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BILL'S GRILL – MY WA TEAM TO PLAY VICTORIA

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 5:35 AM
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WITH the State game coming up this Saturday I thought I would take a look at the team I would select to take on Victoria from what I've seen running around in the WAFL so far this year.

There are a few issues that Marc Webb and the coaching staff have and the first one is working out if Josh Smith is fit to play. If he is then he is a walk up start as a key forward along with Tim Geappen. That would give them some good aerial presence and Tim also gets up the ground well, but it looks like Josh isn’t going to be able to play.
There is not really another obvious tall forward in the competition so what I would do is push Paul Johnson to play as a key forward and bring in Mitch Andrews to play in the ruck. Between Mitch and Johnson, I think they can cover having someone competitive in the ruck and someone who can take a mark up forward.
Given there is a fair Claremont favour to the coaching panel, they have been playing with both Andrews and Mark Seaby so I think they will like to have two ruckmen. With Mitch Andrews at least you know you will always get a contest from him. I threw up Nick Rodda to the selectors for someone who could play forward and pinch hit in the ruck because he has good speed and can play all over the ground, but I'm not sure he's ready for State footy yet. That leaves Andrews and Sean Tighe as the only other real genuine options to play along with Johnson with Smith not playing.
Another issue is that there isn’t any real genuine speedy small forward in the squad. Ian Richardson will probably get a gig and play as a leading half-forward who can even push up as a high half-forward so I would go out on a bit of a limb and look at picking a Dayle Garlett along the lines of what Lewis Jetta was able to do for WA a couple of years ago. Dayle is an exceptional talent and it's a matter of whether the State team want to take a bit of a punt on playing a young kid who might be the difference with carrying the ball and he kicks it well, and has good goal sense.
The other one is Sean Henson from East Fremantle. Again he has really good leg speed, can kick on his left and right, and he is a hard person to match up on. The other one I considered was Ryan Lester-Smith but at 190cm I'm not sure he's necessarily going to be the right one there because he's not overly strong overhead and plays more of a small role.
I would have Marlon Motlop on the bench as well and he might be able to play as a small-forward as well and you might also be able to manufacture something with someone like a Jake Murphy going forward. That electrifying speed and unpredictability is something I think they need and Garlett or Henson could add that, and both can probably play on a wing as well.
The other concern is the balance between picking a side that is good on the inside to match it with a potentially strong-bodied Victorian team and then playing to our strength which is the outside run and taking the game on.
Jay van Berlo has been outstanding for us and it's always a difficult thing in a State game if you have someone who plays a negating role, and VB gives both options and he is strong around the clinches. That should complement the likes of Brendan Lee and Murphy. If you went Lee, Murphy and O'Brien there isn’t really any pace on the inside but then on the outside I would have Shane Nelson there as well with Aaron Black and Jarrod Kayler-Thomson as the wingmen, and Brett Mahoney and Motlop come into that mix as well to give some outside run. I think Lee, Murphy and O'Brien are a little bit similar so I would probably only go with two of those.
The other one I would play who can play as a leading half-forward who can also go inside the midfield is Paul Bevan as long as he is fit. He looks like he might have been injured on the weekend, but I would play him if available and if not, the other option is an Anton Hamp-type even though his form has dropped off the last couple of weeks. Brennan Stack has been added as well so he should be able to catch a few on the lead as well and he has good pace.
Paul Bower and Steven Dodd down back probably allow David Crawford or Tallan Ames to be freed up from time to time because they have good size and all four of those can play tall or short really. That does give an extra key position player if you need to use one of them in the ruck or even up forward at some point during the game.
Kyle Hams is an outstanding reader of the play so I would pick him and Andrew Strijk has been in outstanding form for us rebounding off half-back. I would love to be able to get Steven Browne in there as well given the way he has been playing and the other bloke who has been unlucky from us is Jordan Jones not to be picked. He has been particularly outstanding over the last month, but he's probably in that mix with Bower and Dodd, but if some reason one of those weren’t available or the selectors wanted something else I think Jordan Jones could comfortably come in and do a role down back.
To me looking at the squad they've got and even some of the names I've thrown up, I would just like a little bit more speed and X-factor in there because there has to be a point of difference for us. I think that while we need to match Victoria inside and try to be hard, I think we also have to play to our strengths and that's playing on bigger ovals and trying to spread them hard over the ground.
That's why I keep coming back to guys like Garlett, Motlop, Henson and Mahoney to give that run. Whether they are all ready to play State footy or not is probably a bit of a question mark, but the selectors will have to take a punt on someone and they are the best ones I can find along with Stack to really up the speed in the WA to take it up to the Victorians.
BY BILL MONAGHAWITH the State game coming up this Saturday I thought I would take a look at the team I would select to take on Victoria from what I've seen running around in the WAFL so far this year.

There are a few issues that Marc Webb and the coaching staff have and the first one is working out if Josh Smith is fit to play. If he is then he is a walk up start as a key forward along with Tim Geappen. That would give them some good aerial presence and Tim also gets up the ground well, but it looks like Josh isn’t going to be able to play.

There is not really another obvious tall forward in the competition so what I would do is push Paul Johnson to play as a key forward and bring in Mitch Andrews to play in the ruck. Between Mitch and Johnson, I think they can cover having someone competitive in the ruck and someone who can take a mark up forward.

Given there is a fair Claremont favour to the coaching panel, they have been playing with both Andrews and Mark Seaby so I think they will like to have two ruckmen. With Mitch Andrews at least you know you will always get a contest from him. I threw up Nick Rodda to the selectors for someone who could play forward and pinch hit in the ruck because he has good speed and can play all over the ground, but I'm not sure he's ready for State footy yet. That leaves Andrews and Sean Tighe as the only other real genuine options to play along with Johnson with Smith not playing.

Another issue is that there isn’t any real genuine speedy small forward in the squad. Ian Richardson will probably get a gig and play as a leading half-forward who can even push up as a high half-forward so I would go out on a bit of a limb and look at picking a Dayle Garlett along the lines of what Lewis Jetta was able to do for WA a couple of years ago. Dayle is an exceptional talent and it's a matter of whether the State team want to take a bit of a punt on playing a young kid who might be the difference with carrying the ball and he kicks it well, and has good goal sense.

The other one is Sean Henson from East Fremantle. Again he has really good leg speed, can kick on his left and right, and he is a hard person to match up on. The other one I considered was Ryan Lester-Smith but at 190cm I'm not sure he's necessarily going to be the right one there because he's not overly strong overhead and plays more of a small role.

I would have Marlon Motlop on the bench as well and he might be able to play as a small-forward as well and you might also be able to manufacture something with someone like a Jake Murphy going forward. That electrifying speed and unpredictability is something I think they need and Garlett or Henson could add that, and both can probably play on a wing as well.

The other concern is the balance between picking a side that is good on the inside to match it with a potentially strong-bodied Victorian team and then playing to our strength which is the outside run and taking the game on.

Jay van Berlo has been outstanding for us and it's always a difficult thing in a State game if you have someone who plays a negating role, and VB gives both options and he is strong around the clinches. That should complement the likes of Brendan Lee and Murphy. If you went Lee, Murphy and O'Brien there isn’t really any pace on the inside but then on the outside I would have Shane Nelson there as well with Aaron Black and Jarrod Kayler-Thomson as the wingmen, and Brett Mahoney and Motlop come into that mix as well to give some outside run. I think Lee, Murphy and O'Brien are a little bit similar so I would probably only go with two of those.

The other one I would play who can play as a leading half-forward who can also go inside the midfield is Paul Bevan as long as he is fit. He looks like he might have been injured on the weekend, but I would play him if available and if not, the other option is an Anton Hamp-type even though his form has dropped off the last couple of weeks. Brennan Stack has been added as well so he should be able to catch a few on the lead as well and he has good pace.

Paul Bower and Steven Dodd down back probably allow David Crawford or Tallan Ames to be freed up from time to time because they have good size and all four of those can play tall or short really. That does give an extra key position player if you need to use one of them in the ruck or even up forward at some point during the game.

Kyle Hams is an outstanding reader of the play so I would pick him and Andrew Strijk has been in outstanding form for us rebounding off half-back. I would love to be able to get Steven Browne in there as well given the way he has been playing and the other bloke who has been unlucky from us is Jordan Jones not to be picked. He has been particularly outstanding over the last month, but he's probably in that mix with Bower and Dodd, but if some reason one of those weren’t available or the selectors wanted something else I think Jordan Jones could comfortably come in and do a role down back.

To me looking at the squad they've got and even some of the names I've thrown up, I would just like a little bit more speed and X-factor in there because there has to be a point of difference for us. I think that while we need to match Victoria inside and try to be hard, I think we also have to play to our strengths and that's playing on bigger ovals and trying to spread them hard over the ground.

That's why I keep coming back to guys like Garlett, Motlop, Henson and Mahoney to give that run. Whether they are all ready to play State footy or not is probably a bit of a question mark, but the selectors will have to take a punt on someone and they are the best ones I can find along with Stack to really up the speed in the WA to take it up to the Victorians.

BY BILL MONAGHAN