Coach tells Dogs to enjoy grand final week

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge wants his AFL side to enjoy the week ahead as they seek to end more than 60 years of anguish.

The Bulldogs will face Sydney in the club’s first grand final since 1961, and they’ll be gunning for their first premiership since 1954.

That drought will generate plenty of headlines before the ball is bounced on Saturday, while the 22 players will deal with the drama of grand final week.

“All the people who have experienced them will tell you that you’ve just got to enjoy the moment, you’ve got to enjoy the week,” Beveridge said of his club’s approach to the next six days.

“You’ve got to make sure that you don’t play the game over and over (in your head).

“Every final is essentially more important than home-and-away games, but if you stray from what you know, you’re in a bit of strife.”

Beveridge admitted it would be challenging for his side to deliver their trademark freewheeling approach in such a high-stakes contest.

“(The players will be) trying to find a level head to play with the freedom that you’d like to, but also understand the significance of the occasion and the opportunity,” he said.

“The nature of our players and the way that they’re built, such a contemporary new age sort of a bunch, I think they’ll just really enjoy it and take it in their stride.”

Jordan Roughead played no part in the second half after smothering a kick with his face.

Roughead is upbeat he will be fit to face the Swans, but the club will be sweating on an update regarding his injured eye.

The Bulldogs have endured a luckless year on the injury front, with a series of setbacks headlined by captain Bob Murphy’s knee reconstruction.

Murphy, who was drafted in 1999 and has featured in 295 games for the Bulldogs, hasn’t played since round three of the regular season.

The 33-year-old was in tears at Spotless Stadium after his side clinched a spot in the grand final.

“There’s a lot of emotional people out there and no doubt everyone feels for Bob but he’s just been such enormous support for the players,” Beveridge said.

“You guys know the sort of person he is. He’s such a dignified young man, too. He will just go about supporting the players as he has. Nothing will change.

“He won’t take anyone’s mind off what’s up ahead. He’ll handle it in the right fashion.”

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