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Opinion

Luke Beveridge is on borrowed time - he's an inconsistent coach who gets inconsistent results

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16th April, 2024
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Western Bulldogs fans are beyond fed up with Luke Beveridge. Most are angry to the point of being irate.

In many ways, Beveridge is this era’s Kevin Sheedy, except a poor man’s version of him.

Both like speaking in riddles – Sheedy had his Martians and marshmallows, while Beveridge spouts indecipherable nonsense. Erratic coaching moves are a signature of both.

At least Sheedy coached a flag on average every seven years, Beveridge will have one in 10 if he survives this year.

Sheedy arguably didn’t deliver enough premierships for his time at the helm, given the talent that he had access to in his time.

Admittedly, he was up against a powerful Hawthorn in the 80s, a club that absolutely maximized the players they had, and an exceptional North Melbourne in the 90s.

Essendon finished on top of the ladder seven times under Sheedy, with another five top-four finishes besides. He consistently had them near the top.

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Beveridge has never had the Dogs finishing in the top four on the ladder. A fifth-placed finish is as good as it’s gotten at the end of the home and away rounds, and then only once.

Sure, he won the 2016 premiership from seventh with a miraculous run through the finals, and yes the umpires had their say, but it was truly stunning.

However, such was the unique nature of it, it was the ultimate outlier – and outliers don’t cut the mustard when considering a body of work over a long period of time.

Luke Beveridge has arguably the best player in the game, in Marcus Bontempelli. He has one of the best two ruckmen in the league in Tim English, a first-choice All-Australian last year. He has the best clearance player in Tom Liberatore.

Luke Beveridge.

Luke Beveridge. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

There are three more All Australians on the list, Jack Macrae, Caleb Daniel and Bailey Dale with five jackets between them.

Macrae was shunted out of the midfield last year, has been playing like a man whose confidence is shot ever since, and must surely be thinking of taking his talents elsewhere at season’s end. Daniel has been in the VFL and sub vest, while Dale was given the latter last round.

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Cody Weightman is one of the most dangerous small forwards in the competition, and no crumbing forward pocket has more goals than him this year.

The Dogs were gifted a number-one pick thanks to the ridiculous Academy rules the AFL has, and every ball not going to him inside 50 is a wasted one.

Aaron Naughton was worthy of an eight-year contract at the end of last season, so that tells you what the club thinks of him.

Sam Darcy is the smoothest moving young tall in the competition, a father-son at pick two, the year after Ugle-Hagan was drafted. Talk about being handed every advantage.

Straight away, almost half the team is made up of elite-level talent. Let alone the likes of Adam Treloar and Bailey Smith (injured for all of this year, but coming off the back half of last season where he under-performed), who would walk into every midfield.

Jake Stringer and Josh Dunkley couldn’t wait to get out of Whitten Oval, and Smith shapes as the same.

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But Beveridge does love his jobbers. Oskar Baker is a good old-fashioned dud.

Lachlan Bramble tries hard to take the game on but looks in a similar boat. Lachie McNeil has traditionally been a favourite, Anthony Scott another, and Robbie McComb were the flavours of the month at one point.

Bevo loves playing VFL players in the AFL. Who knows what happened to Roarke Smith. Rhylee West is having a good season after being chopped and changed for years.

Laitham Vandermeer is yet to deliver on his early career promise and shapes as another young talent that will spend years in the wilderness due to the erratic selection nature of the coach.

Riley Sanders is starting to get exposed to it, subbed off in two of his five matches after being taken at pick six in the 2023 draft.

Luke Beveridge is an inconsistent speaker, an inconsistent coach, and gets inconsistent results. It’s the one thing he is consistent with.

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Some years, the Dogs are top four for defence. Some years they are top four for offence.

Only once has it been both in the same season, which led to their highest ladder position under his tenure. Most of the time one is strong and the other is weak, but there is no telling from year to year.

As stated previously in other articles on The Roar, clubs are far too conservative with coaches who have been at the helm a long time without success.

Leon Cameron and Nathan Buckley at GWS and Collingwood are the most recent glaring examples.

Ken Hinkley at Port Adelaide and Beveridge at the Dogs are the current two, and there’s every chance Chris Fagan at Brisbane will be next.

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Look at what happened to Richmond when they waited too long on Damien Hardwick.

And make no mistake, the Dogs under Beveridge had outlier success in 2016, but that was eight years ago now.

It’s time to go.

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