On Bailey Smith....

The uncertainty of the outcome is still quite raw – Baz will come in Friday and get going again, but we’re waiting for the AFL’s ruling on that.

Based on history, Bailey values his football future too much as part of his identity – so he definitely won’t let himself go. We’re in constant communication with him as to what he can do (training-wise) away from the club.

He’s got to serve the two-week suspension as it is, but I’ve got no doubt that by the time he is available to play – whatever happens from this current adjudication – that he’ll be fit and ready to go.


On returning players...

Lachie Hunter will play VFL this week against Carlton on Friday night at IKON Park. It’ll be his first foray back into it. I just spoke to him earlier on – he’s looking forward to getting out on the ground.  He was able to train away from the Club, and applied himself in regards to the strength program as well so he’s pretty fit. Our mandate and objective for him was to come back into the main group rather than the rehab group, and he’s done that. After a bit of a lay-off, he’s prepared and as he said to me this morning is just really looking forward to kicking the Sherrin.

Josh Bruce is the same deal – he’ll play against Carlton too. It’s exciting for us to have Brucey back after the recouperation from an ACL injury.  We had a discussion around whether it’s just paddling out after having six months out of the water and thinking you can just get straight on the next wave like you left your last. It’s the same on the footy field – if you can take to it like a duck to water, then that’s probably the best approach. Physically we believe he’s ready. There might be some trepidation from his front, but he’s really excited about getting back out on the field again.


On GWS...

It’s intriguing – there’s no doubt that a rivalry has built up over the years. I don’t know where it started or which game it commenced, but it’s definitely there. It’s palpable at times. Both clubs have had their own periods where we’ve had the upper hand after some victories, and they’ve sat us on our behind once or twice too.

As I said to the players this morning, as the personnel changes year to year and even now the leadership from a coaching point of view is different – it’ll be subtly different again, but (the basics) don’t go away. We need to be on guard as to what they’re going to bring, and be ready based on what we know about the past.


On recent form...

Week to week, we’ve just had some momentum shifts in games that have been in our control. We’ve allowed some of the better teams to get a hold of us, but we take encouragement from the momentum we’ve been able to arrest back in our favour.

The old ‘would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’ attitude is not what you want, but we feel like we’ve left a few out there. It’s a good thing when you consider the change in the complexion of our team over the journey.

We’re firmly focused – as we have been – on doing our best to play the minutes out better than we have, but as far as the systematic aspects of the way we play and the core style of what we bring; we stack up extremely well. There’s just those brief periods in games that we need to be better at.