Given our performance yesterday, it is essential I write to our members and supporters immediately. Following the game, the players and coaches went directly to WAFC to watch a replay. We spent 2.5 hours and only made it through the first half. There were many honest and constructive conversations. In short, our performance was embarrassing and insipid. You deserve more. It was evident that we did not come mentally prepared for the match. From the first bounce we were second to the ball, undisciplined and refused to work hard to stop the opposition’s ball movement or to create opportunities for ourselves. Currently our skills are a long way below league standard. This remains a significant source of frustration as our training standards have continued to improve over the last two months. In particular, we rated our training last week as the best of the season/preseason. Perhaps therein lies one of our problems, we are content far too easily. We will continue to push our training standards and hold players to account for this on match day as well. Our structures again, were poorly executed. Players appear either unsure or unwilling to adhere to team plans and I will take responsibility for this. I need to and will find a way to ensure our game plan is executed better. Our defensive pressure was occasional at best. With just 81 one percent efforts in the match (our target is 100) we are simply not working hard enough to close down opponents. This is both a problem in work rate and reaction time. We were either outnumbered at contests or too slow to react which lead to most players being caught in between contests. We need to be more decisive and deliberate in our attack on the opposition when defending. Two goals in a game of football is obviously unacceptable. Certainly, our goal kicking did not assist in this area. Another area for improvement. Perhaps of biggest concern is our inability to stand up and stem the flow when under pressure. I saw too many heads drop when things weren’t going our way. We need to understand that football is a tough game and league football requires a steely resolve to stand up under fire both as a team and an individual. Importantly, I thought Tom Keough was able to provide real impact in the midfield when moved there part way through the game. I thought Aaron Anderson displayed a consistent work ethic and Jake Wilson made some important defensive plays.
As coach of West Adelaide Football Club, I apologise. I am responsible for team performance and this week I failed you. I have begun and will continue to have the honest conversations required to address our shortcomings and ascertain why we came with such a poor mental approach. The players and I know that we have let you down and ourselves down. But in sport and life we are defined by our resilience, not by our perfections. It is only round 2. We will continue to look for every learning opportunity that comes with such a loss and then start looking to next week. I understand, given our performance, that many of you will not be inclined to travel out to Elizabeth for this week’s game. But in dark hours, we need your support more than ever. I can only ask you to keep the faith and know that we will do everything we can to improve.