Geelong coach Chris Scott spoke to the media after his side’s nine-point loss. Here’s a sample of what he had to say…
Q: Your thoughts?
A: I thought it was a good game. I suspect it was a situation of two pretty good teams going at each other. We had control of the game for larger periods. They obviously have some weapons that are clear for everyone to see. And when they have the game on their terms, they’re very hard to stop. So we’ve got no excuses. But we are optimistic about what we might look like being able to choose two genuine ruckmen. No one can compete with ‘Nic Nat’ when he is completely up and going and got everything on his terms. But I am not saying we would have been better but it’s really in the context of being pleased that some of the guys were brought into the team in the last couple of weeks who have performed well – [Brad] Close, [Charlie] Constable and [Lachie] Fogarty. We have a couple of guys who have come in and played well. But it’s also the fact that we could make a lot of changes next week or the week after and we don’t think it would be too detrimental to our performance. I wasn’t as sure of that before tonight because the opposition were really good. Had some momentum after the way they played last week, particularly in the second half. I thought our guys with some difficulties really stood up. So it’s always bitterly disappointing when you lose a game like that. But I think in the fullness of time we will come away more positive than negative around our performance.
Q: You were able to control the game and play the way you wanted it played for virtually 2.5 quarters and had a say in the game until that point of time.
A: Yeah, well, Naitanui probably controlled – the problem with kicking goals against West Coast is the ball goes back to the middle. So, you know, and he showed it from the first one as I said, it’s certainly not – they’re not disparaging remarks of the guys that competed against him in the hoops tonight. It’s just a fact when he is really on, no one in the competition, especially with the centre bounce rules – I am not saying you can’t compete with him but we’ve just got great respect for the champion he is.
Q: What tactics were you guys trying to implement to stop his influence?
A: Well, I’m being honest, I’m not being evasive, but I don’t really get involved that much with the centre bounces. We talk about the outcomes we’d like and delegate to the coaches that work on that more. I could speculate a little bit but I am being evasive a bit because I wouldn’t tell you. It’s not in our business to outline our game plan. Hopefully we will get a chance to play them again. So short of jumping over the top of him, and trying to out-read them a little bit, guys that are outstanding ground-level players like Shuey and Kelly, it’s a challenge. Every club has ideas. We had a few. And we got some penetration from our clearances in the centre bounces as well. I didn’t think our guys were disgraced in there by any stretch. In terms of the specific tactics I will pass on that one, if you don’t mind.
West Coast star Elliot Yeo spoke to Channel Seven after the game…
Q: What about Nic Naitanui in the middle?
A: It’s not just that but the presence he brings. He is such a big boy which helps us. And his follow-up as well. For a big man he can do some freaky stuff.
Q: You’ve got the bye now next week and you have two seven-day breaks, a lot of teams have to cram four- and five-day breaks. You must feel playing at home, good breaks, that you’re starting to get an advantage on the competiton?
A: It’s helped but when the fixtures are released we might get the short straw and we will have to wait and see. I am sure it’s all swings and roundabouts, fingers crossed that goes our way.
Q: And your own footy, you set yourself very high standards and at the start of the season wouldn’t have been where you wanted it but the last month was superb.
A: I was off in terms of my output and form. But you have to try to work as hard as you go and I feel like I’m not far off. Closer to playing my best football.
Q: And we get Jeremy McGovern back next week?
A: I am hoping. He was pretty close this week so we will settle to wait and see.
Nic Naitanui was back to his best tonight and he also spoke to Channel Seven post-game…
Q: You must be pleased to come from behind against a high-quality opponent and your own game was superb.
A: I thought we stuck it out for four quarters. That win felt probably a bit better than the Collingwood win but the win the grinding games feels a lot better.
Q: Your own game outstanding in the ruck tonight. You are really getting your hands on it and getting some hit-outs to advantage, as a ruckman that is what you want to do. You’re in good nick in there.
A: I take a lot of pride in that. Ruckmen get praised for their work around the ground but if I can give my mids the first use every time, I take pride in that.
Q: Tell us about Harry Edwards. You alluded to him not seeing much of the game.
A: He had a big struggle coming in, but a talented young guy. Trying to work his way around. But he is a local Swan Districts boy from where I grew up, so I love seeing blokes from my area make to it the AFL.
Q: We just saw the Josh Kennedy goal where you tapped it down to him, it is not often your target at a boundary throw-in.
A: Our small forwards couldn’t get it right all day but he is in some good form as well.
Q: It must be nice to playing at home at this magnificent new stadium.
A: It’s been good to have fans here, we can’t interact with them too much but it’s good to have the home noise here. I think it will work against our favour, we will be travelling soon.
Q: This may be a silly question – but the first tap to Shuey was extraordinary. That tap to Josh Kennedy, do you know what he is about to do or sometimes do things just work out well?
A: No, we planned it. Those forwards, when they are hungry for a goal, they will make it work. He was in my ear for about 10 seconds leading into that and he knew what space to run into.
Q: I thought in the first half, Nic, they took your game away from you. You are normally a kick-and-mark team but they took that away from you. Is that something you had to adjust at half-time?
A: We had to embrace the contest and guys like Luke Shuey, Elliott Yeo stamp their style.
Q: You have had so many issues with the body over the trip. Where is your body at?
A: I am feeling really good. Apparently I’m slow, fit and pretty lazy but I am enjoying my footy and getting the job done. I have been able to share the load with Oscar Allen as well. He has a presence up forward as well.
Q: You’re not going perfect but you’re getting better. What changed after the three losses?
A: I think the mindset. I think the boys knew they were going home to their own beds. We just started to play a tougher brand of footy. We didn’t adjust to the conditions up there and it took us three losses to adjust. We have some good form now and we are excited.
The West Coast boys sing it loud and proud – fair to say it’s much better than the rendition that blasted through the Optus Stadium PA system!
Here’s some of the reaction on social media to West Coast’s win…
Luke Shuey was influential for the Eagles and he chatted to Channel Seven…
Q: To come back from 22 points down against such quality opposition you must be proud of your side.
A: It was a tough night and they jumped us early and played good footy. We weren’t able to stop their ball movement but proud of the way we pegged away all night and got the job done.
Q: Liam Ryan providing some spark for you?
A: That’s what he does. He’s done it for years and the 26,000, it’s so good to have the fans back.
Q: And five wins on the trot now and then you get to return to Optus Stadium. It’s a wonderful run you have.
A: It’s nice to be home. We’re not playing perfect but we will find a way to get the job done and that is pleasing.
Tim Kelly was one of West Coast’s best players and he spoke to Channel Seven after the game…
Q:There was so much build-up for you in this game and it had everything, didn’t it.
A: It did and I am glad it’s over and we got the points. Glad to get that one out of the way. I am looking forward to these battles. They weren’t at full strength, I am sure we will play again at some stage at the end of the year. It was great to have a little bit of banter on the field with a few of the boys, good to get it out of the way.
Q: It would have taken a lot for the group to rally. Was there something in particular that you think helped the group lift? They were pretty good tonight and got their marks.
A: Once they forced them down the long and force them into a contest, we started to get on top. The first half was an issue but we fixed that up and the scoreboard turned around.
What a stirring comeback from the Eagles. They kicked seven of the last nine goals to show why they are the premiership favourites.
West Coast ended up winning the clearances 35-32, tackles 46-44, inside 50s 45-39, contested possessions 113-108, free kicks 15-12, hitouts 39-25 and scoring shots 18-14.
West Coast 3.0, 4.2, 7.6, 11.7 (73)
Geelong 4.0, 7.0, 9.2, 10.4 (64)
West Coast: Kennedy 4, Sheed 2, Darling 2, Ryan, Cripps, Ah Chee
Geelong: Tuohy 2, Hawkins 2, Menegola, Duncan, Dangerfield, Parfitt, Miers, Simpson
West Coast: Sheed 24, Kelly 23, Shuey 23
Geelong: C.Guthrie 23, Stewart 22, Duncan 21
West Coast: Edwards (concussion)
Geelong: Simpson (cut eye), Constable (possible concussion)
The siren sounds and the Eagles are victorious!! What a fight back from 22 points down at one stage!