Demons ready to break Shark Park hoodoo
Perth forward Matt Rogers says his side won’t take round four opponents East Fremantle lightly, as the Demons look to break an 11-year gap between wins at East Fremantle Oval.
Perth last tasted success at Shark Park in round 7 2009, having dropped their past 13 games at the venue.
Rogers, in his second stint with Perth after six seasons with Swan Districts, was confident that the streak would end on Saturday.
“It will take a fair bit of hard work, we certainly aren’t going to take an East Fremantle side lightly, if it was up to me of course we would like that streak to end on Saturday.” Rogers told Sports Drive on Tuesday.
The Demons are coming off a bye in round three, having won their first two games of an abbreviated season.
With as few as four or five wins needed to secure a finals berth, optimism is high that Perth are set to break their finals drought that extends back to 1997.
Rogers expected his team to come out strongly after a weekend off.
“I think most clubs struggle after a bye traditionally, at least for that first quarter or first ten-minute period,” he said.
“Everything would have been tried over the years from light weeks to heavy weeks on the training track, we had a pretty big session last night. We’ll fine tune a few things Wednesday and keep things pretty standard and hopefully be ready to launch.”
The 29-year-old expected the Sharks to be a tough opponent.
“I’m expecting a really tough game, they really have some serious top end talent with some AFL experience, guys like Strnadica, Boekhorst and Eardley if they start to get going, they could be as good a team as any,” Rogers said.
“We’re looking forward to a really tough contest, they’ve got a really good midfield, with the likes of Leggett joining their backline they have some stability there. In saying that if we play our way for four quarters, we’re pretty confident but we have to go and do the job.”
With former Demon Cody Leggett set to play his first game against his former club, Rogers says his club has moved on from his departure from Lathlain.
“No doubt the fans will give him a bit of stick I can imagine, as far as the playing group is concerned we’ve probably got eyes on a bigger prize in four points,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone in our playing group is going to make a big deal out of it, I don’t think the coach is going to detract from our game plan to set anything up for Cody.
“We’re going to be focusing on our game plan. All the best to Cody and his career but this weekend it’s about our football club.”
Rogers, a high half forward with a raking left foot said he couldn’t help but be impressed by teenage sensation Logan McDonald, who has kicked 7 goals across his first two matches.
“I’ve got a poster of him on my wall at the minute, that’s the level he’s at the minute,” he said.
“He’s been super. He’s got two best on grounds internally, he’s leading the Bernie Naylor Medal. It might be at the stage now where we have to stop talking about him or he will have to be put on ice.
“He’s just a super kid and is really growing in confidence.”
Rogers said the playing group felt the excitement around the club as they chase their finals dream.
“With every win there’s excitement at Perth. We felt it last year, we are feeling it again,” he said.
“Although I think after last year’s early start and then tapering off the fans are being a little bit more patient. We just have to keep beating the sides we are expected to beat and then match it with the bigger teams, then we’ll be in good shape.”
The Demons clash with the Sharks commences at 2:30 PM on Saturday.