Focus on Falcons
ADAM Pickering is rapt with Swan Districts’ improvement as his team chases a first finals appearance since 2017.
The fourth-year coach is yet to taste September action during his time at Bassendean, but Saturday’s hardfought 13-point win over East Perth at Leederville Oval — 10.8 (68) to 7.13 (55) — has the Swans sitting pretty in second spot.
Their 3-1 record has already equalled last year’s win tally (3-5) as the team continues to prove pre-season pundits wrong.
“That’s the goal, to play finals,” Pickering said. “But we’re coming from the wooden spoon in 2019 to seventh last year.
“It’s always been our plan to build. We all want to play finals but I’m not counting my chickens yet.
“We’re enjoying the wins as they’ve been few and far between over the last few years and we’re just focusing on West Perth next game.
“They’re a quality outfit and we haven’t beaten them in a couple of years, either.”
The win was even more impressive considering Matt Riggio (heel) and Brayden Noble (finger) played through injuries.
It looked like the Royals, who conceded the first six goals to trail by 37 points at quarter-time, were going to complete a stunning comeback when Eddie Simpson booted his fifth major at the seven-minute mark of the final term.
But Pickering’s charges dug deep to make sure East Perth’s lead lasted less than three minutes.
“I couldn’t have asked for a much better start but to East Perth’s credit, their physicality and work around the footy was really good in the second and third quarters,” Pickering said.
“We couldn’t get our hands on the footy and it felt like we were under pressure every time we did.”
“Brayden Noble dislocated his finger and it pierced the skin halfway through the second quarter and Matt Riggio was pretty much on one leg with a sore heel so we had to play him up forward.
“So to get headed in the last quarter and have two guys at half power and still come back and win, it was a great win.
“We weren’t perfect but it was a really good win to come away with.”
The addition of VFL guns Sam Fisher, Frank Anderson, Jesse Palmer and Chris Jones over the past couple of seasons has helped bridge the gap between the veterans and youngsters at the black and whites.