WAFL Watch: van Berlo attacks
Fremantle stopper Jay van Berlo is regarded as one of the most professional players at the club, so it comes as no surprise that he has been able to carry out plans to become a more offensive player this season.
Regarded as an effective small defender or midfield tagger, van Berlo has been working in the WAFL to develop the attacking side of his game, with the results clear to see in round 17 of the State competition.
The 22-year-old was Fremantle’s WAFL player of the round following his performance against South Fremantle, finishing with 18 possessions and four inside 50s in his team’s 17-point win.
“With the way that West Perth is playing, Jay has had the opportunity to play on a wing and also midfield and he’s showing more proactive positioning at stoppages,” assistant coach Simon Lloyd said.
“He has spent a lot of time working on his skills and we’re seeing that with his finishing work.
“When the game became closer, he went into a more negating role, so it’s just about getting the balance right for Jay.”
There were 13 Fremantle players in action for their WAFL clubs at the weekend, with Nick Suban making his return from a broken leg in Claremont’s 16-point win over SANFL club Port Adelaide in the Foxtel Cup semi-final.
Lloyd said Suban’s touch on the training track had been very good and he was capable of slotting into the half-back role vacated by the injured Roger Hayden this week.
Ahead of selection for this week’s Western Derby, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.
South Fremantle 18.10 (118) lost to West Perth 21.9 (135)
Josh moved well around the inside-50 stoppages for West Perth and his line at the contest was very good. He does play a very bullocking and physical game for someone so young, so that’s a real positive. We would have liked him to have more repeat leads and he was a bit slow to get going, but he still ended up kicking three goals from his seven disposals.
Kepler’s first quarter for West Perth was very good, with his intent evident from the very first bounce. He played both high and deep forward and also in the midfield, winning two early clearances. He led strongly when he was forward and played with an aggressive edge. Overall it was a solid game from Kepler. His main focus is his attack on the ball in the air and taking contested marks inside 50.
Jay van Berlo
Jay played a more offensive game than normal for West Perth, working into some really proactive positions on the wing and attacking the game. He won early clearances and was involved in a number of effective forward entries. He kicked a great running goal and had 18 possessions, using the ball very well.
East Perth 18.15 (123) d Perth 8.11 (59)
Hamish started forward for East Perth and rotated through the ruck and interchange. He was playing under a little bit of duress with an injury and struggled to get his game going, but he battled through. The main focus for Hamish is his work-rate and leading patterns.
Casey continued playing forward and he could have kicked three or four goals for Perth if not for poor conversion. We couldn’t fault his work-rate or effort; he just needs to take his opportunities in front of goal. Casey’s main focus at the moment is his contested marking, because we know the difference he could make if he starts plucking a few big grabs. He finished with one goal and seven marks.
Jayden started at half-forward for Perth and kicked an early goal with a clever snap before moving up onto a wing. When he does get the footy he looks all class and he can do damage with his possessions, but he needed to work harder in that wing role to get himself to more contests. He understands what he needs to work on and it’ll come with time and guidance.
Joel started on the interchange bench for Perth and rotated through the ruck, having a real crack in a position that he hasn’t played in a whole lot. He took a couple of strong grans and covered the ground well. The pleasing thing for us was that showed good agility and gathered some good ground balls. He also had seven tackles, so we were pleased with Joel’s day and it’s something he can build on.
Swan Districts 9.16 (70) lost to Peel Thunder 21.7 (133)
Clayton started on a wing for Swan Districts and his spread from stoppages was very good, which has been the big focus for us. He moved to half-forward for most of the second half, having a quiet third quarter, but he got going again in the last and had eight touches for the term. He scouted the packs well, provided offensive run and showed some real instructive voice around the ground.
Clancee started at half-forward for Swan Districts opposed to Jesse Crichton and got off to a good start, pushing up the ground to stoppages and losing Jesse occasionally around ball-ups. In the second half he played deep back due to some injuries. He finished with 25 possessions and eight tackles, and we were pleased with some of his hard-ball wins and his physical pressure. He missed a few targets, but overall it was a good day.
Jesse started at half-back for Peel Thunder opposed to Clancee Pearce and he was lost a little bit early. He was at his best in a really effective third quarter, winning nine touches, providing a lot of offensive run and kicking effectively. When he moves at speed and takes the game on he really looks like an AFL player, so it was a good step for Jesse on the weekend and we were pleased with his efforts.
Peter played as a key back for Peel Thunder opposed to quality WAFL forward Tim Geappen and there was only really one occasion in the first quarter when he was beaten on the lead. From that point on he never looked like being beaten in a one-on-one. He was really aggressive in his spoiling, he took a couple of good contested marks and he mopped up nicely when the ball was in his area. We were impressed with his competitiveness.
Claremont 11.7 (73) d Port Adelaide 8.9 (57)
Byron played wing and on-ball for Claremont and was very good in all aspects of his game over four quarters. He won contested ball, he spread and defended well, and his ball-use was a real positive of his game, particularly on his non-preferred. His energy and his work-rate to get to contests also stood out.
Nick played in the backline for Claremont and started really well, repositioning his opponent and providing offensive run. It was his first game back and he was a general back there, finding a really good balance of playing hard one-on-one and then also positioning well as a plus one. His physicality was very good and he showed leadership.