Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has lamented the misconduct that cost his side goals in Saturday night’s dramatic 13-point grand final win over Fremantle.
Despite leading by 41 points over 20 minutes into the second term, the Dockers found a spark and kicked four quick goals to go into halftime looking down at just a 15-point deficit.
The first of those Dockers’ goals came from a free kick from Ed Richards, who latched onto the arm of opponent Michael Walters.
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And with a half-time performance against the Dockers, they kept the game going in the second half to stay alive in 2022.
Beveridge said after the game: “My rise was really like a thousand deaths.”
“We got away from some things that were good in the early parts of the game.
“The way our guys hung in there, held out for a while… It’s a big disappointment at the end. It’s a missed opportunity.”
Beveridge said his side had “lost their edge” on the scoreboard as they played ill-disciplined.
Richards chased down Michael Frederick for Fremantle on 20m in the final season.
Josh Dunkley was involved in a tussle with Docker Lachie Schultz as teammates including Adam Treloar came to his aid and Fremantle, distracted by the scuffle of players, scored when the referee simply put his foot in and Dockers played on.
“Those were the defining moments of the game,” he said.
“We were a well-disciplined side on the way… but to go in that situation and want to wave the flag over the boundary – there was no doubt the ball was going in, so it was a brain fog for everyone in it.”
By intercepting the defensive zone, 50 m.
“I didn’t see the subtlety in it,” said Beveridge.
“I’m more concerned about hits on the face of our front line.”
Beveridge said he believed the club had high hopes for 2023 after the players’ disappointing season ended at Optus Stadium.
“There is a lot of work to be done by all the clubs to get a chance to play in the finals. There is a strong belief that we can do better,” he said.
“Coming out of last year I was hoping that the injury in the grand final would not have any lasting effects.
I think we all reflect on ourselves and say, ‘I can be flexible, I can be better,’ and that’s what we have to strive for next year.
Marcus Bontempelli was one of the dogs in the play especially in the first half, dominating the half forward.
He finished with 30 tackles, two goals, seven tackles and over 630m.
Jason Johansson kicked two goals from eight balls in what could be his final game with the Dogs.
Beveridge admitted Johansson, Dunkley and “a few” other players were in the same boat as they weighed up their futures.