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  1. #1
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    The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them by Jonathan Horn
    Beveridge is a players’ coach, a leader with a knack for persuading unremarkable men to do extraordinary things


    Fifteen years ago, almost to the day, at quarter-time of a C-grade suburban grand final, I watched a rookie playing-coach address his players. Team talks at that level are often a shambles. The Churchillian rev-ups fall flat. Player-coaches in particular are usually so knackered they can barely string two syllables together.

    Luke Beveridge was different. His players were a mix of shapes, sizes and talents. They had got themselves too fizzed up and had spent most of the first quarter playing with 17 men. The coach did not rant. He did not overload them with information. He demanded their eyes. He ticked a few of them off. He calmed the rest of them down. He did not look like a lovey-dovey coach. He looked like the sort of bloke who spent his Saturday afternoons deadlifting and stewing. But he told them how much he loved them, how much he believed in them. His players, who were all playing for nothing, were fully locked in with him. Back in 2006 footy coaches – and Australian men generally – didn’t really talk like that. They didn’t talk about vulnerability and connection. “I’m an emotional beast”, he said many years later. “I cry watching cartoons.”

    Halfway through the third quarter they were eight goals down. They were playing AJAX, who represent Melbourne’s Jewish community. But St Bede’s/Mentone rattled home to win. In the dying minutes, the coach took two clutch marks across half back. He never played again but kept coaching, winning the B-Section premiership the following year. They then won the A-Section flag, upsetting the better resourced and connected clubs from the top end of town. Beveridge, who was working for Austrac, an intelligence agency tracking the flow of dirty money, figured he might have a future in the coaching caper.

    I thought about those St Bede’s/Mentone days during Saturday night’s extraordinary semi-final at the Gabba. I thought about those amateur premierships, which Beveridge says mean as much to him as the 2016 AFL flag, as he repeatedly made his way down to the Bulldogs bench to touch, to cajole, to convince his players they were good enough. In an age where coaches refer to their players as ‘key stakeholders’, where prospective coaches lobby for their roles on footy panel shows, I thought about what makes a good coach, and how much that has changed. Beveridge, who eschews all corporate comms speak, remains a players’ coach, a leader with an incredible knack for persuading unremarkable young men to do extraordinary things. As his dad said following the 2016 Premiership - “I think Luke may have persuaded a few of them that they’re a bit better than they are.”

    Beveridge often talks about chess. The king and pawns, he says, all go back in the same box. All his major pieces delivered on Saturday night. Jack Macrae played perhaps the best game of his career. Marcus Bontempelli, as always, was a joy to watch. Caleb Daniel, who could pass as one of Beveridge’s C-grade flag winners, was almost architectural in the way he used the ball.

    But when Brisbane brought the heat, it was several lesser, occasionally maligned Dogs who stood up. Bailey Smith, who looks like Fabio and sometimes kicks like him, broke the game open. Josh Schache, who has been all at sea for most of his AFL career, and whose card seemed to have been stamped following the Richmond game earlier this year, kicked a critical goal. Tim English, who looks far too delicate to be playing this uncivilised game, finally threw his weight around. Laitham Vandermeer, who should be checking into The White Lotus with a name like that, scrambled the winning behind. The Dogs caught a lot of breaks on Saturday. The umpiring definitely went their way. But to convince his bottom six players they belonged on that stage, and to get them to stand up when it was their turn, is the mark of a great coach.

    After healing a broken club, rejuvenating a demoralised playing list and winning a premiership from seventh,, Beveridge and his Bulldogs lost their way. “I think they’re a one-year wonder,” Leigh Matthews said. Their manic brand was impossible to sustain. Beveridge was increasingly snippy with some of the more objectionable members of the press. He was irritable and distracted and the team played accordingly. They were knee-capped by GWS in the 2019 Elimination Final. They left last year’s Elimination Final on the table. Even this year, after dominating for several months, they seemed to have spluttered to a stop.

    But Beveridge is in his element and, at his most deadly, when he’s written off; when he can reset, reengineer and get on a roll. This Saturday, he squares off against Ken Hinkley, another heart and soul coach. Hinkley comes from dairy farming stock. His team play an uncomplicated brand. Beveridge, a keen surfer, seems to have caught another wave. On Saturday night, his team will be unfancied in the market and a long way from home. But we’ve heard that song before. They have the smell of history about them, and they’re in the best of hands.
    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

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  3. #2
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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    "Bailey Smith, who looks like Fabio and sometimes kicks like him" Haha.

    "The Dogs caught a lot of breaks on Saturday. The umpiring definitely went their way." And then they lost me.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    "Bailey Smith, who looks like Fabio and sometimes kicks like him" Haha.

    "The Dogs caught a lot of breaks on Saturday. The umpiring definitely went their way." And then they lost me.
    It's all good and well to say that, but if abundantly clear it only takes an additional line to justify it rationally which is something scribes often struggle to do.....because when they start thinking about it in some depth, they have to try and turn grey into either black or white.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    F**k let’s not get into this again.

    I thank the poster for the article, but at this point we may as well quote ourselves as we’ve all got better knowledge of the game than any sports journo has. These muppets take the dumbasses on Twitter as their source.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Quote Originally Posted by bulldogsthru&thru View Post
    F**k let’s not get into this again.

    I thank the poster for the article, but at this point we may as well quote ourselves as we’ve all got better knowledge of the game than any sports journo has. These muppets take the dumbasses on Twitter as their source.
    This is the "Guardian Pick" of the comments section:

    That absurd free to English gifted the dogs the game. Spoiled one of the great finishes of all time. The VFL definitely want a dogs v Mel final.

    I'm a regular reader, but I think they should stick to lefty elitist propaganda if this is their thinking on AFL!

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    “I think they’re a one-year wonder,” Leigh Matthews said.
    Stuff you Lethal. You were a thug on the field, an absolute thug in his day.
    Premierships are not everything. We play a great game and show the right stuff.
    "We've got to be good in the phone box, and good in the tardis" - Pearls of wisdom from Luke Beveridge.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    This is the "Guardian Pick" of the comments section:

    That absurd free to English gifted the dogs the game. Spoiled one of the great finishes of all time. The VFL definitely want a dogs v Mel final.

    I'm a regular reader, but I think they should stick to lefty elitist propaganda if this is their thinking on AFL!
    Anything from the comments section is generally uninformed in any publication (unless of course if it was you or me)
    Life is to be Enjoyed not Endured

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  13. #8
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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Who's to say if the free kick wasn't paid we don't win the last clearance after the tap and Libba puts it down a forward's throat 20m out directly in front?

    I read someone comment today that an issue with free kicks is that they're not actually 'free'. You earn them or give them away through a player's ill discipline. Footy fans think one team is being gifted a 'free' possession. If they were called fouls, would there be less bitching and moaning?

    The game day commentary also plays a part. The types of ex-players they put on the coverage are all alpha dogs who think they're above the rules anyway (think Duck, BT, Hodge etc) so it's no wonder they push back and complain about calls. If the commentary was harsher on player discipline, like they are in more professional coverage like NBA or NFL, the fan reaction would follow suit, imo. The lack of respect for umpires is woeful.
    Our 1954 premiership players are our heroes, and it has to be said that Charlie was their hero.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    McInerney ran past the ball with his eyes straight at English and lifted his knee without jumping. It’s as obvious a free as you can give away in that situation. If people have a problem take it up with big Oscar, it was his dumb arse that did it.
    - RIP Goldstein for 2021 First - 2020-2020 -

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  17. #10
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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Btw, for this article I just take the positive and disregard the negative. The take-away for me was about how Bevo as a coach can get to the players and find ways to win games once our backs are against the wall. He has done it before and did it again this year in the 2 final games and hope this streak will continue in the next 2 games.
    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Days View Post
    McInerney ran past the ball with his eyes straight at English and lifted his knee without jumping. It’s as obvious a free as you can give away in that situation. If people have a problem take it up with big Oscar, it was his dumb arse that did it.
    And he'd been warned after the previous centre bounce (after Bailey's goal) for doing exactly the same thing.
    King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king.
    Dennis: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    I really do admire Bevo's empathy and his ability to engage and inspire his players.

    I agree with most of that article expect for the free kicks favoring us. Also the chess master analogy is what I see alot in Bevo skill in sensing player's innate ability and helping them craft out new parts to their game.

    Self belief - what is that ? something in between the ears ? Its it your heart thumping with determination to want to be the best and win for your team ? Is it bypassing your own personal desires, want and needs and push every muscle in your body to win the footy for the team at all costs?

    Some players have turned their careers around in the past 2 seasons :

    The fact that his managed to get some games into Schache and delivered in clutch moments which have influence and sway results in our favour speaks volume. I completely wrote off Schache after that Richmond game. To his credit, his found heart and played determined to make the most of a new position. His always had the talent, its just what in his head stops him from achieving his potential.

    A lot of clubs ignored Caleb because of his physical size. Doggies saw someone blessed with elite endurance, excellent reader of the game unfolding and his now proven to be an exceptional kick.

    Bailey Dale, could not get a game in our forward line. His in the AA squad

    Roarke, the journey man who has had ACL and been on rookie list season after season.

    Naughton, recognizing the astronaught in his marking powers, moved forward.

    I have a good feeling about Young. His starting to have that self belief now that he can play out games, and make an impact. If he can take those 3-4 marks, and hold onto them, and be that connection with the kickout, it will be another level.

    We are yet to see the best of Tim English, 1 more season and with the Hybrids in Young and Schache helping him, I have positive feeling that they are going to wear down opposition rucks as their bodies mature.

    I think Bevo is going to write his own history with these group of players. His got a core group now who have played 100+ games, and once the younger 20-24 group reaches that 100 games brackets, its going to be interesting to see if history becomes a legacy.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    "Bailey Smith, who looks like Fabio and sometimes kicks like him" Haha.

    "The Dogs caught a lot of breaks on Saturday. The umpiring definitely went their way." And then they lost me.
    There's only one thing better than winning by a point. Winning by a point courtesy of a 'controversial' umpiring decision.

    I don't understand the angst...we won, they lost, they can (ultimately) suck it!
    What should I tell her? She's going to ask.

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    Re: The Guardian: Luke Beveridge’s Bulldogs have the smell of AFL history about them

    Quote Originally Posted by choconmientay View Post
    Btw, for this article I just take the positive and disregard the negative. The take-away for me was about how Bevo as a coach can get to the players and find ways to win games once our backs are against the wall. He has done it before and did it again this year in the 2 final games and hope this streak will continue in the next 2 games.
    The insight into Bevo was almost unreadable for me.
    Like a writer analysing your mum's personality.
    It was moving but I felt like it was an exposè. A bit too close.
    That he said to the St Bede's players at quarter time that he loved them.
    Diametrically opposed to your Malthauses and Lethals.

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