Parker: 'We need to play our brand of football'

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 - 12:00 PM by Katie de Haer

Football Operations Manager Warren Parker is confident East Perth can turn the tide ahead of Saturday’s clash with Claremont at Leederville Oval.

Despite ultimately suffering a 32-point loss to West Perth on the weekend, the Royals remained in the contest, just 16-points adrift of the Falcons at three quarter time.

“Frustration is one of the main things we’ve been feeling over the past couple of days as we’ve been digesting the loss,” Parker told 91.3 Sport FM on Tuesday.

“Our strength is around the ball, in our midfield, and we backed ourselves in, but West Perth were very ferocious. They got the better of us and as much as we lost the game by five goals in the end, we were only two goals down at a stage during the fourth quarter.

“As poorly as we thought we played, we were still a chance to win the game and that was the frustrating part when we walked away. If we had of played a bit more of our game and a bit more of the way we wanted, we could have snuck away with a win up there which would have been very handy in this shortened season.”

The result means the Royals now sit two wins outside of the top four, with one win and two losses for the season.

West Perth had first use of the ball, winning the clearances 46-34 and contested possession 159-121, and dominated the inside 50 count, with 51 entries to East Perth’s 25. 

“Credit to West Perth, I thought they hunted the ball all day really well and they put a lot of pressure on us which forced a lot of skill errors when we were in possession of the footy.

“We didn’t play the way that we wanted to play, we were forced down the line a lot which isn’t our game style.

“We certainly didn’t take full advantage of the ruck work that Scott Jones was giving us. We need to clear that up for this weekend because Claremont’s midfield is a real strength of theirs.”

The Royals could regain defenders Corey Watts (dislocated finger) and Jamie Rudrum (concussion) for the clash against the Tigers.

“With all concussions you’ve got to be really careful. We’ll monitor Jamie during the week,” said Parker.

“For Corey, it was a nasty dislocation (to his index finger) against East Fremantle but no break, which is good. We’ll just have to see how the wound heals up over the week and if he can get through with a bit of strapping, he’ll be right for selection.” 

Parker said that off-season recruit Angus Schumacher would continue to improve as the season progresses. The 21-year-old was managing an ankle injury on the weekend but remained impactful for the Royals against West Perth.

“He picked up 28 touches and 11 clearances on the weekend. His disposal, he’d admit, wasn’t as good as he’d like it to be, but Angus is a quality player and a quality young man. He’s building into the WAFL, having come over from Victoria at the end of last year.

“He’s a young kid, he’s only 21 years of age, so he’ll take a bit of time as well. We thought he was solid on the weekend.”

Another recruit to impress Parker is former West Perth midfielder, Aidan Lynch.

“Lynchy’s come in and been fantastic for our group of young players and emerging leaders. He’s about team success, and trying to get the best out of himself to achieve team success.

“He brings that character, he brings that wealth of experience. His footy stood up in the first couple of weeks. He’ll admit that he was a little bit down on the weekend, playing against his old side. They brought some pressure inside, and we struggled at times.

“He’ll be looking to bounce back against Claremont this week, but he’s been a fantastic addition to the football club this year and I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Parker said it was key for East Perth to get off to a good start against the Tigers, who are in third position on the WAFL ladder after four rounds.

“For us, it’s about playing our way. I think when we’ve played our way we’ve opened teams up and looked really good. For some reason, we haven’t been able to do that over four quarters.

“We certainly need to tidy up our starts. We’ve given teams a start and then had to claw our way back. Arguably, up until our game against West Perth, you’d say we’d only lost two quarters of football.

“We need to tidy that up, we need to get quicker starts and start playing our brand of football – backing ourselves in with a bit more confidence.

“Claremont are a good team, it’ll be a good test for our side.”