Coach Post Match – Todd Curley Qualifying Final

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 3:37 PM by Chris Pike

WHAT South Fremantle coach Todd Curley had to say following the WAFL qualifying final victory over West Perth by 98 points that sets up a second semi-final contest this Sunday against Subiaco at Leederville Oval.

QUESTION: Up until midway through the second quarter it was a pretty tight game, how were you able to get on top and dominate the way you did?
Not sure really. Our effort probably was more consistent, I'm not sure, but I thought we worked really hard early and just didn’t use the ball as well as we had the last few weeks in the first half. But we continued to hang in there and used the ball, and ran pretty hard after that. 

Q: You had played really well the past month leading into the finals, did you feel like you had another gear you could go up for the finals?
I think you have to, it's finals footy but we're really confident that how we play will stand up. This was a good chance for that to be reinforced. It was a good hit out but we move on pretty quick.

Q: Once again you had 22 players who all stood up and made a good contribution?
There's no doubt that the bye came at a good time for us, we had a few sore guys and we made the decision that we'd get them right. But we were still able to win enough games to qualify and to get the double chance which was really important. It's been a different year for us where in the past we probably haven’t had to play too many players, only about 30 a season, but this year we've had 10 debutants and the emergence of other young players like Donaldson, Pearson, Dragovich and Parker who had a bit of a look before. There's a bit of a different dynamic there and our experienced players have been pretty good the last few weeks. There's no doubt that the key over the last month especially has been our even performances and everyone playing their bit.

Q: That performance was unstoppable by Marlion Pickett, about as good an individual performance as you will see?
He's had a really consistent year and has really embraced the challenge of going into the midfield. His decision-making and ball use has really improved, and now his ability to hit the scoreboard the last few weeks is another improvement for him in his game. He's been fantastic for us, he's a great teammate to have and he works really hard and is really selfless. He does a lot of work behind the scenes to help his teammates and it's great for him that he's playing great footy.

Q: Mason Shaw stood up again and kicked another six goals. He's kicked 18 goals without a miss the last three weeks now? 
The strength of it, though, is his work rate. He really works hard and kicks straight, which makes a huge different, but the key is something that we've always tried to build is not to rely on any one person. He hit the scoreboard but so did Schloithe, Pickett and Dell who all kicked multiple goals. So if you spread the load it makes it a bit easier.

Q: You limited their entries inside-50 so the defensive efforts further up the ground deserve some credit, but Jason Maskos and Noah Strom clearly won their battles on Andrew Strijk and Tyler Keitel?
Noah has been fantastic all year and he's become a really dependable player which is a great story after he spent three years in the reserves. So to build his game and show that resilience to try and get better, and then grab his chance when it presented is fantastic. Jason Maskos had an injury-interrupted start and missed a lot of the first half of the season but we think if he's not the best, he's certainly in the top three medium to small defenders in the competition. They played really well but there's no doubt that our pressure from our forwards and mids certainly helps.

Q: There's no doubt if you can play like that then you can take it up to Subiaco, if not beat them, but what's the key to being able to get the team to play like that against them? 
Well clearly they are a really good team, really well organised, experienced and well-coached. They just don't let up and keep coming but we've worked really hard the past few weeks about playing games out to the end. They are a great side and if you relax they'll hurt you so it's really important that we get 22 guys to come and play their role, and hang in together. There's no doubt that we think our best footy is good enough. We really look forward to the challenge.

Q: Do you feel like you've learned a lot from the two times you've played them this year which hopefully you can now implement on Sunday?
You pick up little things every time you play teams and I think the biggest area of learning for our guys in the last six to eight weeks has been more about ourselves, and learning about each other and your teammates and what you have to sacrifice to be a good team and win. We'll take the little things we've learned about ourselves and against them, and we'll recover well, train well and prepare well to give it our best crack.

Q: You are one win away from a Grand Final, do you get a sense that the excitement levels have gone up a notch?
I don’t think they look too far ahead really to be honest. The group has shown enormous resilience and it takes a lot of work to get to this stage in a year, and the last couple of years it hasn’t worked out for them. But to their credit they come back, work hard and train, and try to get better. There's a lot of hard work and sacrifices that goes into the summer, time away from family and friends, and getting your body right and getting better. There's a lot of things that people don't see that we do to try and get better to be in this situation. All along you are practicing for that one moment when it's your chance to be ready to go. I'm really proud of the group, they are a close group and work really hard. They're just good people and hopefully they get a bit of reward in the weeks ahead.