Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has confirmed veteran defender Matthew Boyd will play on next year.
Boyd has been steadfast in his desire to extend his decorated career into a 15th AFL season, but was dismayed when contract talks were put on hold by the club.
The 34-year-old’s case for a new deal was strengthened when he earned a surprise All Australian nod recently – his third – but Beveridge admitted he had reservations about Boyd’s form earlier in the season.
“Matthew and I have a very close relationship, close enough for me to be honest with him probably 10 or so weeks ago and for us to decide to leave (contract talks) until a bit later,” Beveridge told SEN on Saturday.
“He wasn’t overly happy with that.
“(But) I don’t want Matthew to finish at our club playing for Footscray (in the VFL). He’s been such a great player and I don’t want him to think like that.
“The conversation was all around that.
“So, we agreed to leave it. That was tough, that was a tough conversation.
“But he’ll go on next year. He’ll play on next year.”
Beveridge spoke the morning after his side’s stunning 23-point semifinal win over Hawthorn that set up a preliminary final clash against Greater Western Sydney.
The Dogs have done well to make it to this point, having been ravaged by injury this season, but Beveridge said his young side have their sights set on breaking the club’s 62-year premiership drought.
“We won’t be satisfied if we don’t win the whole thing. We’ll be extremely disappointed if that’s what transpires. The time is now,” he said.
“As much as there’s many of (my players) that are quite young, and people talk about premiership windows, but I just believe if you’ve got a group who’s capable, who’s willing to put in the hard work and meet challenges like the Hawks in a semifinal head on, then who says you can’t win it?”