I watched the coaches video last week. Hirdy was his usual glowing self, even though the team had put on a poor showing. Basset was stoic. When it was time for Harvey to talk, I felt that he was the angriest of the three. He mentioned that the team had put themselves in a hole, that the teamís loss was largely of their own making.
The same could probably be said of the first ten minutes of this game. Had Joey kicked truly. Had Kavanagh kicked a confidence-building goal, maybe the result might have been different.
Then came 45 minutes of ineptitude and as a fan, you begin to think about the choices at selection, the external distractions and the general will of the team. For three years this team has felt very similar. Running on the might of Watson and a resolute defence, goal-scoring and midfield speed was always the real weakness.
By definition, this repeated formula hoping for a different result is supposedly the definition of insanity.
The Cats had their own way all game and there was little resistance particularly during the second and third quarters. Hooker was admirable against Hawkins and it was the volume of attack that eventually surrendered three goals.
In attack, like it has been through the year, Colyer has been the speedster the team always needed but has had very little in support. Heppell has not yet grown into Watsonís boots and needs another young soul to prop him up.
With West Coast and Hawthorn over the next three weeks, surely the same formula canít be rolled out expecting a different result. The team needs a spark from hungrier players, from those wanting to make a name for themselves on the bigger stage.
Bellchambers will surely be replaced, but by whom? Carlisle looked useful in the end but could you sacrifice him against Natanui? If the next best option is Giles, would that be a strategic error in the expanses of Subiaco? Couldnít Kommer be placed on the long term injury list to allow McKernan to play again?
The midfield also needs a boost. Kavanagh was intrepid in the first quarter and must be given confidence to play on. If not to give him some belief but maybe to bolster his trade value (Sheedy used to do the same with the lesser names late in the season). Fantasiaís speed and endeavour was also useful; the boyís belief in himself is the kind of swagger needed to make a difference in the game.
Melksham needs some freedom to run. His baby-sitting skills against the teamís better mids has ebbed away and heís more useful kicking into attack. Again, a player canít be sold if his worth canít be demonstrated.
This team looks like it has lost some fire and it canít expect a different result by rolling out the same squad. Itís time to make some changes to see if those in the second tier can actually make it. If not, then it really is time to rethink the makeup of the squad to plan for #17.