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Hasleby relieved with Bulldogs' first win of 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 1:23 PM
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SOUTH Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby was relieved to get the Bulldogs' first win of the season over Peel but was most proud that his team responded to being challenged in the third quarter to run away with the 15-point victory.

The Bulldogs came out on fire on Saturday at Fremantle Oval kicking the first five goals of the game against Peel and still led by 20 points at half-time.
However, the Thunder hit back during the third quarter and closed to within a point during the last.
That same scenario has happened several times so far this season with South Fremantle unable to get over the line, but on Saturday it was the Bulldogs who finished the stronger to win by 15 points much to the relief of Hasleby.
"The feeling was more relief I reckon," Hasleby said.
"We didn’t play our best footy and as I said to the guys afterwards we had played better this year and lost games, but on this occasion we were able to eke out the win.
"We are under no illusions that Peel certainly had their chances in that third quarter, but we strung together three pretty good quarters which got the job done for us, so that was pleasing."
The Bulldogs' loss to East Perth at Medibank Stadium prior to the State game break followed a very similar storyline. South Fremantle dominated the first half but didn’t put the Royals away and had a disappointing third quarter before steadying to lead by 15 points midway through the last term.
However, East Perth went on to kick the last five goals that day to win by 19 points so that made Hasleby even more relieved when South Fremantle was able to reverse that trend in the last quarter on Saturday against the Thunder.
"We dominated the first half and then we had a very poor third quarter for the second game in a row. The challenge was there for the lads and it was very similar from the East Perth game so from a coaching point of view it's impressive to see that they learnt from that game," he said.
"They took a few more risks, won a few more contests around the ground and were able to finish off with a couple of goals which was nice. It's a work in progress for us to try and change the momentum when it's going against us.
"A few teams have scored quite a high number of goals in a row against us, so from a playing and coaching perspective we have a bit of work to do on how to stop teams getting 10 straight scoring shots against us. We will continue to work on that but once the third quarter was over we had to reset, and we did that to come away with the points."
While Sean Tighe dominated the ruck and Kris Miller, Mitch Banner, Ryan Cook, Toby Bairstow, Jacob Martinez, Shannon Burnett and Sam Lowrie were terrific around the ground, the presence of Ben Saunders and Ashton Hams was massive up forward for the Bulldogs.
Hams kicked four goals from his 24 possessions and eight marks with the returning Saunders kicking three goals before again going off injured late in the game.
"It was great to have both those guys back. It was the best team we've put on the park this year and it just goes to show how important Ben Saunders is to us and also Ashton Hams," Hasleby said.
"I believe he is the best AFL player when he comes back and plays in the WAFL with his impact on games and on the scoreboard.
"We had some other guys forward who have been doing it pretty tough because they've been the main targets in Paul Mugambwa, Sgherza and Gillespie so it strengthens them and makes them better players to have those guys around them as well."
While South Fremantle's experienced players performed well against Peel, so did the youngsters highlighted by 23 possessions and seven marks to Lowrie, and 22 disposals, four inside 50s and a goal to Burnett.
"It was Burnett's best game for the club which was pleasing after he was a little bit quiet the game before," he said.
"He took his opportunity this week and Sam showed from the very first game he played for us last year that he's up to the level. I told him that the challenge for him is to make himself an outstanding WAFL player which I believe he has the capabilities of doing."
With Hams and Saunders back into the team as well as Jarrod Parry and Warrick Andreoli returning in the reserves along with Alex Grima, Reece Adams, Mitch Carter, Justin Monaco, Jason Maskos, Willie Rioli and Kingsley Smith putting pressure on, Hasleby is glad to be getting closer to having a full squad available as well.
"We had our strongest league team of the year which reflected in the reserves who had a strong team as well," Hasleby said.
"Warrick Andreoli came back and played well, Justin Monaco continued to press for selection and it's a very good position to be in for the club in terms of depth. Right now is the best position of depth we've been in since my time at the footy club."
By Chris PikeSOUTH Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby was relieved to get the Bulldogs' first win of the season over Peel but was most proud that his team responded to being challenged in the third quarter to run away with the 15-point victory.

The Bulldogs came out on fire on Saturday at Fremantle Oval kicking the first five goals of the game against Peel and still led by 20 points at half-time.

However, the Thunder hit back during the third quarter and closed to within a point during the last.

That same scenario has happened several times so far this season with South Fremantle unable to get over the line, but on Saturday it was the Bulldogs who finished the stronger to win by 15 points much to the relief of Hasleby.

"The feeling was more relief I reckon," Hasleby said.

"We didn’t play our best footy and as I said to the guys afterwards we had played better this year and lost games, but on this occasion we were able to eke out the win.

"We are under no illusions that Peel certainly had their chances in that third quarter, but we strung together three pretty good quarters which got the job done for us, so that was pleasing."

The Bulldogs' loss to East Perth at Medibank Stadium prior to the State game break followed a very similar storyline. South Fremantle dominated the first half but didn’t put the Royals away and had a disappointing third quarter before steadying to lead by 15 points midway through the last term.

However, East Perth went on to kick the last five goals that day to win by 19 points so that made Hasleby even more relieved when South Fremantle was able to reverse that trend in the last quarter on Saturday against the Thunder.

"We dominated the first half and then we had a very poor third quarter for the second game in a row. The challenge was there for the lads and it was very similar from the East Perth game so from a coaching point of view it's impressive to see that they learnt from that game," he said.

"They took a few more risks, won a few more contests around the ground and were able to finish off with a couple of goals which was nice. It's a work in progress for us to try and change the momentum when it's going against us.

"A few teams have scored quite a high number of goals in a row against us, so from a playing and coaching perspective we have a bit of work to do on how to stop teams getting 10 straight scoring shots against us. We will continue to work on that but once the third quarter was over we had to reset, and we did that to come away with the points."

While Sean Tighe dominated the ruck and Kris Miller, Mitch Banner, Ryan Cook, Toby Bairstow, Jacob Martinez, Shannon Burnett and Sam Lowrie were terrific around the ground, the presence of Ben Saunders and Ashton Hams was massive up forward for the Bulldogs.

Hams kicked four goals from his 24 possessions and eight marks with the returning Saunders kicking three goals before again going off injured late in the game.

"It was great to have both those guys back. It was the best team we've put on the park this year and it just goes to show how important Ben Saunders is to us and also Ashton Hams," Hasleby said.

"I believe he is the best AFL player when he comes back and plays in the WAFL with his impact on games and on the scoreboard.

"We had some other guys forward who have been doing it pretty tough because they've been the main targets in Paul Mugambwa, Sgherza and Gillespie so it strengthens them and makes them better players to have those guys around them as well."

While South Fremantle's experienced players performed well against Peel, so did the youngsters highlighted by 23 possessions and seven marks to Lowrie, and 22 disposals, four inside 50s and a goal to Burnett.

"It was Burnett's best game for the club which was pleasing after he was a little bit quiet the game before," he said.

"He took his opportunity this week and Sam showed from the very first game he played for us last year that he's up to the level. I told him that the challenge for him is to make himself an outstanding WAFL player which I believe he has the capabilities of doing."

With Hams and Saunders back into the team as well as Jarrod Parry and Warrick Andreoli returning in the reserves along with Alex Grima, Reece Adams, Mitch Carter, Justin Monaco, Jason Maskos, Willie Rioli and Kingsley Smith putting pressure on, Hasleby is glad to be getting closer to having a full squad available as well.

"We had our strongest league team of the year which reflected in the reserves who had a strong team as well," Hasleby said.

"Warrick Andreoli came back and played well, Justin Monaco continued to press for selection and it's a very good position to be in for the club in terms of depth. Right now is the best position of depth we've been in since my time at the footy club."

By Chris Pike