Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says the 2016 flag win feels “like a lifetime ago”.Western Bulldogs Luke Beveridge has distanced his underperforming players from the club’s 2016 history-makers, declaring the club’s premiership to be ancient history.
Just 11 premiership winners were on the field at Etihad Stadium for the Bulldogs’ 51-point loss to West Coast on Sunday.
Most of his side have fewer than 60 games under their belts.
Beveridge said those facts didn’t give his current team an excuse to lose – but it did show how the side was in the middle of a major transition.
He said the flag “seemed like a lifetime ago”.
“You can’t really establish yourself as a unified team until you start winning together,” he said.
“There were only 11 left in today’s team. That’s for many reasons.
“We’re talking about two different sides now.
“That doesn’t mean we absolve ourselves of what we want to do this year.
“We’ll go into this week’s game believing we can beat Essendon regardless of how down we’ve been at different times in the last two games.
“It’s only round two. There were some better signs but nowhere near good enough.”
The better signs came off a decidedly low base.
The Bulldogs were rotten against GWS Giants last weekend, falling to a 82-point defeat.
“Last week we had three and a half write-off quarters. This week we had one so that’s a step in the right direction,” Beveridge half-joked.
On Sunday that was the second quarter when the Dogs were outscored 6.4 to 0.3, losing the contested possession by around 30, a mark Beveridge described as “just horrendous”.
It’s one of the reasons that Beveridge is subtly warning – without saying as much – more bad days could be to come.
“Those skill errors, when you’re in space, they’re inexcusable really,” he said.
“Quite often you just can’t defend them. At the moment we can’t.
“Ultimately the main thing is I’m really supportive of the players and their endeavours to be the best AFL footballers they can.
“Keep pushing the envelope on the things that will hold us in good stead and ultimately will come up to speed.
“We need to chip away and improve on the last two weeks’ performances.”