Why the Dogs, Bevo aren’t satisfied
LUKE Beveridge admits he has no idea where the Western Bulldogs sit in the 2018 pecking order after his youthful squad made it three straight wins against the Brisbane Lions.
The Dogs are very much a side in transition less than two years after their 2016 premiership triumph, leaving Beveridge unsure what they can deliver in the short term.
"It doesn't really bother me, but I don't think people can shake themselves out of comparing this team to the team that played two years ago," Beveridge said after Saturday night's 14-point victory.
"It's virtually a totally different team. What happened in '16 is relevant because it's an important part of our history and there's still lessons that we've learned about sticking together in tough times and what it means to win together.
"So I'm uncertain as to what we can do. Keeping an open mind is critical. I always think we can win, we'll go to Adelaide thinking we can beat Adelaide.
"But are we satisfied? Is this the path we envisaged? Not really. The big losses still grate on you and you never like to be poleaxed like we were in three games this year, but apart from those, the narrow loss to Sydney and the four wins have been encouraging."
Beveridge praised his side's "contest" and "hardness" around the ball in the win over the Lions. The Dogs were efficient, punishing Brisbane and kicking 11 goals off the back of Lions mistakes.
Jack Macrae had a career-high 47 possessions, after 40 last week, to elevate himself into the Brownlow conversation.
"Can we just keep a lid on 'Jacko'?" Beveridge joked.
"I just said to him and his teammates that now he becomes a pretty big headache for the opposition.
"He's working extremely hard and I think he's learned through stealth on how to manage a tag and for him to accumulate like that becomes important, as long as he continues to use the ball well for us.
"His skill set is a bit different from some of the others. He's a bit dour and strong and tough in-close and that left foot can sometimes be unusual, but it can sometimes be quite deadly and his hands are elite."
Beveridge was optimistic Aaron Naughton wouldn't miss too much footy after the young defender rolled his right ankle late in the first quarter.
"The doctors said they're hoping it won't be too long. They said he strained those lateral ligaments ... but some of those ankles can be quick turnarounds," he said.
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