Hasleby focuses on getting four quarters from Bulldogs

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 8:11 PM

SOUTH Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby again saw enough good signs last Saturday against Perth to remain confident that a win isn’t too far away for the Bulldogs early in 2013 with playing well for a whole four quarters the focus.

South Fremantle dominated the first quarter against Perth and led by 19 points at quarter-time but fell 19 point down by early in the third term.

However, the Bulldogs continued to fight hard and scores were level heading into time-on following Mitch Banner's three goals in five minutes, but in a see-sawing last quarter the Demons held on for a 13-point victory.

Hasleby liked parts of what he saw at Brownes Stadium, but knows the Bulldogs need to sustain their efforts for a full four quarters.

"I thought we didn’t take the most of our opportunities inside the forward 50 in that first quarter. We went inside-50 16 times to their four but we were only three goals up and that probably wasn’t a good representation of how the game was played," Hasleby said.

"It was then a complete reversal in the second quarter when they did exactly what we were trying to do, and they pressured more than us and they used the ball a lot smarter. We need to be able to get the momentum back when it's going against us and that's the challenge for the group when things aren’t going our way."

Hasleby did find himself frustrated leaving Lathlain on Saturday, but confident that a win isn’t too far away given the form that the Bulldogs have shown at times during both their first two matches against Claremont and Perth.

"I was very frustrated by the end of the game, but at the same time we did play some good footy for the majority of the game," he said.

"We just had that very poor second quarter when we had a lapse of concentration and all of those things can be rectified easily, so that's the challenge for the group. We will train hard, work on some specific things and front up against West Perth and give it our best this week to see what we can do."

While South Fremantle's defence was still without Nick Borovac and lost Adam Doughty in the first half, Brendon Gulley made a tremendous return after missing Round 1.

He kept West Coast's Fraser McInnes scoreless and Hasleby was delighted with much of his game.

"He is an extremely good athlete and gives 100 per cent every time he goes out. He has to just tidy up a few areas of his game, but he knows how to play on the big guys and he can also play on the smalls, and gives us a fair bit of run and is one of the best spoilers in the competition," Hasleby said.

"He's only going to keep getting better because he's in his second full year of footy so we look forward to him becoming a really good WAFL footballer."

Banner showed strong pre-season form for the Bulldogs on the ball after arriving from Port Adelaide, and as a result has been tagged in both his first two games in the WAFL while in the midfield.

However, when forward he has kicked three goals in both those two games and his coach is happy that he is still finding ways to make a strong contribution.

"He got tagged the first week by Byron Schammer who is one of the best taggers in the league, but on the weekend he had a different role across half-forward and with 19 possessions and 3.2 it's a pretty good effort from a half-forward," he said.

"As a coach, you can't ask for much more than that as coach and obviously we will continue to talk about some of his defensive efforts, but he's improving and six goals in the first two weeks of footy is a pretty good effort from a recruit."

In the absence of Ben Saunders, Paul Mugambwa was outstanding as South Fremantle's main forward target finishing with 12 possessions, seven marks and 3.1.

"Gumby has had a great start to the season. He had surgery over the break so it's a really good comeback from him and he is the most elite forward pressure player in the competition," he said.

"He just gives everything and we are seeing that he can take a few marks, and his kicking was terrific on the weekend. It was one of the most complete all-round games I've seen from him.

"If we can get John Sgherza and Ben Saunders back in as well, it's only going to help him as well and he is a very important player for us, and a very good leader around the club."

Hasleby is hopeful that both Doughty and McCarrey will pull up OK to take on West Perth at Fremantle Oval this Friday night with John Sgherza, Kaiden Matera, Sam Lowrie and Brendan Verrier also putting pressure on the league side for spots after solid efforts in the reserves against Perth.

"Doughty's not as bad as we first thought. It looked initially like he could have had a crack in his pelvis, but it looks like it might now just be a knock so fingers crossed he might be OK for this week, or at least in the next week or two. Andrew McCarrey also got a few injuries during the game so that made it even more difficult for us particularly when some of Perth's forwards were on fire," Hasleby said.

"We want to create a culture where you are banging the door down in the reserves to get a game so that when you come in you are ready, and chock full of confidence. That was Sam Lowrie's first game of the season and it was a great return after he's had a bit of osteitis pubis over the break.

"'Freshy' Verrier just continues to get the footy so that's a great attribute that he has. There's a few things to work on with him, but he should get his opportunity before too long."

By Chris Pike