Gilbee optimistic for Dogs in AFL
Retiring Western Bulldog stars Lindsay Gilbee and Ryan Hargrave insist the AFL club’s recent lack of success belies its potential.
The Bulldogs have struggled through a second straight miserable season following three years of top-four finishes.
Gilbee said one of the reasons for hope was the change of culture at Whitten Oval under coach Brendan McCartney, who replaced Rodney Eade this year.
After 13 years, Gilbee said a new era was set to bring the Dogs much-needed success.
“We’ve got a great footy program which Macca has put together and some really high-quality assistant coaches,” Gilbee said.
“We’re learning a lot behind the scenes and definitely there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Gilbee said injuries had contributed to his decision to quit but the mental challenge had been the toughest for him.
“My body’s actually not too bad now, it’s more the mind when it comes to me,” he said.
Gilbee and fellow 1999 draftee Hargrave will end their careers at the end of the season.
Gilbee will bow out with with 206 matches under his belt while Hargrave is likely to move to 203 after being set to return from suspension against Geelong on Sunday.
The duo have played in all of the Bulldogs’ 11 finals since 2001 and both nominated as their biggest disappointments the sides that fell painfully short of reaching a grand final with three consecutive losing preliminary finals between 2008 and 2010.
Hargrave described his decision to retire as “probably a bit of relief in the end”.
Gilbee was taken with pick 43 in the 1999 national draft, with Hargrave taken at No.66 on the same day.© AAP 2013