in and cheer just because of that. I would hope that the first part of us getting right for this week is to at least see that positive and then we can turn the result around, and get up against Claremont and see if the other results go our way.

Q: The fact is you played well enough in the first half of the season to be in a position to still deserve the crack at playing finals?
I use horse racing analogies all the time and one is that if you come around the home corner eight lengths in front and you lose by a nose, everyone says it's a bad run. But if you come around the corner eight lengths behind and lose by a nose they say you are in great form and will win next time. The bottom line is you still came second either way. Our form isn’t where we want it to be, we know that, but we started the season 1-2 and then won six in-a-row and from there it's been up and down, and downhill of late. Form can be fickle and it can turnaround with one good performance or inspirational act, or hard fought win. If you asked me if I would prefer to be locked into finals now and had won seven of our last nine and not lose seven of the nine, it's a simple question to answer. Of course I would prefer we were playing better but whether you deserve to play finals or not is a bit of a silly one. If we finish fifth it means we won enough games through the season to be there so if you want to use the word deserving, we would be the most deserving team ahead of the ones we finish in front of. Once you then get to finals it really is a new kettle of fish but we have a huge task because potentially we could beat Claremont and still not make it. We just need to put our best foot forward, control what we can control and if we are lucky enough to win or deserve to win or do enough work to win, then hopefully things work out for us and we can sneak in to fifth spot and then we'll regroup and start again. Hopefully we'll play some good footy.