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  1. #1
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    Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover



    With some strong inclusions and one of the best midfields going around, can the Dogs rebound? Who’s in the best 23, how many early wins, who’s the X-factor. All your Dogs’ questions answered.

    What happened in 2022?


    Things went awry from the start when Luke Beveridge went bananas at a reporter for reporting some correct team information. As it happened, Lachie Hunter sought a trade to Melbourne after falling out of favour and taking some personal leave throughout the year. But the bigger issues were exposed on the defensive front as rivals continued to score heavily against the Dogs. It is why Luke Beveridge must completely program the team’s defensive systems, including the way the midfield operates. Clearly, there will be a big adjustment after losing the team’s best defensive midfielder and best and fairest winner Josh Dunkley. Adam Treloar may come in to help replace him but accountability is a concern and Treloar will start pre-season slow after ankle surgery. Marcus Bontempelli was hobbled more than he let on last year with an ankle issue and has a big role to play recapturing his best form in 2023. But perhaps the most exciting part of the disappointing season came late in the year when Jamarra Ugle-Hagan produced the best footy of his career in attack and then Sam Darcy looked completely at home plucking intercept marks in defence. The two pillars look ready to take more steps up in 2023.

    Where do they finish in 2023?

    Last year was a head-scratcher, but it’s hard to see the club having two terrible seasons in a row. Considering the star-studded list and the two big additions at either end in Rory Lobb and Liam Jones, the Dogs should be aiming for a top-four berth. But the draw is extremely difficult and with a heap of 50-50s in the first six weeks, the pressure will be on early. Mostly, the team needs better balance in the way that it plays as the ball-hunters in the midfield can leave its back line exposed when they don’t have the footy. The Cats showed in 2022 significant style changes can be made quickly, and for that reason it will be a big summer at the kennel bedding down those tweaks. But there is still so much quality in the midfield and Darcy and Ugle-Hagan can be anything. The first month will be interesting as a couple of upset losses will quickly turn up the blowtorch on a team which should be in flat-out premiership mode after making the Grand Final in 2021.


    It’s a big call but Sam Darcy could be on is on a similar trajectory to Sam De Koning.

    Biggest improver in 2022

    Sam Darcy is the one. The No. 2 draft pick made a careful recovery from a foot problem and showed his class as soon as he broke through for his AFL debut late in the season. The Dogs seem content to keep him down back but the truth is Darcy has shown throughout his junior career that he could offer even more as a key forward — ruck. That’s an enormous amount of quality key forward depth when you add Aaron Naughton, Lobb, Ugle-Hagan, Tim English, plus Josh Bruce as back-up. There was lots of recognition for Sam De Koning’s breakthrough year at Geelong last season but Darcy looks like he is on a similar trajectory. Will be one of the best talls in the game when he physically matures.


    Bailey Smith’s star is still on the rise and shows no signs of fading for some time.

    X-factor

    Bailey Smith set the 2021 finals series alight kicking eight goals in three games heading into the grand final. But last season didn’t quite go according to plan as he missed some of the pre-season for personal leave, apologised for the illicit drugs video, and missed out on the top-10 of the best and fairest. After signing a new contract extension, Smith can become one of the best midfielders in the competition and add an electrifying avenue forward. When he’s on, the Dogs look dangerous. But it won’t be all on his terms in 2023 as the Dogs have made it clear their midfielders need to run two ways next season to help put the clamps on opposition scoring. Can he become a complete midfielder? He has all the weapons. Lookout for first-year Charlie Clarke too. Bet he slots in quickly and becomes a fan favourite with his hardworking and clever forward craft.

    Coach status

    Luke Beveridge secured a contract extension until the end of the 2025 season. The club was keen to find ways to support him more and Brendon Lade clearly adds some expertise and experience to an assistantcoaching staff which felt the losses of Ash Hansen to Carlton and Steven King to Gold Coast. The Dogs have been known to makesome left-field team selections and there is no reason to think that won’t continue in 2023.

    WESTERN BULLDOGS BEST 23

    B Dale, Jones, Gardner
    HB Daniel, Darcy, Richards
    C Treloar, Liberatore, MacRae
    HF McLean, Naughton, Ugle-Hagan
    F Vandermeer, Lobb, Weightman
    Foll English, Bontempelli, Smith
    Int Johannisen, Williams, Keath, Duryea, Scott
    Sub Scott

    Who is in last year of contract?

    Alex Keath, Anthony Scott, Arthur Jones, Bailey Williams, Buku Khamis, Cody Raak, Dominic Bedendo, Ed Richards, Hayden Crozier, Jordon Sweet, Josh Bruce, Lachlan McNeil, Latham Vandermeer, Luke Cleary, Mitch Hannan, Roarke Smith, Robbie McComb, Ryan Gardner, Sam Darcy, Taylor Duryea, Tom Liberatore, Tim O’Brien, Toby McLean

    Outs from 2022


    Josh Dunkley (traded to Brisbane), Lachie Hunter (traded to Melbourne), Josh Schache (traded to Melbourne), Zaine Cordy (Free agency move to St Kilda), Louis Butler (delisted), Charlie Parker (delisted), Mitch Wallis (delisted), Stef Martin (retired)

    Ins for 2023

    Rory Lobb (Fremantle), Liam Jones (Carlton), Oskar Baker (Melbourne), Jedd Busslinger (pick no. 13), Charlie Clarke (pick no. 24), Harvey Gallagher (pick no. 39)

    2023 FIRST SIX

    Rd 1 Melbourne @ MCG (L)
    Rd 2 St Kilda @ Marvel (W)
    Rd 3 Brisbane @ Marvel (L)
    Rd 4 Richmond @ MCG (L)
    Rd 5 Port Adelaide @ AO (W)
    Rd 6 Fremantle @ OS (L)
    2-4 after first six rounds
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

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  3. #2
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Suggesting we start the season 2-4 isn’t great… not saying it won’t happen but we in the very least need to be 3-3 and arguably 4-2 if we’re serious about top 4.

    Some ok insights at a macro level in the article.
    Have you heard Butters wants to come to the Dogs?

  4. #3
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Quote Originally Posted by Go_Dogs View Post
    Suggesting we start the season 2-4 isn’t great… not saying it won’t happen but we in the very least need to be 3-3 and arguably 4-2 if we’re serious about top 4.

    Some ok insights at a macro level in the article.
    Yeah, make top 4 but they've got us losing 4 of the first 6.
    Rocket surgeons. Wind up that paper. (thanks for sharing though G)

  5. #4
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Quote Originally Posted by Go_Dogs View Post
    Suggesting we start the season 2-4 isn’t great… not saying it won’t happen but we in the very least need to be 3-3 and arguably 4-2 if we’re serious about top 4.

    Some ok insights at a macro level in the article.
    If we are playing well but are 3 wins and 3 losses after 6 games I think we are in a very good spot.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  6. #5
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    I'm not sure about having Darcy in the best 23. As Bevo pointed out he hasn't even completed a full session. I'm very bullish on what he will offer us but we do need to be patient.

    Both Treloar and Macrae on wings doesn't seen likely to me.

    Given the state of the list plus from what I can tell the camaraderie between that group plus the restaffing of the coaches box we are primed for a strong season.
    The distractions of 2022 have been dealt with and I think our improvement will come from getting a more productive forward line a stronger defensive set-up.

    Looking forward to the 2023 season.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  7. #6
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    We can win first 6.
    FFC: Established 1883

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

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  9. #7
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Quote Originally Posted by grantysghost View Post
    rocket surgeons. wind up that paper. (thanks for sharing though g)
    lol.
    What should I tell her? She's going to ask.

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  11. #8
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    VDM out West in.

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  13. #9
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    We can win first 6.
    I have us 6-0. Definitely

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  15. #10
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Anything can happen but if we're 2-4 with this list I'll be surprised.

    We'll be much better in 2023.
    W00F!

  16. #11
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    See how we go. Hopefully no injuries to key players. If we have a start to the season as we did in 2021 that will help with our top 4 chances. Probably at a minimum we want to be after 6 rounds 3-3.
    "Footscray people are incredible people; so humble. I'm just so happy - ecstatic"

  17. #12
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    I have us 6-0. Definitely
    Gotta go 6-0 to go 25-0 so I agree.
    - I'm a visionary - Only here to confirm my biases -

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  19. #13
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    Re: Where it went wrong for Western Bulldogs and why they can quickly recover

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Days View Post
    Gotta go 6-0 to go 25-0 so I agree.
    Not good enough. With the extra round 25-0 only gets to the GF.

    26-0 will do, but I would be happy with 19-7 if it included the last 4 in the win column.
    Life is to be Enjoyed not Endured

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