“WE GOT the contest right.”

Hailing what he regarded as his side’s best performance and victory of the season so far, AFL Senior Coach Michael Voss said it was a collective buy-in which allowed Carlton to take the significant scalp of Fremantle.

The Blues brought the heat from the opening bounce against the Dockers, implementing the lessons learned from Round 6 to run away with a 31-point win.

Here’s what Voss had to say to media post-match.

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AFL R15 | Voss post-match

Michael Voss speaks to the media following the Round 15 win over Fremantle.

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On the importance of a top-two scalp:

“It was a signature win. If you want to get belief, that was one of them. 

“We’ve had moments where we’ve been on and off and we haven’t been able to get a four-quarter performance. This wasn’t just against any side, but a side that was second on the ladder. 

“They test you in every way: we got an audit on our system the last time we played them. To be able to go to work on that, work on our game and take feedback, there’s humility in that. 

“To learn, be able to adjust and then face them again and put some of the things we learnt, it was a signature win and the best win we’ve had.”

On the improved contest:

“I was incredibly proud of them: the way they attacked the game. 

“You can probably excuse them for not getting a lot of confidence after the first half when the scoreboard wasn’t ticking over. But it was strong reinforcement from the coaches around the players going about it the right way and keep investing in what we value. 

“Fortunately, the players stuck at that task and they kept bringing the heat. Freo is a very good football side, so we expected them to return serve on us. For us to be able to get into that arm wrestle and be happy to live in that space shows huge growth. 

“I’m very proud of them and I think clearly our best performance for the year.”

On Sam Walsh:

“His game was amazing. 

“He took it to a completely new level today and challenged them on all fronts. He had a game out of the box, that’s for sure. 

“Fortunately at the same time, he had a few mates with him. We needed a few players to step up and take collective responsibility about what we wanted.” 

00:00 Mins
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AFL R15 | Walsh racks up career-high 40 disposals

Watch the best of Sam Walsh in the Round 15 win over Fremantle.

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On faith in the system:

“Every time I’ve seen us play, whether it’s been good or bad, I look at us and go ‘how can we stay at us for longer?’. 

“We’ve got a good method, we stay at it for longer, we’ve got something that will stand up in big moments against some really good opposition. We’ll continue to reinforce those good habits.”

On defensive stability:

“It was a big focus for us. 

“No team can live with 76 inside 50s and expect a win on the back of it. Every coach would sit in this seat and say they want to be able to be in more assertive positions in the ground and play a bit more in your front half. 

“To Fremantle’s credit, it was proving hard to get through early on. The relentlessness of the pressure we brought and method we stuck to — we were hoping at some stage it would overwhelm them. 

“Fortunately, we stuck at it and we were able to get the result.”

On Brodie Kemp:

“He has come in a couple of times now and been able to do that. Against GWS, he was able to come in and do a job and I can put Lewis Young in the same category. 

“His growth over the course of the year has been quite significant.”

On commentary around personnel:

“Sometimes you can ask the question about who’s not there and I want to answer that for you, but I don’t believe in that: it’s about who is there and what we’re able to do and how we stay connected as a group. 

“If we bring all that, it provides a chance. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it gives you a chance.”

On Aaron Hamill’s influence:

“He takes on our defensive phase of the game. I thought we were right on today in that part of it. 

“Some of it has been a bit of a slow burn because we’ve introduced new concepts to the group at the start of pre-season, and at times we’re regressing to some old behaviours and we need to stick at us for longer. 

“It’s constant reinforcement: ‘Sammy’ has a really strong belief in the way we want to defend the ground and we believe we’ve got good commitment and buy-in from the players about what we want to achieve. 

“We’ve needed time, to be able to coach it and put detail into it and get everyone on board with the same task.”

On using the Round 6 loss to Fremantle as inspiration: 

“Not really. You have particular moments in your season when you’re growing, and there’s where we’re at. 

“We’re in a transitional year. We’re finding these important moments to confirm the direction we’re going on. We had one of those against Fremantle: they were able to pull us apart more than we would’ve liked, but it’s feedback.

“We get the feedback and we go to learn, to put more detail in all phases of the game. I don’t want to take it away from the simple thing: we got the contest right today. 

“We had pressure around the ball, we got our contest method right and that gave us the opportunity to get strong territory on the field and put us in great positions on the ground. That’s the full stop on it.”

On the players’ approach:

“We fully appreciate where we’ve come from as well as we’re going.

"The boys speak a fair bit about how much this means to them. They’re a hungry group of players that want to do really well.”

On Matthew Owies:

“Matt started the warm-up and his calf was a bit tight and wasn’t getting any better. We took the conservative approach, and given we had Motlop as the sub, it was somewhat like for like.”

On Jack Newnes’ milestone game: 

“He’s such a well-respected player. 

“He’s unassuming and doesn’t want the spotlight: he probably found it uncomfortable this week because that’s not his thing. 

“He took it in his stride and for him to play well, I know how desperate he is to be part of this group.”