Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was obviously gutted to come out on the losing side in Saturday night’s AFL elimination final thriller against Adelaide.
But he had no interest in bemoaning the fact that the match was scheduled at the MCG rather than the Bulldogs’ home ground of Etihad Stadium, where they have built up such an imposing record this year.
“I’d like to think it didn’t (play a part in the result),” said Beveridge, who has been justly lauded for his efforts in his first year at the helm of the Bulldogs.
“What a night at the G.
“It was just a great experience for our players and I’m glad we played here.
“There was conjecture over where it should be played but I’m glad we played here because we want to continue to grow, we envisage winning big finals out here at some point in the future.”
The AFL said the expected size of the crowd justified the decision to schedule it at the MCG rather than the 54,000-capacity Etihad Stadium and they were proved correct, with 60,782 fans turning up – including a large travelling contingent from Adelaide.
“With the big stage, I don’t think any of our players were over-awed and that’s a great sign,” said Beveridge after the Bulldogs gave up an eight-point lead midway through the final term to go down 16.13 (109) to 14.18 (102) in a seesawing encounter between two attack-minded teams.
“When they come here next time they’ll have lived it already and that hopefully stands for something.
“We’ve got a really strong blend of youth and a mix of distinguished experience.
“It’s been great all year, that meshing of generations.”
Out-of-favour ruckman Will Minson justified his inclusion after a long stint at VFL level, battling hard against impressive big Crow Sam Jacobs.
Minson got his chance due to a injury to Jordan Roughead, while Tom Campbell was unavailable due to injury.
“Adelaide score quite heavily from the centre bounces and we were able to nullify it for most of the night,” said Beveridge.
“We won the clearances out of there quite convincingly.
“I thought Will did his job and gave us something that we needed.
“Will is a contracted player next year and the expectation is that he will still be playing unless he chooses otherwise.
“He played really last week at VFL level and deserved his spot.”