The Roar
The Roar


What's wrong with the Bulldogs?

Roar Pro
28th March, 2018

Only one game into the season and already questions are being asked of Luke Beveridge and the Western Bulldogs. This follows an abysmal performance against the Greater Western Sydney Giants in Canberra going down 133 to 51.

After a second straight preliminary final exit, the Giants came out with a point to prove and looked to be in cruise control from the opening bounce.

Lachie Whitfield, Stephen Coniglio, Tim Taranto and Josh Kelly were ball magnets all day. Then, superstars Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene kicked six and four goals respectively to help bury the Dogs.

Two debutants for the Dogs were Billy Gowers and prized draft pick Aaron Naughton which raised some questions on selection, especially with players such as Tom Boyd, Josh Schache, Caleb Daniel, Mitch Wallis and Lin Jong were in the Bulldogs’ VFL side this weekend.

Other selection issues showed Beveridge going into the game with three players Jordan Roughead, Jackson Trengove and Tim English who could all play in the ruck.

English was the most questioned selection with such a light frame, just in his second season – only playing his third game.

Off-season recruit Trengove was a disappointment managing just four handballs and 14 hit-outs.

Roughead kicked two goals and had 20 hit-outs, while English showed some promising signs. The ruckman took some good grabs ending with 13 disposals, six marks and 11 hit-outs.


All preseason, Bulldogs’ captain Easton Wood played in the forward line attempting to add some more scoring to the Dogs’ forward line.

He was found out in this game, providing no real target. The normal defender ended with only seven disposals. More alarming, however, was not hitting the scoreboard at all and logging zero tackles. He’s an All Australian defender that’s where he should stay.

The Dogs are not just struggling up forward, but down back guys like Zaine Cordy and Fletcher Roberts, along with Naughton and Trengove, couldn’t contain the Giants forward line.

Cameron had 18 disposals, nine marks and kicking six goals. Greene had 25 disposals, ten marks and four goals. Jon Patton, Coniglio and Kelly were also multiple goal kickers.

Jeremy Cameron GWS Giants AFL 2017

(AAP Image/Julian Smith)

To dampen the Dogs’ season even more, midfielder Tom Liberatore went down with a torn ACL, ruling him out for the season

This week, Beveridge needs to show he means business at the selection table and make some tough calls.


The Dogs have great midfield depth but are struggling at both the attacking and defensive ends. Beveridge needs to be bold with his selections; play guys in their position, don’t use them where they are not used to or comfortable with playing.

The selection table for the game against the Eagles this week should be interesting. Firstly, Liberatore is out with his knee meaning Wallis should come straight in.

Trengove was a disappointment – so Boyd should hopefully come in as a key forward who can also play as a back-up ruckman.

As good as he was, English might need to make way for Schache who is more of a forward than he is and can hit the scoreboard.

New recruit Hayden Crozier from Fremantle struggled and may have picked up an ankle injury meaning Caleb Daniel should come in.

Even after a promising debut, Billy Gowers should make way up forward for the more experienced Lin Jong.

Beveridge would be feeling the most pressure out of all the coaches in the league.


Are they in rebuild mode or are they trying to get back to playing September after a disappointing premiership defence in 2017?

The Dogs have all the pieces to the puzzle, but can Beveridge get all of them together to push his team into finals contention?

This will be his biggest coaching challenge and could make or break his job with the Bulldogs.