Thanks Thanks:  3
Likes Likes:  16
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Wherever the dogs are playing
    Posts
    47,596
    Post Thanks / Like

    How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    link



    ONE OF the first people Josh Bruce called at the end of a 2020 season that didn't go to plan was former St Kilda teammate Jack Steele.

    Bruce's debut campaign with the Western Bulldogs saw the key forward recruit manage 14 goals in 17 games, with six of those majors coming in one outing against North Melbourne early in the season.

    He describes it as the "perfect storm" of factors that didn't work: joining a new club and settling into the environment while on the road in Queensland for most of the year with rule changes and shorter games that didn't play to his strengths, all the while waiting for the birth of his second child while away from home.

    But the 28-year-old was intent on not having another year like it in 2021, so he reached out to Steele, now the Saints' skipper. The pair met up in Canberra, where they were both originally drafted to the Giants before separately seeking trades to St Kilda, with Bruce shedding six kilos over summer.

    "At the end of last year I had some really honest conversations with myself and people I trusted as I was pretty disappointed in the season I had last year," Bruce told AFL.com.au.

    "It was kind of a perfect storm of a lot of things that weren't going well for me in my personal life and a lot of other things, so I just knuckled down and went back to Canberra and called Jack Steele, one of my best mates from Canberra.

    "I said 'Mate, I am doing every single session with you running-wise because you nearly won the Brownlow' and he was also All-Australian and had the season he had. Then I got a personal trainer three times a week as well just to knuckle down on the extra fitness base stuff. There's no real secret in this game, it all comes down to hard work."

    That stint lasted two months, with Bruce making his way down to Canberra from the Gold Coast a month after the birth of son August – and the Dogs' elimination final defeat to the Saints. It provided him the perfect block of time to "regroup and recoup" after four months on the road.

    "I think a lot of guys came back in career-best shape this year because they weren't trying to run on the cobblestones of Barcelona and the middle of New York. Everyone could actually get to some proper training venues," Bruce said.

    The benefits have been obvious in the first two weeks of the Dogs' season. Bruce was busy against Collingwood in round one, kicking one goal from 11 marks and 15 disposals, and was busier against West Coast in last Sunday's thriller. He kicked three pivotal goals, including a sharp set shot in the final term that got the Dogs motoring and saw teammate Riley Garcia spotted in the corporate boxes mimicking Bruce's celebration after his fourth-quarter goal.

    "It's pretty funny, it looks like he's taking the piss, but the story is that him and the boys in the box were having a bet on what celebration I'd go with if I kicked it. And he thought I was going to turn to the crowd and give the double fist, but I turned back to the boys," he said.

    "I don't think anyone picked what I did. A few of them were anticipating the one arm in the air, and I almost gave it the Brett Lee lawnmower."

    Bruce isn't getting carried away by what he calls a short sample size. But he has felt the difference of his off-season changes.

    "The way the game's being played currently really suits my style with that workrate and extra length of the quarters. I love playing that 'red time', because essentially in 2020 we were playing three-quarter games so defenders can go with you most of the time," he said.

    "Now the game's opened up it's a good time to be a leading forward. I was talking to 'Rooey' (St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt) the other day and he was hanging to get back out there – he'd probably take 30 marks a week in today's game."

    A mindset change has also helped.

    "At the time [last year] I was trying to stay positive and obviously tried to make the most of it. We were in Queensland, we were playing footy, it's everyone's dream. I was thinking 'I should be really enjoying this'," Bruce said.

    "But there was just something I couldn't quite put my finger on until after the season and I'd started to just really not enjoy the game and a lot of things with that perfect storm I'd just started to fall out of love with it.

    "At the end of the year to just regroup and recoup and work out what was important to me and just having that routine and being more settled and finding that love again for the game has been really refreshing.

    "We've got such a young and exciting group and I'm reaching towards the twilight of my career. I'm not near the end but I'm nearer to the end than the start so I'm just really grateful for the opportunity that I do have left and the group that we've assembled. It's bloody exciting over in the west and the sky's the limit."

    Much has been made of the star-studded midfield the Dogs have pieced together, but Bruce nominated an emerging name as his preferred midfielder to lead to as a forward, likening him to a St Kilda champion.

    "You'd actually be surprised but I'm developing a really nice connection with Patty Lipinski. He's not one of the household names yet but full tilt coming out of the stoppage he is a beautiful kick. He reminds me of Lenny Hayes – it's just a little parcel he puts out in front of you," he said.

    Bruce played in a Good Friday clash with St Kilda in 2018 and will return this week for the clash against North Melbourne, having last week visited the Royal Children's Hospital ahead of the game, as the Dogs aim to start a season 3-0 for the first time since 2009.

    "It's just such a good cause. Hopefully we can raise as much money as possible for the kids and their families and the hospital as they do such an incredible job," he said.

    "As a father of two it's just so humbling and it makes you so grateful for what you've got and these kids are so inspirational. It's a fantastic time slot and one we're really proud to be a part of as a footy club."
    FFC: Established 1877

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  2. Thanks HOSE B ROMERO, josie thanked for this post
    Likes DOG GOD liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    3,375
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Well, he’s certainly had a promising start to the year with 2 good performances so far. It’s good to hear it’s all about workrate. Blind Freddy could see he was not in good body conditioning last year, and we are now seeing a more slimmed down, more focused Bruce, who does indeed seem to be enjoying himself out there.

    He’s definitely an important cog in this team.
    Last edited by DOG GOD; 03-04-2021 at 01:00 PM.
    I will never see #16 the same!!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dogsville
    Posts
    10,828
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    If Brooce plays at his best consistently he will be a valuable asset.

  5. Likes Testekill liked this post
  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,262
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    A good insight into why he struggled last year. New club, COVID season away from home with the birth of a child. It wouldn't have been easy for him. I'm not excusing his performance last year but it does help understand what he was going through. He looks rejuvenated so far this season.

  7. Likes Testekill liked this post
  8. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    722
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Bruce work rate has been really good in the first 2 games . And it’s good to see that his hard running and endurance is a strength . His played with elite players like Riewoldt so knows the levels he needs to get to .
    His been an excellent pick up with improved fitness

    We actually now have 3 mobile fwds in Bruce, Naughton and English . with Bruce and Naughton excellent marks . It’s refreshing to see we are changing perception that we could become a destination club. Just have to get some elite hard tackling crumbers and good fwd delivery and I can really seeing us as a team kick 10+ goals a game.


    I think the pieces are starting to fall into place for us picking up and developing the right players which can hopefully get us to a GF .

  9. Likes 1eyedog liked this post
  10. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,988
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Move Bruce to CHB.

  11. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    6,364
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Quote Originally Posted by BornInDroopSt'54 View Post
    Move Bruce to CHB.
    Still think so?😁

  12. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    26,632
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    If he was loving the game before today's match he'd be adoring it right now.
    Our *three* weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again

  13. Likes Dry Rot, DOG GOD liked this post
  14. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3,256
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Juicy!
    Float Along - Fill Your Lungs

  15. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Posts
    727
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    The BRUCEEEE at the game was electrifying, you can tell the fans REALLY got behind him in the 4th
    "Its always good to win the Ashes test match'' - Libba, AFL Grand Final, 2016

  16. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,621
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Rarely has an article been so well timed

    Read it this morning and then Juice delivers a performance like that - wow

  17. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    3,920
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    I've been as critical of him as anyone, and he deserved it for a truly putrid 2020, so full credit to him for turning it around.

    Has been very good this season, today obviously was outrageous, but his work rate, ability to get involved outside of the forward 50 and his hands finally actually working has been a big improvement to us as a side. This is the player i hoped we would get last year, very impressive.
    I should leave it alone but you're not right

  18. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Inside the mind of Brian Lake
    Posts
    5,508
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Memo to Josh Bruce:

    I am old, fat and unfit. I also have lived in Canberra for a long period of time.

    Please give me Jack Steele's number.
    HEIGHT IS OVERRATED: CALEB DANIEL > TOM BOYD

  19. Thanks SonofScray thanked for this post
  20. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Flemington
    Posts
    2,823
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    I was very critical of Bruce last year on here and in my circle of footy friends. Copped a bit in return due to his start to 2021, but I reject that. 2020 was the worst individual performance from a professional footballer of his ability that I’ve witnessed. He did himself and us a disservice. I accept his own assessment of why and was really pleased to see him trim down and get fair dinkum.

    This is the player we expected. That he is capable of being.

    Credit to him, he took the barbs and has sorted himself out. Everyone’s a winner here and that performance yesterday got everyone back behind him. Quite an extraordinary performance.

  21. Likes EasternWest liked this post
  22. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    E.J. Whitten Stand
    Posts
    14,667
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: How an ex-teammate helped big Dog fall back in love with footy

    Quote Originally Posted by SonofScray View Post
    I was very critical of Bruce last year on here and in my circle of footy friends. Copped a bit in return due to his start to 2021, but I reject that. 2020 was the worst individual performance from a professional footballer of his ability that I’ve witnessed. He did himself and us a disservice. I accept his own assessment of why and was really pleased to see him trim down and get fair dinkum.

    This is the player we expected. That he is capable of being.

    Credit to him, he took the barbs and has sorted himself out. Everyone’s a winner here and that performance yesterday got everyone back behind him. Quite an extraordinary performance.
    He deserved all the criticism last year and he knew it, based on his response over pre-season. I must say, I didn't think he had the self-motivation to put in the work and earn his contract but I have been proven wrong. His start to the season is exactly what we and he needed and has exceeded anyone's expectations. Bravo, Brucey.

    Now he needs to continue to rise to the challenge and find consistency, especially against the really good sides. Brisbane is the perfect test for him.
    Our 1954 premiership players are our heroes, and it has to be said that Charlie was their hero.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •