The Western Bulldogs held their nerve, saving coach Luke Beveridge from a potential heart attack in the pulsating AFL win over Adelaide.
While the key statistics suggest the Bulldogs should have won by a lot more than 15 points, Beveridge was happy to set those numbers aside.
He was far more focussed on the Bulldogs’ better use of the ball.
And after tight losses this season to Hawthorn and North Melbourne, Beveridge was particularly pleased that his players withstood the Crows’ last-quarter surge.
Adelaide only trailled by three points with less than two minutes left, after the Bulldogs led by 25 points early in the last quarter.
A booming 50m goal from Marcus Bontempelli and then Bailey Dale’s accurate shot on the final siren ensured the win.
“It allowed my heart rate to go down by about 30 beats,” Beveridge said of the goal from Bontempelli, who was best for the ‘Dogs.
Adelaide had drawn to within three points thanks to Josh Jenkins’ eighth goal.
The Crows found Jenkins with a long kick – not dissimilar to the play that gave Hawthorn the match-winning goal in their round-three win over the Bulldogs.
“It wasn’t a sinking feeling, but maybe a hint of deja vu,” Beveridge said of the Jenkins goal.
“But … we managed to compose ourselves.
“They didn’t lose their nerve.
“Just to have that calmness, a level of composure when they were really coming at us, it’s an outstanding win and a big night for our side.”
After only kicking six goals in last week’s loss to North, the Bulldogs kicked 18 goals against Adelaide.
“I was happy though with what we did with the ball, when you compare it to last week,” Beveridge said.
“We were a fair way off base, so we worked quite hard on it during the week and we needed to correct that.
“There’s no doubt we were sometimes a bit too bold with the ball, but we knew it would go that way rather than being too conservative.
“We definitely capitalised a hell of a lot more than what we have.”
Bulldogs star Jake Stringer was accused of being too selfish last week, but he bounced back with an outstanding game against Adelaide.
“Jake played a terrific game and he had a really rounded and balanced game,” Beveridge said.
“We saw all his skills.
“As I’ve said … he’s learning all the time.
“He’s still a young player who gets a lot of attention and it’s really important that we support him in the right way.
“He continues to search for consistency.”