BILL'S GRILL – ROUND 4

Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 10:34 AM

WE have been solid across the board, but I have been really impressed with our back six. We have a good blend of youth and experience down there and they have been a big reason why we are 3-0.

Dan and Petters have been outstanding and have really set the tone, and with Strijky back in the mix with Browney and Luke Ted there are some good players back there.

Rasmussen is also doing well and we have pushed Jordan Jones back to play as that third tall, and he's good in the air. He is 191cm and I don’t think people realise that he is a genuinely tall man so he has been able to play tall and a bit short at times, so that's added a bit to us. We are happy with the way they are going, but there are going to be other challenges throughout the year that we need to stand up to. At the moment it's holding up, though, and we just need to keep backing them in against whatever the opposition dish up to us.

With Strijky coming back to us the plan was to always play him back and we always thought Laine Rasmussen was a quality young player coming through and Petters was up and down last year, and had some significant issues with his knee. Whilst it was an area we potentially lost a lot in, we had been planning for Burnsy and Lecca to go at some stage, the one that threw us a bit was Dion Fleay but that's probably the role that Jordan Jones is playing at the moment.

Having Jordy in the side meant that covering 'Dizzy' hasn’t been a huge issue, but we also know that it's more to do with the quality of our defence all over the ground. We can talk about a back six, but football isn’t about that anymore. It's about the pressure you can put on from the goal line at one end to the goal line at the other end. We have been good at that even though there are still areas for us to improve in.

It was a really entertaining game last Friday and I thought both sides threw everything at it as you would expect when we were playing a side who was 0-2 and desperate to get on the board. Travelling down to Fremantle on a Friday night always poses difficulties and South are generally good down there under lights, and us coming off a bye is something we haven't been good at historically. I still think that's a general trend amongst the WAFL that sides lose a bit of continuity with a bye and can feel a bit rusty after it depending on what you do with that bye week.

With both of those being a reality on Friday night, we would have taken a win under any circumstances. Whilst we were good early, to South's credit they put us under pressure in the middle quarters and were fantastic. We got headed late in the third quarter, but the players really dug deep and played a really tough, grinding brand of footy to get the points in the end. It was a pleasure to sing the song and get out of there with another win before we start worrying about how we go about trying to beat Peel this weekend.

The players have great belief at the moment after a solid pre-season campaign followed by some good form in the pre-season matches meant that they have hit the season proper feeling confident in what we've been doing, and the structures and game plan that we are implementing. For them to be on the back foot really late in the second quarter after a couple of undisciplined acts, and then struggling to score in the third quarter and dig deep and get back to playing our brand of football was a credit to their belief in what we are doing, and also their work rate to sustain that.

We need to be careful that obviously we have started well and clubs are still feeling out where they sit in the whole pecking order, and the sides we have played might end up being good or they might not. It was great to be challenged on Friday and it was great to be able to stand up to that challenge, but we also know there are greater challenges ahead and we expect Peel this week to be just that.

BY BILL MONAGHAN