WAFL Watch: van Berlo reaps rewards
For the majority of this season, Jay van Berlo has had a strong focus on improving the attacking side of his game, having proven himself as a negating option in the past.
Fremantle’s coaches identified decision-making and ball-use as areas for the former rookie to address and he has played in a variety of wing, on-ball and high forward roles to develop.
Van Berlo was named Fremantle’s WAFL player of the round for his 16-possession game for West Perth in round 20 of the state competition, and assistant coach Simon Lloyd said the targeted work was starting to pay off.
“It’s been more about the offensive side with Jay and he’s playing in a role where he’s become a bit more proactive and he’s getting his hands on the ball more,” Lloyd said.
“That is allowing him to make decisions and use the footy, which is what we need.
“The more you put yourself in the environment and the more you train a specific skill, improvement will come.
“Jay is one of our most diligent players and I’ve got no doubt he will continue to improve in that area.”
With Adam McPhee serving a one-match suspension, van Berlo is one player under consideration for an AFL recall.
Ryan Crowley also pressed his claims playing for Subiaco, with 24 possessions and a goal, while Byron Schammer was impressive for Claremont in the Foxtel Cup.
Ahead of Saturday’s clash with Carlton at Patersons Stadium, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.
Subiaco 13.11 (89) d Perth 11.9 (75)
Ryan played through the midfield for Subiaco and, although he was working hard, he didn’t get into the game until the second quarter. He took a strong defensive mark in the first quarter, and he pushed hard forward late in the game to take an uncontested mark and convert an important set shot. Ryan will be one of a number of players in the mix for senior selection this week.
Jack started as a key forward for Subiaco and received a heavy knock to his neck just before quarter time. He took no further part in the game, but all his scans since have been cleared. Obviously Jack had a scare with his neck in 2007, and the medical staff at Subiaco handled this one really well, deciding to be cautious at the time.
Joel started the game for Perth as a dual centre half-forward with Casey Sibosado before moving to a wing and relieving in the ruck. He took a good mark on the lead early in the game, wheeling around to kick a long goal, which was good for his confidence. We were really pleased with his running patterns, which improved considerably from last week. Joel’s work-rate was high and he is building form.
Casey started the game as a key forward for Perth and worked high up the ground, dominating in the first quarter. He had a spring in his step and took a couple of nice marks, demonstrating a great work rate. Unfortunately his possession rate dried up in the second half and fatigue set in. The next step for Casey is to be able to string that sort of early performance together over four quarters.
Justin Bollenhagen (reserves)
Justin played his first game back from a knee injury for Perth, spending time on a wing, in the midfield and also across half-forward. He didn’t get a lot of the footy and we’ll be looking at building on that, but it was good that he got through the game. He finished with two goals in the last quarter and there was an inside-50 kick that demonstrated good vision, so there’s something to build on for next week.
West Perth 10.14 (74) lost to South Fremantle 14.15 (99)
Jay van Berlo
Jay played on-ball, as a high forward and on a wing for West Perth and his kicking and decision-making continued to be a real positive. They are two things he’s worked very hard on and the results are showing. You ask any player about Jay van Berlo and they’ll tell you about his work ethic and his sustained effort and that’s something we saw on the weekend. He also demonstrated some good physicality and bullocking work inside.
Josh injured his elbow in the first five minutes of the game for West Perth and will now be out for a period of time. He’s a tough player and returned to the ground late in the first quarter after strapping it up, but he only lasted a few minutes. His football education will be ongoing while he’s sidelined and an injured elbow on one side doesn’t mean he can’t still be involved, doing some one-handed work.
Claremont 5.8 (38) lost to Williamstown 9.5 (59)
Byron started in the centre square for Claremont and played in the midfield for 80 per cent of the game, with the rest spent at half-forward. It was a really tight one-on-one game, which saw a lot of his possessions coming from clearances in the first half. His body work, his positioning and his instruction around stoppages were all positives and he shook some heavy attention to have an influence in the last quarter.