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  1. #1
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    Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?


    Mysterious. Combative. Unpredictable. Brilliant. MARK ROBINSON examines the enigma that is Luke Beveridge and what his unwavering critics have wrong.


    Luke Beveridge is coaching for his career.

    Which might be an odd statement, seeing as the Western Bulldogs are 2-3 and the season, in racing terms, has just left the Flemington straight the first time round.

    Whether it?s a media storm ? which includes Beveridge doubters wanting him to fail ? or supporter angst, or even if there?s a smidgen of concern from within the club, the reality is the Bulldogs coach and his team are at the crossroads and in the crosshairs.

    It won?t faze him, though.

    He?s been accused of being stubborn and all-powerful, of being confusing with his player selection and double so with his player positioning, and despite all of this, Beveridge is an outstanding coach.

    Mysterious, combative and unpredictable, but brilliant all the same.

    That doesn?t mean he, like some of his veteran players have found out this season, has a job for life.

    He is contracted until the end of 2025 and, if circumstances rail against him, he could be gone before the end of 2024.

    It depends on many things. Results clearly count, but it?s also whether the club wants to embark on a reset with Beveridge that clearly was not in the plans 18 months ago, and perhaps not six months ago.

    Previously, the Dogs were in it to win it. They went close in 2021, and in 2023, chief executive Ameet Bains said he thought they had a top-four list, a comment that created more headlines later than it did at the time.

    Now that team is being pulled apart. And the list management decisions to put Caleb Daniel and Jack Macrae on long-term deals now look foolish and Bailey Dale?s long-term future suddenly is shaky.



    Still, the Dogs gave up their first-round selection this year to secure Ryley Sanders, which suggests the Dogs were in for the now. Unless Tim English or Bailey Smith are traded ? and it?s possible ? they won?t be present on day one of the draft.

    Two first-rounders in return for English and Smith would mean a reset becomes a rebuild. We wait and see.

    This is Beveridge?s 10th year as coach. He led the team to finals in 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. The group was mid-table in 2022 and 2023, so the decision had to be made: Go again and hope, or make change?

    They made changes. There?s conjecture when that was first implemented, but the fact is Macrae was already on the outer last year and Daniel was on the outer before Round 1 this year. Dale as the sub in Round 5 was the surprise.

    But the players knew. Colleague Sam Landsberger was the first to put on the agenda that recruits such as Lachie Bramble, James Harmes and Nick Coffield were, in the pre-season, favoured over some established players.

    The major cock-up is the salaries and long-term deals. Macrae, Lobb, Daniel and Harmes are on a collective $2.5 million and they?ve all played VFL.

    Clearly, the Dogs are in transition. The veterans have been shelved for youth and despite Beveridge explaining why several times, he?s being painted as a bumbling idiot.

    Listening to Beveridge over many years, he?s a deep thinker and storyteller and sometimes his messaging can get lost when his narrative is dotted with adjuncts. That?s not him bumbling, that?s him trying to add depth to his answers.

    Anyway, that?s people nitpicking.

    The fact is Beveridge and his coaching team know the players, the game plan and what?s required individually and collectively. The rest of us just surmise.

    The scrutiny on Beveridge comes after three decent games (Gold Coast, West Coast and Geelong), an average game against Melbourne, and one terrible quarter against the Bombers. In that regard the scrutiny is a little out of whack.



    But, in the wake of the Bombers capitulation, it?s safe to say the next two games are pivotal. They play St Kilda on Thursday night and then Fremantle in the west in Round 7.

    Their draw overall looks problematic. One stretch before the bye has them playing the Giants, Sydney, Collingwood and Brisbane. A stretch after the bye is Port Adelaide, Carlton, Geelong, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in Adelaide.

    Beveridge has stared down problem periods previously.

    In 2022, the Dogs lost their first two matches and four of their first six and still played finals.

    In 2021, they lost rounds 21-23 and made the grand final.

    In 2020, they lost their first two matches and played finals.

    In 2019, they lost four of their first six matches and then lost four of five matches through rounds 9-14 and still made finals.

    We watch with intrigue to see if he can marshall the troops again in 2024.

    ??We?re one of the handful of clubs that?s been able to have some success (in the last 10 years),?? Beveridge said on Tuesday.

    ??We?ve then we?ve had a dip, then we?ve come again and we didn?t quite pull it off in ?21, so we had another dip and now we?re in the process of doing everything we can to re-emerge.??

    To the suggestion there was disharmony in the group, he said: ??Total fiction.??

    So, that?s Beveridge?s lot. The team?s in a dip and regenerating on the run, veteran players are being replaced ? and are probably frustrated ? and at this point in time the Bulldogs hierarchy is in his corner.

    But for how long? The next fortnight is massive. And it might get even tougher after that.

  2. #2
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    This article just proves something I have always known - Mark Robinson is a "shock" journalist who actually doesn't know (or doesn't go out of his way to learn about any team apart from his beloved Bombers) about the game he writes about.

    Exhibit A - Bailey Dale has been in decline since his AA year in 2021, and has started the season in terrible form, yet Robbo was "surprised" he was made sub against the Bombers.

    This is an article written to just throw more kerosine on the fire to oust the coach.
    Footscray member since 1980.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flamethrower View Post
    This article just proves something I have always known - Mark Robinson is a "shock" journalist who actually doesn't know (or doesn't go out of his way to learn about any team apart from his beloved Bombers) about the game he writes about.

    Exhibit A - Bailey Dale has been in decline since his AA year in 2021, and has started the season in terrible form, yet Robbo was "surprised" he was made sub against the Bombers.

    This is an article written to just throw more kerosine on the fire to oust the coach.
    Really? He's largely defending Bevo whilst still leveling some criticism. I think it's fairly balanced and nowhere near as one sided and sensationalised as the likes of Cornes, Caro and the rubbish article Barrett published.

    Robbo is never going to be a details man but overall I didn't think the article was that bad.

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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    I think his writing is largely better than his 360 persona. I think he summed it up pretty well. While there have been form issues with a number of players, them actually being dropped or made sub has been a bit of a surprise at least.

    The thing everyone seems to be missing is that it's not selection that is costing us. I don't think so anyway. If Dale plays the full match on Friday night would we have won? No chance. The team overall is still not clicking with whatever it is they're meant to be doing in defensive transition.

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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flamethrower View Post
    This article just proves something I have always known - Mark Robinson is a "shock" journalist who actually doesn't know (or doesn't go out of his way to learn about any team apart from his beloved Bombers) about the game he writes about.

    Exhibit A - Bailey Dale has been in decline since his AA year in 2021, and has started the season in terrible form, yet Robbo was "surprised" he was made sub against the Bombers.

    This is an article written to just throw more kerosine on the fire to oust the coach.
    Dale’s 2022 season was equal to 2021.

    2023 and 2024 he has dropped away from those levels.
    More of an In Bruges guy?

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  9. #6
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by azabob View Post
    Dale’s 2022 season was equal to 2021.

    2023 and 2024 he has dropped away from those levels.
    Dale was at his best when we moved him forward a little, he was close enough to hit our forwards on the chest and close enough to kick goals, to me that’s his position , the backline is too far away for him to do serious damage.
    Bring back the biff

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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by ledge View Post
    Dale was at his best when we moved him forward a little, he was close enough to hit our forwards on the chest and close enough to kick goals, to me that’s his position , the backline is too far away for him to do serious damage.
    What? He was an All Australian at half back.

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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    What? He was an All Australian at half back.
    I remember him kicking goals in late 2019 , I think he kicked 5 in two games and maybe 4 in another, he was killing it. As an attacking player. Don’t know the position he played that year but it was definitely more forward.
    Bring back the biff

  12. #9
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by ledge View Post
    I remember him kicking goals in late 2019 , I think he kicked 5 in two games and maybe 4 in another, he was killing it. As an attacking player. Don’t know the position he played that year but it was definitely more forward.
    That was back when he was a forward and yes he had a 6 week purple patch where he kicked 20 goals in late 2019. But he didn't reproduce that in 2020 and by far his best footy was in 2021/22 when he was moved to half back. Somehow he has lost the run and precision kicking since then.

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  14. #10
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    To answer Robbo's question:

    No.
    Time and Tide Waits For No Man

  15. #11
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    That was back when he was a forward and yes he had a 6 week purple patch where he kicked 20 goals in late 2019. But he didn't reproduce that in 2020 and by far his best footy was in 2021/22 when he was moved to half back. Somehow he has lost the run and precision kicking since then.
    I believe it's more his decision making under pressure or perceived pressure which has an effect on his kicking which you're going to get more often down back, this is why i believe his game should be on a wing to use that run as a pure offensive player to either keep running and kick those Eagleton type goals from 50 or hit up a forward target lace out, we do have enough half backs but have also been trying different players to play on a wing without finding the perfect combo.

    I do believe players should be played to their absolute strengths and Dale is 100% offensive, his run, elite kicking, to me it just makes sense, it will get him to play well and help the team play better.

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  17. #12
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by mighty_west View Post
    I believe it's more his decision making under pressure or perceived pressure which has an effect on his kicking which you're going to get more often down back, this is why i believe his game should be on a wing to use that run as a pure offensive player to either keep running and kick those Eagleton type goals from 50 or hit up a forward target lace out, we do have enough half backs but have also been trying different players to play on a wing without finding the perfect combo.

    I do believe players should be played to their absolute strengths and Dale is 100% offensive, his run, elite kicking, to me it just makes sense, it will get him to play well and help the team play better.
    I do wonder why the club has not tried Dale as a wingman ?
    Does he have the running capacity ?

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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by macca View Post
    I do wonder why the club has not tried Dale as a wingman ?
    Does he have the running capacity ?
    Did we try him at one stage very early on?
    More of an In Bruges guy?

  19. #14
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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    I think his game last night was a little more forward than a usual HB, that’s how I think we get the best out of him.
    Bring back the biff

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    Re: Robbo: Is Luke Beveridge the man to regenerate the Western Bulldogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by ledge View Post
    I think his game last night was a little more forward than a usual HB, that’s how I think we get the best out of him.
    He played the high half back role, like he usually does. If he's further up the ground and getting a lot of it it's likely because the rest of the defensive structure is effective.
    Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate.

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