Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has revealed a children’s book was one of the driving forces behind the Dogs’ inspired run to the 2016 AFL premiership.
The book, Salty Dog, was given to Beveridge by football chief Graham Lowe at the start of a season that culminated in the Bulldogs’ first premiership since 1954.
“I was reading through this book and … it’s about confronting your fears,” Beveridge told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.
“As I read each page it was quite simple, it’s like a children’s book, but it had really powerful messages in there.
“So we had 100 copies printed and had our logo printed on the back … and we gave each player a book. We talked about the content and to our players’ credit they confronted their fears.
“All year, every time there was a trial or a tribulation, they met it head on.”
So powerful was the message, along with other themes that Beveridge declined to divulge, that by the time the Dogs reached the grand final they had already conquered their fears.
“In the end, part of going into the grand final was bringing it back to what they’d already done,” Beveridge said of a season in which his club confronted a horror run with injuries.
“And on the last page it says ‘Run towards the fire’ and they were basically in the fire.
“They’d met all of their challenges head on, the grand final was as hot as it was going to get and they were ready for it.”
Most associated with the Dogs have been reluctant to declare the grand final win over Sydney the start of a dynasty.
But Beveridge is already focused on making sure Bulldogs fans don’t have to wait another 62 years to see their team lift the cup.
“We’re definitely not in a space to think that we’re the best (team) even though we’ve just won the grand final,” he said of his team that finished the home-and-away season seventh with 15 wins.
“There’s still plenty of work to do so it will take a concerted effort by everyone to make sure that we keep our feet on the ground.
“When our players go away on holiday they need to make sure they keep themselves in good order – that’s their big test.”