On the loss to Essendon...

“There’s a lot in the game that just wasn't right for us. We felt – and as our players said after the game when they were interviewed - that we didn't deal with Essendon’s pressure too well. So that was part of it.

You acknowledge that as far as the opposition's intent and what they were able to do, but there was almost a complacency in parts of the game where it seemed like things were going to happen and they didn’t – whether it was skill breakdown or some outnumbering things that concerned us. We’ve looked at that from a work ethic point of view, and a skill and game sense point of view, and we just need to be better.

I mentioned that we're on this journey of wanting to establish ourselves as a formidable team and until you're reassured with the consistent performances then, you’re always wary.

It’s a firm belief within our club that we're more than capable and in the end, to come out of a game like that where there's a significant level of disappointment through our playing ranks and through our support staff, all we can do is just come together, refocus and look to find that consistency that we’re after.

It’s not like we start again because the template’s there, and recent reminders of how well we can play are there as well. So there's a significant level of confidence and belief, but we just don't need these jolts – I suppose Friday night was a significant jolt for us.


On the focus each week...

“I've never been a coach that has tried to leverage for time. I’ve always been a coach for the now. I believe in our group.

We're trying to make every post a winner and establish ourselves and get ready again. Each week trying to win the game is absolutely important and critical, and it's what we're after.

We’re one of the handful of clubs that's been able to have some success (in the last 10 years). We've then we've had a dip, then we've come again and we didn't quite pull it off in ’21 so we had another dip and now we're in the process of doing everything we can to re-emerge.

On team selection...

“What you're seeing with us at the moment are some experienced players here and there not getting a game due to form. That puts pressure on some of those experienced lads to find their best, which then creates opportunity for guys who are going to be important for our future.

You hope there's no pain, but some of the guys who are picking up and taking up those roles and they haven't got a history of form at AFL level so you're hoping that they can cope with it alright. There will be some situations where young guys don't necessarily have the best games, and that's just the way it is while you're trying to give them some experience.

The senior boys who missed out (last week) - they get it, they understand. Their attitudes been unbelievable too. The hardest thing is to omit someone like Caleb Daniel, who we love and his contribution to the club has been enormous but he'll find his way back into the team.

The boys in state-league – we’ve won every game at Footscray level and Edgey is doing a terrific job as coach, and our coaches and support group are doing a great job with our young guys. This week we need to consider a couple of boys who have played really well over the last couple of weeks in Riley Garcia and James Harmes. There are other players in there that are going pretty well and so we need to make sure that we continue to acknowledge that and identify with it. It's a really healthy environment and I suppose we’re in a good position to process what happened last Friday night and then give a good account of ourselves this Thursday night.


On Tom Liberatore...

“There’s no regret (with how the situation unfolded). Our medical staff are as cautious as anyone you'd ever come across. Concussion is a significant thing in the game now regarding the players’ health so we're ultra conservative.

“I think the interesting thing about Tom's situation was he came in (post-game), passed the SCAT (concussion test) and was totally lucid – he was able to do interviews reflecting on his performance. Everything was saying that he was okay but ultimately there was an episode.

The AFL has got eyes on it as well, so if we miss anything they’ll alert us – but because it was late in the game too, I don't think anyone was totally aware of it.

Thankfully he seems like he's okay, but as I said we're being ultra conservative, and our medical staff will make sure we put him through the ringer to ensure that everything else is in good working order.


On this week’s fixture...

“I mean it's round five and we'd like to be one or two ahead of where we are, but it’s really early. Our challenge is to string (the wins) together - to win and then create momentum on the stretch.

Initially we have to focus on the Saints this week, to get that done. The Saints work extremely hard so we've got to be up for the fight.