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Pickering Impressed with Swan's Emphatic Response

Friday, May 4, 2018 - 6:00 PM by Chris Pike
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SWAN Districts coach Adam Pickering couldn't have been happier with his team's return to the WAFL winner's list last Saturday and especially to have done so which such a strong and even contribution across the board.

Swans started the 2018 season under the new coach in impressive fashion with wins against Perth and Peel Thunder.

But the black-and-whites then suffered defeats at the hands of Subiaco and West Perth to be under a degree of pressure heading into last Saturday's clash with the also struggling East Fremantle at Steel Blue Oval.

Swans, though, came out and had the first 12 scoring shots of the game and kicked the opening seven goals of the contest to blow the Sharks away.

The end result was a dominant 90-point victory for Swan Districts to improve to a 3-2 record on the season heading into this Saturday's clash with South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval prior to the State game break.

Pickering couldn’t have been happier with the way his Swans team responded to the losses against the Lions and Falcons.

"It was just really pleasing to come off those two losses and it's one of those points in a season where you can go either way as a group, especially when you've got young players," Pickering said.

"You can drop your bundle a little bit and start doubting what you've been doing all summer or you can dig in and fight, and bounce back. That's what the pleasing thing was about what we did.

"We came out really hard, had a good first quarter and at one stage it was 7.5 to zero so they set the tone for the day. It probably was our best performance of the year."

Most pleasing for Pickering was the fact that all 22 players in the team made a strong contribution and that came after some hard decisions were made at the selection table including the dropping of prolific 116-game ball winning midfielder Adam Faulkner.

Swans had 12 goal scorers in the big win led by Corey Gault who kicked four majors while Matthew Rogers, Todd Banfield, Brayden Noble, Levi Ridley, Albert Dean and Steven Payne.

Rhys Palmer also racked up 28 possessions, Matt Riggio 25, David Ellard 24, Gault 23, Payne 23, Jesse Turner 23, Nathan Blakely 21, Warrick Wilson 20, Tobe Watson 19, Dean 19 and Ridley 18.

Pickering was delighted that all the players, experienced and youthful alike, stepped up in the impressive and dominant performance.

"That's relevant to every team in the WAFL, you need your good players playing well every week and we are lucky that we've got 10 to 12 senior guys who have had some AFL experience or have a huge amount of WAFL experience now," he said.

"Guys like Tony Notte I look at every week and I can't believe he's not on an AFL list because of the things he does. He rarely gets beaten or makes a mistake. There's guys like Kirk Ugle and Alex Howard as well who we really do need to lean on every week.

"If they do their job and play like they should, then you hope those young guys coming through like Tobe Watson, Brayden Hackett, Benny Holman, Reidy and these guys will play their role and that everything clicks."

One player who continues to impress Pickering more and more is ruckman Nathan Blakely.

Pickering admits to not knowing a great deal about him before he first arrived during pre-season to start his tenure as coach at Swans, but once the competitive drills during the summer started he was instantly impressed.

And that has continued with the way he has led the ruck for Swans so far this season after two years out of the game.

"I didn't know much about the 'Doc' and I got to pre-season and people were asking me about him and I wasn’t sure about him. Then I watched him at training and thought who was this unco 6'5 bloke running around," Pickering said.

"Then we got into some match play and I saw what people were talking about. He's a real competitor.

"He's undersized and isn’t jumping like he should be after his knee reconstructions, but when the ball hits the deck he's like an extra midfielder. A bit like Brock Higgins is at the moment at South so that will be a great match up this week."