SOUTH Fremantle coach Todd Curley's weekly question and answer session during the 2015 McDonald's WAFL Premiership season.
Curley spoke this week after the thrilling two-point win over Swan Districts at Fremantle Oval that moved the Bulldogs up into fourth position on the WAFL ladder ahead of this week's bye before a run of five straight matches.
QUESTION: That was an exciting two-point win, but more importantly it was important in the context of the season?
ANSWER: They're all going to be important from here on in, but probably the way we played was the most pleasing thing. We probably didn’t make the most of our dominance of the game at times, but to get away with the win was a good effort.
Q: There was quite a few times you looked capable of breaking the game open including early in the last quarter when Haiden Schloithe kicked his fourth. They kept coming, but you would have been pleased with the way you played?
A: We thought we probably won most facets of the game for large periods, but really couldn’t transfer that to real scoreboard pressure. To their credit, they kept coming back and probably halfway through the last quarter they had a decision to make to try and win, or keep doing what they were doing, and they changed it up. They really went on the attack and it got quite close in the end.
Q: Haiden Schloithe kicked four goals again and that's important with Ben Saunders and Josh Pullman out, and the other tall forwards not firing?
A: We are obviously all about sharing the load but Saunders isn’t playing, Pullman's out and we only had Dell back this week. They're our three leading goalkickers and Schloithe is obviously on the way back. He played a bit more midfield this week and was still able to impact the scoreboard so we are really pleased with that.
Q: With no Saunders and Pullman, and Mugambwa back in the reserves, Sellar again struggled, the experiment of Strom forward didn’t work, how do you try and get more out of your key forwards?
A: I think they are having an impact and there's more than just the scoreboard we look at, and they are certainly giving us a real contest. I don’t think they allowed their opponents to take too many marks in the back 50 so they are still having an impact, but obviously we would like them to impact the scoreboard a little bit but they are working hard and playing their role so we are pretty happy.
Q: A massive captain's game by Ryan Cook finishing with 34 possessions and 16 marks in a best on ground display?
A: He was super and he's been very good for us all year. As well as his numbers, he spent most of the day head to head with Ryan Davis and I thought he was a really strong player for us. He was able to defend and help, but his ability to spread and push hard saw him really lead from the front.
Q: Ashton and Kyle Hams have been so good for so long that they might not get the recognition they deserve, but again both of them were as big a factor in the win as anyone?
A: They are really experienced players now, and they are smart and tough, and can play forward, back and mid. We're very lucky to have a couple of them but they certainly impact the game whether they are forward, back or in the middle. They bounce between playing a variety of roles and again were very important in our win.
Q: How important is the run and carry that Marlion Pickett is providing off half-back?
A: He's been a good player for us all year. He's had a really good season and his ability to break the lines really helps us, but to allow him to do that he's got some pretty good defenders around him to help. It's a team game and they defend as a team, and attack as a team. I think they are defending well together and building a good bond back there as a unit.
Q: It's obviously not something that's on your mind, but if an AFL club asked you if you felt Marlion could take that next step, what would you tell them?
A: Probably to take a look at the tape and watch every game this year to see for themselves. I think he contributes a lot more than he doesn’t and he's been fantastic for us, and he's a great kid.
Q: Do you think he's capable of taking that next step?
A: Well he's got all the attributes that's for sure.
Q: Brock Higgins continues to do a power of work basically carrying the ruck on his own?
A: He's a competitor and he just wants to win, and bash and crash. Apart from his ruck work, his ability to run and try to put pressure on the smalls from the opposition, and just compete and help his teammates helps us in a lot of areas. He has had a really consistent year for us.
Q: Another bye now before a long stretch of uninterrupted matches, how do you approach it?
A: We've obviously had a plan in place for it all year. We'll train Tuesday and Thursday, and then come back in the Monday following and start preparing pretty hard for Claremont.
Q: Claremont to come and that's another side around the same mark fighting for a finals position, so it's yet another of these virtual eight-point games?
A: It is such a close comp that really we concentrate so hard on the week we have and the challenge that is in front of us, so until we got the game with Swans out of the way, I didn’t even realise we had Claremont next. Coaches say it all the time but you just can't get too far ahead or you get bitten on the bum pretty quick.
Q: Jacob Dragovich went down late with a knee complaint, any update?
A: We're not sure. He got a knock to the door so I think we'll have a scan but we think it's nothing too bad.
Q: Craig White just a nasty cork?
A: Yeah we think so.
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