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  1. #1
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    Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs



    Luke Beveridge has admitted the shock of losing Rohan Smith as one of his lieutenants late last year fuelled tensions with executive director of football Chris Grant, but the Western Bulldogs coach said the contentious summer review had proven a cathartic experience.

    As the Bulldogs prepare to embark on a crucial 2024 for the club and potentially the coach, Beveridge detailed for the first time how those tensions personally affected him and why the six-week review into football operations can be a significant step in the club?s evolution.

    The review didn't happen because there was any tension between the players and I; the review happened because of the results from last year, and some obvious tensions within the management structure of our (football) operations area, Beveridge said.

    Speaking exclusively to this masthead and for the first time since the review was announced late last year and finalised in late January, Beveridge:

    ● MAINTAINED working environments did not have to be the Garden of Eden but said he fully embraced the findings of the review conducted by respected football administrator Peter Jackson as a way forward for individuals and for the club

    ● INSISTED those tensions had dissipated, in part due to Jackson's recommendations of role and responsibility changes, including Matthew Egan's elevation to a general manager of football operations role, to whom Beveridge now reports

    ● EMPHATICALLY denied he had ever lost the confidence of sections of the Bulldogs playing group, insisting he would finish up if that ever happened

    ● DISMISSED suggestions he had gone missing in terms of the media in the off-season

    ● AND stressed his love of coaching and his energy for the Bulldogs job was as strong as ever heading into his 10th season at the helm.

    The Bulldogs missed the finals last season, after a series of narrow losses late in the year, ramping up the pressure on the club, and the coach, who is contracted until the end of 2025.

    Beveridge is not fazed by the rumblings about his future, saying he is confident there will be a swift turnaround in the club's fortunes.

    But he conceded those 2023 tensions with Grant absolutely related to a decision to move club great Smith on from an assistant coaching role he'd had for more than a decade.

    It was a real shock to us, he said. Getting past that was part of the process. Absolutely it was part of the challenge, (but) we have moved on from that now.

    While he does not shy away from the tensions he had with Grant late last year, he says the restructuring of key roles out of the review had taken the heat out of the situation.

    Grant retained his role but with more of an elevated focus on executive leadership and strategy, while Egan's position sees him take on operational responsibilities for the football department.

    It is not there (now), Beveridge said of those tensions.

    Chris and I get on fine, it is just that the working relationship now is very different, which is important for all of us.

    We see each other every day, but as far as the planning, the strategic aspect of what we do, the core footy elements and the day-to-day coaching and performance focus, (it) is something that Chris has moved away from into more strategic things.

    The interaction isn't like it was.

    We both sat down with the executive and talked about our roles moving forward.

    Beveridge said Egan had become a buffer for him in terms of his overall responsibilities, which definitely lightens the load.

    There are a lot of things happening in the hierarchy of a football club that the coach is exposed to, so now Matt provides a little bit of a buffer for me, he said.

    It frees yourself up for the personalised aspect of the role, and having (more) conversations not just about performance but also about life.


    Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli said this week Egan's appointment had eased some of Beveridge's overall workload which meant the coach had seemed even more connected to his players heading into 2024.

    The coach said he felt his relationship with his players had always been strong, saying: I have never ever had an issue where I felt like I had lost the players (if that happened) I would just finish up.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

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  3. #2
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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Well to be honest I thought it all stemmed from Smiths departure
    , I can also see it bought out other problems and I believe the club did the right thing by recognising it, not sweeping it under the carpet and the review was done for both management and football departments.
    Bring back the biff

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    All that’s left is for him to perform.

    For me that’s: No distractions. Present well. Head up a team that is playing consistent, cohesive, competitive football.

    There are no excuses. No credits in the bank. Put up or get out.

    I reckon the club has got it right.
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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Do we think moving on Smith was the right move?
    I guess time will tell.

    Sounds like the new structure helps on a number of fronts and we’re better set up for success this season.

    I’m backing Bevo to do his thing

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    Do we think moving on Smith was the right move?
    I guess time will tell.

    Sounds like the new structure helps on a number of fronts and we’re better set up for success this season.

    I’m backing Bevo to do his thing
    Really hard to know whether it was the right decision or not re Smith, however having some new faces in coaching and development roles appears like a good refresh at face value - different voices and ideas can bring an immediate impact.

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    Do we think moving on Smith was the right move?
    I guess time will tell.

    Sounds like the new structure helps on a number of fronts and we’re better set up for success this season.

    I’m backing Bevo to do his thing
    Ten years is huge for an assistant coach at one club I would have thought.
    Nothing against him but maybe it’s part of what was needed a refresh.
    I don’t think he has moved in to anyone else either.
    Bring back the biff

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    On Rohan Smith. I this board was in universal agreement that we needed to strengthen our assistant coaching ranks with some more talent and fresh ideas. I don't think many would argue that point.

    But Rohan Smith, from an outsider looking in, looked like a well loved figure in the club with strong relationships with the playing group. He had done a number of roles including the development. I'm sure they could have possibly found another role for him and still brought in assitant coaches.

    What drove the Rohan Smith decision? Was it just about fresh faces? Was it something that Grant thought Smith wasn't doing? Was he not performing in his role? Had the game gone past him? Was it just a way of letting Bevo know who the boss is? If the head coach really values one of their key people, it is still a big decision to move on them without some type of strong rationale for it.

    Does anyone have any idea on what happened and why it happened?

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by angelopetraglia View Post
    On Rohan Smith. I this board was in universal agreement that we needed to strengthen our assistant coaching ranks with some more talent and fresh ideas. I don't think many would argue that point.

    But Rohan Smith, from an outsider looking in, looked like a well loved figure in the club with strong relationships with the playing group. He had done a number of roles including the development. I'm sure they could have possibly found another role for him and still brought in assitant coaches.

    What drove the Rohan Smith decision? Was it just about fresh faces? Was it something that Grant thought Smith wasn't doing? Was he not performing in his role? Had the game gone past him? Was it just a way of letting Bevo know who the boss is? If the head coach really values one of their key people, it is still a big decision to move on them without some type of strong rationale for it.

    Does anyone have any idea on what happened and why it happened?
    The one thing I have never heard is Rohans thoughts or reaction to it. He seems to have just rode into the sunset.
    I have not heard of him staying in the coaching game anywhere since in any capacity.
    Was he happy to go once it sank in ?
    The fall out tends to be with Bevo and the club , nothing from him.
    Bring back the biff

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Was it too late in the day for Smith to get a role at another AFL club?
    The harsh reality is maybe his coaching days are over and that does feel harsh given he was part of a pretty successful era at a club that doesn’t tend to have successful eras. Surely he’d go ok at another club (if that’s what he wants).

    The move, from the outside, felt like a flex from Grant and Baines.

    Has our defensive system or structures changed? Or is it just someone new doing the same thing?

    On the article, I think it’s a good idea to get this out there and then hopefully the media can move on. Seems the questions were answered honestly and in good faith.

  18. #10
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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Nothing new we already didn't know.

    Gut feel is one of Beveridge or Grant will be gone by years end. On field results to determine which one.
    More of an In Bruges guy?

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    I recall reading somewhere that Rohan was really stressed and that was causing him issues with his health and life balance. He wanted to keep going and Luke wanted him, but the decision was made for him by Baines and Grant.

    Not sure if that is correct, but might explain why he has not taken up another job.
    Last edited by Uninformed; 02-03-2024 at 05:16 PM.

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Overall, though, it is pretty impressive the way the club responded to a poor season last year. A measured, extensive response without overreaction.

    Full marks to management.

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Uninformed View Post
    I recall reading somewhere that Rohan was really stressed and that was causing him issues with his health and life balance. He wanted to keep going and Luke wanted him, but the decision was made for him by Baines and Grant.

    Not sure if that is correct, but might explain why he has not taken up another job.
    Culture change and seems like Rohan was the victim.
    Im ok with it, Bevo mustve had too much power.
    Grant was never one to back down from a contest im glad hes the same off the field.

  25. #14
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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Uninformed View Post
    I recall reading somewhere that Rohan was really stressed and that was causing him issues with his health and life balance. He wanted to keep going and Luke wanted him, but the decision was made for him by Baines and Grant.

    Not sure if that is correct, but might explain why he has not taken up another job.
    While I heard something similar, I believe the stress and being unwell was from 2022 not 23. Smith didn't lack anything with his energy and voice in the 23 preseason.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

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    Re: Luke Beveridge speaks for the first time about tension at the Bulldogs

    Quote Originally Posted by GVGjr View Post
    While I heard something similar, I believe the stress and being unwell was from 2022 not 23. Smith didn't lack anything with his energy and voice in the 23 preseason.
    Thanks for clarifying that. Wonder if Rohan is just too one-eyed Bulldog to consider coaching elsewhere. His record with premierships as an assistant and also VFL premiership coach, would ensure there was interest you would think.

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