Colts Corner with Beau Wardman | Round 12

SFC catch up with Colts coach Beau Wardman after the young Lions latest win. Subi's colts are 6-5 and sit at fifth position on the 2017 WAFL colts Ladder.  
Q: After a couple of competitive but tough losses against the top 2 WAFL Colts sides in recent weeks, must have been nice to bounceback so emphatically against the bottom placed side on Saturday with a comprehensive win?
We were disappointed with our performance last week against Peel, not because of the final result but the way we went about the game and our appetite for the contest. We recognise Peel and East Fremantle are strong teams and that is where we want to be. It was pleasing to get back to work on Saturday against Perth, who themselves have been on the improve with close results against South Fremantle, Peel and Swan Districts in recent weeks. The main focus going into the game was about our work rate and consistency in effort. To get some reward for achieving this was pleasing.
Q: Does Saturday’s win hold even more importance considering that two of your nearest rivals had upset wins on the weekend, which has really tightened up the ladder in the Colts competition?
The competition is really tight this year, and that’s how it should be. I think all of the clubs and their respective coaches are working hard to develop the players to make the competition as strong as it can be. We will continue to work with our group, providing opportunities to showcase their talents within the team, we can only control what we bring each week and if we continue to train hard and bring that into games then we will continue to be competitive.
Q: It seemed a fairly strong four quarter effort, you extended the lead at the first three breaks before they marginally outscored you in the last quarter, did you feel it was one of your better four quarter performances of 2017?
We have been striving for four quarter efforts, Andrew Dawe has been doing a lot of off-field work around our leadership and mental toughness to aid in achieving this. We don’t think it is a fitness issue, Matt Olds our S&C coach does a lot of work to get the boys ready each week and we think we are fit enough, it just the players believe how good they can be being able to work hard when the opposition may be generating some momentum. We can still improve in this area and next week gives us an opportunity for that.  
Q: Defensively another strong display, limiting Perth to just six goals, was this another one of those defensive performances built around a team defence mentality?
Our team defence has been strong for much of the season but it is also reflective of the boys work rate. We do a lot of transition running simulation at training and this has paid dividends in a lot of games. Whilst we want to be a strong defensive team, we are developing our ball movement and avenues to goal to be a higher scoring team – I think we had nearly 30 scoring shots on the weekend, we’ll work on our accuracy.
Q: What has become evident in recent weeks, is that you are no longer relying on one player to get the job done. In Saturday’s win each Tristan Hobley with 28 and Tristan Edwards-Baldwin with 24, had career highs in possessions, indicating the workload is being well spread?
For any team to have sustained success you need everyone to join-in. We were pleased with the performance on Saturday and the equal contributions. It’s not so much about the total possessions but being in the right positions and executing the role and decision making with those possessions. Nic Baroni came in after missing 8-games and was really good on the wing, Michael Lapthorne has earnt his spot down back and performed well, whilst Jordan Faraone got a late call-up on Friday to return to the side and showed the work rate and intensity we have been working towards with him. 
Q: Hobley, Edwards-Baldwin are among a few like Xavier Peacock, Max Dennis and Luke Foley who seem to have thrived with added responsibility, were you always expecting strong performances from what would be your second tier when your state 18 representatives were out of the side?
I wouldn’t say they are “second-tier” players. Those you have mentioned would have all been capable within the 18s squad and a couple probably unlucky to miss out, but that’s football. They have responded really well and understand the areas which they can improve and in doing so has really helped our colts team. Our assistant coaches work hard with the players in the whole squad to get them prepared to play then it is up to the players to take on the advice and execute. What is pleasing is that the work behind the scenes is yielding some results on field and we look forward to continued improvement. 
Q: Another debutant in Saturday’s game with Jonah Symonds making his debut, another who hails from Esperance, what did you make of his first game at Colts level?
Jonah spent all week with us which was great. Being able to train and mix with the boys no doubt helped his performance on the weekend. Our connection with Esperance needs to be really strong, Michael Farmer has done a lot of work this year in building stronger relationships and Jonah this week and Jacob Buckley last week (against Peel) have been great. We also had Harvey Bishop come up a couple of times during the pre-season. Jonah was really strong through the midfield in his work rate and being physical in the contest. He really stood up in the second half with his gut-running and decision making when we lost a couple of players which was critical. Hopefully he will be able to get up for a couple more games before the season ends and I can see him building a good career at senior level in the years to come.   
Q: Previously had mentioned a lack of potency up forward, must have been nice to see Christian Martin get on the end of a few and finish with a bag of four goals?
Christian has been working hard with Richard Dennis (forward coach), at times he drops his work rate which impacts his output. There was greater consistency in his leading work and body use this week and therefore got the scoreboard results. We have been looking at our set-ups over the last month to ensure greater results of our work up the field. It was pleasing to see this reflected on Saturday but I still think there are areas we can improve.  
Q: Looking ahead to next week’s game, another big challenge against East Perth, with a win in that one giving your further breathing space on the finals chasing pack. Any expectations ahead of this crucial match?
East Perth got us on Good Friday earlier in the season so it will be a good test of our improvement. Like every week, we expect the players in the team to work hard for each other and stick to their roles, if we can achieve this the result will take care of itself. Every game is important and we don’t want to waste any opportunities from things we can control.
Before we go, can I also acknowledge our game-day sponsors and player award winners. Each week Topolinis Caffé, Paul Harris and AE Hoskins provide the awards for our players and their support is greatly appreciated by the colts team.
AE Hoskins Award – Tristan HobleyTopolinis Caffé Award – Christian MartinPaul Harris Award – Luke Foley

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