Coach Post Match – Todd Curley Round 14

Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 10:24 AM by Chris Pike

WHAT South Fremantle coach Todd Curley had to say following the Bulldogs' NAIDOC Round WAFL victory over Claremont at Fremantle Community Bank in what was Ryan Cook's 150th game.

QUESTION: It was hard work in the first half but I think you would have been especially pleased with some of the football you played in the second half to beat Claremont?
They've been going pretty well and obviously have quite a heralded midfield with a lot of good players in there, and they are pretty dangerous if you give them space. We were disappointed early but thought that certainly after quarter-time and especially after half-time that we played much better.

Q: It seemed to be a real grind for both teams in the first team, did you feel when it opened up a bit more in the second half that it suited you?
No doubt, I think they tried to close it down a bit and that's sort of the way they have been playing. They've been winning but not kicking huge scores, and defending pretty well. Even today they defended pretty well for most parts but I thought we were able to spread the ball much better in the second half and had a really even contribution. We didn’t have anyone getting super high numbers but we didn’t have anyone who was really low either.

Q: You were able to kick eight goals in the second half which in a game which was low-scoring, that would have been pleasing?
It was quite a high pressure game around the ball which made it hard to get into it space. We were pleased we were able to score in the second half and they only kicked three goals in both halves, so we are just as pleased with our defensive stuff and I thought the longer the game went, the better we got defensively. That's a step in the right direction for us.

Q: Is it a nice challenge to overcome a team that you lost to last time and who came in with a clear game plan of how they wanted to shut you down again?
We had a pretty good idea of how they play and they did get off the chain early, and our ball use didn’t help us. Just about their whole score at half-time was off turnover but I thought we used the ball better which not only allowed us to score, but it also gave us a better chance to be organised and defend behind it. The second half was really pleasing and not all wins look great but you still only get four points whether it's an ugly or good looking game. We were happy with it.

Q: Brandon Donaldson is one player who continues to show that he has taken his game to another level this year and he kicked another three goals?
He has really grown. This is his third year and he's worked really hard to get stronger and put a bit of weight on, and get fitter. His ability to win the ball has always been really good but now his ability to apply pressure and cover the ground has really stepped up this year. He is becoming really consistent for us.

Q: Your first game of the season was when you last played Subiaco, that seems like a lifetime ago. How are you feeling about playing them again on Saturday?
It's funny we've played Claremont three times in our last 10 games and we've still only played Subi once, and that other game was a long time ago. I thought it was a pretty good game for almost three quarters and then they certainly ran over us late. We are certainly confident that we can get the job done but they've been in good form. We'll turn up and give our best, and hopefully that's good enough.

Q: Because it's been so long since you last played them and there's so much talk about how unstoppable they are, do you feel like the boys have been waiting for this chance?
A: Not really to be honest. We are really just focused on winning and qualifying, it really doesn’t matter at this time of year how many you win or who it's against, as long as you win enough. If you qualify, then you have to be the best team for four weeks. We'll work really hard to qualify in the highest possible position we can and then once you get to finals footy, it's a new season really and it doesn’t matter what you have done before. We'll worry about that if and when it comes, but for now we are happy just to try and improve each week and it will be a good test for us. It comes at a good time.

Q: It was a big milestone for Ryan Cook this week and now injury permitting, Ashton Hams will play his 200th on Saturday. What's he been like to coach since coming here?
It's been a really interesting time for him. He's a great player obviously, but it has been that period where he's gone from having to be in the top three performers every week for us to give us a chance to win to where over the last 12 months he's become an on-field coach if you like with his knowledge and ability to help the young guys around him. He is still pretty dangerous as well and if he gets the ball in the front half, often we score. He has been really good for us and been a great player for a long time.