WAFL finals: West Perth’s Bill Monaghan candid on Peel’s Fremantle Dockers talent

AFL players such as Tendai Mzungu proved a handful for West Perth against Peel. Picture: Dan White
AFL players such as Tendai Mzungu proved a handful for West Perth against Peel. Picture: Dan White

WEST Perth coach Bill Monaghan takes a Q&A format for his final column of the year.

How do you reflect on the loss to Peel, another tough final where you’re in the game at half-time, but a side gets a jump on you in the third quarter?

I thought we went in with a fairly decent plan and for two-and-a-half quarters we stuck to that plan. One of the problems was that the plan was more about stopping them to score (than scoring ourselves).

More: Peel ends West Perth’s season

The players did the best they could. It wasn’t so much the number of AFL-listed players but the quality of them.

Connor Blakely’s a rising star in the AFL. Matthew DeBoer, Tendai Mzungu, Jonathan Griffin, Zac Clarke and Clancee Pearce, they’ve all played a lot of AFL footy.

When you play them during the year, there’s managed minutes and things like that. But here they’ve just played full-on for 120 minutes so the quality of those players wore us down.

The team’s best footy has been impressive this year and seemingly good enough to beat the Peel side you faced on the weekend, despite its AFL players. How do you see it?

That’s probably underestimating where Peel are right now. We were confident going into the game. But 17 AFL-listed players… they beat East Perth, who had 13 AFL-listed players, the week before by 49 points.

I thought our effort wasn’t good enough – that’s the bottom line, we need to find ways to improve. Had they played 12 or 13 AFL players, I think we would have been around the money.

It will be interesting to see how far Peel can go. They’ve got a fair bit of belief and their top-end players – DeBoer, Mzungu and Blakely through the middle of the ground with Griffin and Clarke – that could nearly be a starting midfield in an AFL side let alone a WAFL game.

So we’re disappointed but we’re also fairly clear that it was going to be a tough day at the office.

What prompted the decision to exclude ruckman Chris Keunen?

We’d been a little disappointed in Chris’s performances for a couple of weeks. Apart from Michael Apeness up forward, their only other real talls in the forward half were going to be Clarke and Griffin so we decided to play Tyler Keitel and Mark Hamilton directly against those two.

It didn’t help Chris that we thought he couldn’t go back or run with them for the whole game. So when Clarke rested forward, Keitel went with him and when they went to the bench, our talls went with them.

It was a bit of a risk and some people will say it didn’t come off. But it worked, it was more Blakely who did the damage than Clarke or Griffin. Would we do it differently next time? Who knows? That’s what we chose and we’ve got to stick by that.

Trent Manzone and Rohan Kerr are leaving next season. Any news on anyone else?

Not yet, but there’s always a couple. We leave announcements to our Breckler Medal night when we pay respect to them. We’ve known for half the year Trent and Rohan were going so that’s common knowledge. The other guys will make decisions in the next couple of weeks.

What will be the recruiting plan for next year?

That’s something we’ll discuss in the next few weeks. We’ve talked to a couple over east, but budget constraints and salary cap all come into that. With Rohan and Trent going, there’s a need to add to our midfield. We’re probably a big-bodied defender and forward short. But at the end of the day, we’ll back our players in. Sam Rotham and Max Alexander haven’t played a lot of footy this year. We think Matt Guadagnin will play next year. Brayden Antonio had a slow start. But like all clubs, we’ll also look abroad to add to that.