WAFL Watch: Bucovaz adapts
Third-year forward Ben Bucovaz was moved to half-back a month ago as an experiment, but the 20-year-old has taken to the new role so well that he is in the mix for senior selection this week.
Bucovaz, who was placed on Fremantle’s rookie list this season after two injury-ruined years on the senior list, was Fremantle’s WAFL player of the round after driving East Fremantle to a 15-point win over West Perth with an excellent final quarter.
The Geelong Falcons recruit is still finding his feet in the new half-back role, but assistant coach Simon Lloyd said he was enjoying the switch.
“It was a bit of an experiment for us. We wanted to see how he’d go back there and he’s played some good football,” Lloyd said.
“He’s still working on his defensive positioning, but he seems to be enjoying himself at half-back at the moment and it’s been a good run of form.
“At half-back you need players that make really good decisions and can use the ball well and set-up by foot and that’s a strength of Ben’s.
“As a half-back we thought he could settle back in to playing some good WAFL football.”
Fremantle’s WAFL stocks hit a season low in round 11, with seven players involved in the State competition as injuries take their toll.
Ruckman Zac Clarke had 10 possessions and 15 hit-outs in East Perth’s Foxtel Cup win over Northern Territory Thunder.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Hawthorn at the MCG, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.
Swan Districts 14.11 (95) lost to Claremont 17.13 (115)
Clayton had a good first quarter playing on-ball for Swan Districts, showing some good defensive acts and spread from stoppages. He played with a lot of energy early. We were pleased with his run-and-carry and we would like him to maintain this for four quarters. He’s got to make sure he uses his speed, which is his biggest strength.
Byron ran hard to get his 22 touches for Claremont, finishing with five inside 50s, three of which set up goals. He worked really hard inside at the stoppages and played team football, setting up other players with good direction and communication. He used the ball effectively, so it was a pleasing game.
Michael played as a high forward and in the midfield for Swan Districts, and he found it hard to get away from his tight-checking opponent early in the game. He ran hard into attack but just didn’t get rewarded, which would have been frustrating. He was then moved and played a run-with role on Ryan Brabazon.
Perth 20.7 (127) d Subiaco 14.13 (97)
Jack played between full-forward and centre half-forward for Subiaco, finishing with 2.2 and showing a lot of energy early. He was constantly getting involved with his leading and re-positioning and his work-rate was the strength of his game. We were pleased with Jack’s defensive pressure and there were some really positive contested efforts.
Jayden played half-forward for Perth for the entire game and probably needed to work higher up the ground at times. He lifted his work-rate and got more involved in the second half and there were some strong leads to provide an outlet for his teammates. Our focus for Jayden when he does win the ball around stoppages is making sure he shows a bit more burst speed.
West Perth 10.11 (71) lost to East Fremantle 13.8 (86)
Josh always gets his four to five shots on goal and he finished with 2.2 for West Perth. He didn’t get much of the ball early, but he looked lively around forward stoppages and played a team-oriented game. He kicked an impressive running goal in the last quarter when he presented up at the ball carrier and wasn’t used and then worked back hard towards goal and received the handball. We’ve got to keep Josh focused on working hard in defensive transition.
Ben played as a running backman for the majority of the game for East Fremantle, moving to half-forward for 10 minutes in the third quarter. The opposition tried to pull him back to the goalsquare at all centre bounces, but he responded smartly and was able to position himself well. He used the ball well by foot and he was very attacking with his run off half-back. When the game was in the balance in the last quarter he had 10 possessions.