When Luke Beveridge was appointed Western Bulldogs coach in 2014, skipper Ryan Griffen and Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney had just walked out on the AFL club.
Less than two years have passed and Beveridge has helped the Bulldogs become a destination club.
Collingwood spearhead Travis Cloke and in-demand Essendon defender Michael Hurley have both been strongly linked to Whitten Oval.
There is an obvious upside and downside of such speculation.
“We seem to be linked to everyone at the moment. I don’t know why,” Beveridge said on Tuesday.
“If we’re becoming that way because it’s been identified we’ve got a good environment, our players enjoy being here and our exploits on the field. That’s brilliant.
“It’s really encouraging but it hasn’t been instigated by anyone here and I’m not sure where it’s all coming from.”
Beveridge has previously confirmed the Bulldogs’ interest in Hurley but didn’t want to discuss the topic at Tuesday’s press conference.
The reason is his side face Essendon on Sunday, Fremantle in the final round of the season then must prepare for finals.
“The last thing I want it to be is playing on our own players’ minds and it shouldn’t be,” he said.
“Because we’re not talking about it.
“Our players know how much we value them as people … we’re very keen to retain as many of our own players as we can.
“So it’s not right to talk publicly about it, because we really value everything our boys have done for us this year in trying circumstances.”
Beveridge, who worked as a development coach at Collingwood when Cloke was winning games off his own boot, was hopeful the 29-year-old would stay at the Magpies.
“He’s been a great Collingwood player. A premiership player and his very best is extremely good,” he said.
“It’d surprise me if Collingwood didn’t want him to see out his contract.
“If at the end of the year he wants to move on then they’re going to try and find suitors, whether we’re one of the clubs involved in that remains to be seen.
“I haven’t spoken to Travis since 2010.”
The Bulldogs have showed admirable depth this year and will need to continue to do so.
Beveridge confirmed injured midfielders Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae wouldn’t play until September, while hamstrung defender Dale Morris will miss Sunday’s clash at Etihad Stadium.
“We just want to be certain with him,” he said of the veteran.
“He’ll almost definitely play against Fremantle in the last round.”