Dale Morris couldn’t quite believe what was happening as he watched his beloved Western Bulldogs unravel at the end of a dismal 2014 season.
Skipper Ryan Griffen and coach Brendan McCartney had departed Whitten Oval suddenly, with long-time teammates Adam Cooney and Shaun Higgins also jumping ship.
A stunned Morris got good mate Jordan Roughead on the phone.
“There was a bit going on … we were reading things as they popped up in the media,” Morris said.
“Roughy and I spoke on the phone and it was almost disbelief at what was happening to the club at that time.
“There was a lot of unknowns and a lot of uncertainty around what was happening, but the club’s made some really good decisions since that time.
“It was an interesting time but it’s all worked out.”
Morris couldn”t have known the Dogs would undergo a such a dramatic reversal of fortune to break their 55-year grand final drought just two seasons after that incredulous phone call.
The 33-year-old has no doubt the appointment of Luke Beveridge and the ascension of Bob Murphy to the captaincy were the best of those good decisions.
“Bevo coming in as the coach at that time really brought the group together,” he said.
“It’s been galvanised since that point.”
Morris’ sentiments are wholeheartedly echoed by club president Peter Gordon.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Bevo and Bob Murphy, who are the two men I credit more than anyone else for the turnaround in this club in the last two years,” Gordon said.
“I do lay claim to saying very early on in 2015 that in the Luke Beveridge-Robert Murphy combination we had two of the outstanding coaches and captains respectively of the modern era.
“I did expect that we would make dramatic improvements.”