Barry Hall has hailed the coaching style of Western Bulldogs mentor Luke Beveridge as Hall deals with his own conflicting emotions of having to watch two of his former clubs contest the AFL grand final
Key forward Hall played in the 2005-06 Sydney grand final teams , but left the club under a cloud after eight seasons, spending his last two years at the Bulldogs.
Hall said he supported the Bulldogs as a child and it would be a great story if they won the flag, but described himself as “a Swans man.”
“The whole (Bulldogs) story has just captured everyone, so, I want them to win for that reason but if the Swans win, I’ll be quite happy too,” Hall said on Wednesday.
He felt the caring man management approach of Beveridge who this week won the AFL coaches’ award for a second straight year, was a major factor in the Bulldogs’ rise.
“He’s almost changed the way coaching is,'” Hall said.
“He gives them a bit of a hug and a rub on the back and a bit of support, rather than hit them over the head.
“It’s probably where coaching is going.”
Hall said the Swans would be happy the success-starved Bulldogs made it through to the season decider as they would attract all the pre-match focus, allowing the Swans to slip under the radar.
“They slide into Melbourne Thursday and train and there’s not a lot of talk about the Sydney Swans,'” Hall said.
“It’s probably a perfect preparation, for them. They’ve been there, they’ve done it before.
“All the talk is about the Bulldogs, all the buzz.
“They are a young side. Can they handle it?
Hall experienced a similar situation in 2005, when the Swans attempted to end a 72-year premiership drought.
“We didn’t speak about it in 2005, we knew about it, because we spoke about it earlier in the season,” Hall said.
“But it’s not something that in grand final week you speak about.”
Hall noted Sydney’s sizzling seven-goal efforts in the first quarter of their last two finals and said the Bulldogs had a chance if they could hang in there in the early stages.
“I think the Swans will get ahead by halftime and it’s going to be hard work for the Dogs,” he said.