Coach Q and A – Adam Pickering Round 3

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 2:39 PM by Chris Pike

SWAN Districts coach Adam Pickering's thoughts following Saturday's narrow loss to Perth and looking ahead to the annual ANZAC Round battle with West Perth at Joondalup Arena on Saturday.

QUESTION: For the third straight week you sit here knowing that you are only a couple of good plays from winning a game of footy but you are 0-3. How do you get your head around that?
It's a good question and it's a hard one to answer because you are so disappointed about the now that you are 0-3 that it's hard to see how close you are to the wins a lot of the time. All I can tell you is that we have to get better. We are in games, we are doing things right but we just aren’t doing them all right at the moment. It's a really steep learning curve especially for our young guys about how switched on and how good you have to be at league footy or else you don’t win.

Q: Giving up five goals to nil in the first quarter and the first seven goals was always going to be tough to come back from, how disappointed were you with that start?
I was flat, I thought our preparation during the week and the way we applied ourselves to our training and the planning had the boys really engaged. I thought we were ready to go and I was expecting a really strong response and we did about half the quarter OK. Then the other half of the quarter cost us five goals. It was another learning curve for our young group that you've got to do it well all the time, you can't drop off or else good teams will burn you.

Q: It started turn in the second half of the first quarter and you controlled most of the second half, were you happy with a lot of what you saw from that point on?
Yeah absolutely. We changed a little bit on how we wanted to move the footy and the boys embraced that and followed the instructions, almost, nearly 100 per cent of the time. It felt like it was probably our best half for a long time with our willingness to compete on the inside and then move the footy the way we did. That gave our forwards like Leigh Kohlmann a chance to actually clunk a couple and kick a couple. After half-time was pleasing, it's still disappointing we didn’t get the win though.

Q: Coming into the season in the air looked like where you could have some real dominance with Kohlmann and Noble up forward with help from the resting ruckman plus Notte, Howard and Glass-McCasker down back. You saw more signs of that this week?
We did and we always thought that we were going to be young and inexperienced through the midfield. But we throughout our forward-line and back-line was going to be reasonable. We thought our back seven for most of the year would be able to match up really well on most teams and then we could stretch oppositions defences especially with Noble and Kohlmann. Through the midfield we are still really young and inexperienced with Josh Cipro, Ethan Maguire, Riley Garcia every now and then, Chaddy Daniels and even Jesse Turner is still pretty young. It's just about fast tracking them so we knew that area would be difficult but our job as coaches is to fast track those guys to be ready to take over from Riggio, Ellard and Payne, and hold the mantle in there to drive us forward. Josh and Jesse especially, and even Ethan, are taking big steps forward. They're probably not quite there yet in all honesty against quality midfields in the WAFL, but they are growing and improving. We just need to grow and improve quickly.

Q: Especially in the second half Hampson, Ellard and Riggio did all they could to try and will you over the line?
They really did and all three of those guys were out on their feet late in the game because they had done such a power of work throughout the day. That's the battle we've got, we can't rely on them forever and they are doing great job at the same time. They flew the flag for our footy club but they're not going to be there forever and they're not going to be able to do it every week. I thought Josh Cipro especially took some more big steps forward.

Q: Your back-line stood up and if you were told you would concede 26 goals over the first three games you would have taken that?
I thought our defensive mechanisms as a group have been OK. We've limited the opposition to reasonably low inside-50 counts as well, it's not like we are getting blown away with the inside 50s. So that's been good and our system back there has been really good, it's just a matter of being able to kick straight. We gave our forwards an opportunity, we just didn’t finish. Defensively it wasn’t too bad but there's still a lot of work to do.

Q: The forward-line clearly is a work in progress but Leigh Kohlmann was a great shining light and so was Josh Cipro when he was there?
Leigh's only new, Riley Garcia's still colts eligible and is three games of league footy into his career, Hampson when he's down there is new, Simpson is new and Dave Ellard is playing more of a forward role at the moment so he's new to that for us. So out of the guys that are going forward, you've got five new ones and it does take time to connect. We have to just keep giving them opportunities so they can learn to connect and get better at gelling together. Warrick Wilson added a bit going forward for us too, he's a very good and smart player.

Q: How do you get them up again to take on West Perth to try to get that first win?
That's the challenge of coaching because you are so invested in it and even as an individual you are really flat and down after a loss. But the reality is we are only three games into the season so it may look all doom and gloom in terms of being 0-3, but there's still a long way to go. You play everyone twice this year so if you can turn it around and keep the energy and positivity up, we are not in too bad of a position given the losses we've had have all been by small margins. The message to the group has to be that we haven’t been blown away. I didn’t think we were great the first two weeks but we started to click the second half this week and we've been in every game. If we can just bring four quarters of that we should start to win some games of footy.

Q: You've signed someone you are familiar with from East Perth, Mitch Howlett, now and he'll be playing in the reserves starting this week. You'll be looking forward to what he can add?
We see Mitch as a league footballer when he's up and going. He has done a full pre-season so it's not like he's been training down at Busselton one night a week the last four months. So he's pretty fit and he's had no interruptions over the summer so his body is holding together. In fact, the last two weeks having a break has probably helped freshen him up. We just need him up and going. He starts training this week and once he is up and going, and gets his game fitness up, we seem him as a league footballer who can help with that midfield depth. If we can throw him in there with guys like Hampson, Riggio, Cipro and Turner, we're starting to bat a little bit deeper. I'm looking forward to him coming on board and hopefully he can have an influence.