MONAGHAN PASSIONATE AS EVER FOR FALCONS SUCCESS

Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 7:19 AM by Chris Pike

EVERY game that Bill Monaghan coaches at West Perth, he extends his tenure as the club's longest-serving coach and every win he oversees grows his legacy as coaching the Falcons to the most wins, but his focus and passion remains as strong as ever.

On the back of his 204-game playing career at both Subiaco and Peel Thunder, Monaghan moved into a successful coaching stint with the Lions under Peter German as his assistant and then premiership-winning reserves coach.

Monaghan then had to undergo some disappointments by being overlooked for senior coaching positions and by the time he put his hand up to coach West Perth in 2009 after Todd Curley stood down upon accepting a role with Fremantle, he didn’t expect much.

He was even almost to the point where he thought being a senior coach might be something that just wasn’t going to happen if he wasn’t ultimately successful in applying for West Perth's job because it can be quite an exhaustive process.

That's quite remarkable to think that looking back 10 years given the history that Monaghan has gone on to create as coach of West Perth.

Monaghan has coached West Perth in both more games and to more wins than anybody else in history and he recently passed the 200-game milestone becoming the first person to ever do that at the club.

Not only that, Monaghan became the first man ever to play 200 games in the WAFL and go on to be a non-playing coach for more than 200 games.

That all adds up to quite the legacy he has already created and there's no end in sight in terms of his passion, dedication and ability to coach with West Perth currently in third position on the WAFL ladder with a 6-4 record.

The Falcons have the chance to further close in on a top two position upon hosting Perth this Saturday at Joondalup Arena. That's a Perth team who Monaghan has an overall 19-2 record against in his time as West Perth coach with the Falcons having won 14 straight over the Demons.

While at some stage in the future Monaghan will be happy to sit back and reflect on his accomplishments, right now all his focus is on the job at hand and he's happy with the way the 2018 is going.

Three of West Perth's losses this season to South Fremantle, Subiaco and Peel Thunder could have gone the other way so take out the Round 2 loss to East Perth, the Falcons have been supremely impressive to date in 2018.

But he knows they need to continue to improve if they can reach their full potential this year.

"I'm still very passionate about what I do but it probably has changed a little bit with the way I go about it," Monaghan said.

"I'm probably not as gung-ho and cranky as I was at times early on, and you learn to change and modify what you do, and work with people you've got whether that be staff or players. 

"We are in a relatively good spot at the moment and I'm lucky enough to have some really good players at my disposal but we also know there's plenty of work for us to do. 

"At 6-4 our season has been good up to date with three narrowish losses – one by eight points, one by three and then 22 points to Subiaco. 

"We played well on all three of those days and a couple could have gone our way. We've played some decent footy but we have some big challenges ahead and we need to make sure we keep winning."

As for what he has achieved over his 202-game tenure as West Perth coach which has now included 112 wins, Monaghan couldn’t be more thankful that the club gave him the chance in the first place.

"I'm really happy that West Perth gave me the opportunity to become a senior coach first of all and now to get to 200 games, albeit once you are involved in coaching those sort of things don't really play on your mind very much," he said.

"We've had some ups and downs, but hopefully more ups in my 10 years and I think I've done a reasonable job while being fully aware there's plenty of work ahead. That's what we are focusing for."

To say the game has changed significantly over his 202 games as coach would be a great understatement too and while he's not sure if the changes have been for the better in the bigger picture or not, he's had to adapt his coaching philosophies along the way.

"I think the biggest change is the way the game's played and whether it's better or not, I'd say most people say it's not. I use the example of rotations and at the moment we're doing about mid-140s as an average and in my first couple of years mid-30s was the number we started with," Monaghan said.

"Just the way the players adapt to that and we try and keep running throughout the whole game means there's a lot of pressure on. Our systems aren’t anywhere near what they are in the AFL and I know they are working back the other way, and I think that will happen in the WAFL at some stage.

"The reason it hasn’t so far is because you need to employ another couple of people at every game to monitor the rotations. That has probably been the biggest change and we are starting to go back to having attacking being more important than defending. 

"For most of my first two or three years it was all about defending and keeping scores low, now most sides are trying to hurt sides on counterattack and trying to take advantage of inside 50s than maybe they were seven or eight years ago."