COACH THRILLS IN THE CHASE
WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge admits he instructed his players to put the foot down in the second half for a percentageboosting win against Essendon yesterday.
The Bulldogs’ finals stock soared again after they stormed into fifth position on the ladder with an 87-point demolition of the Bombers at Etihad Stadium.
On the back of a sevengoal haul from Stewart Crameri, the Bulldogs notched their sixth win in seven matches and remain just one game shy of the fourth-placed Sydney Swans.
Leading by 39 points at the halftime break, Beveridge said he told his players to make the most of the opportunity in front of them to bolster their percentage.
“We were (mindful of that) actually. We haven’t had many opportunities to have big margins and today presented one,’’ Beveridge said after the game.
“We have spoken about it the couple of times that we have — that let’s go in for it and try and stretch it out as much as we can, and no complacency, and all those sorts of messages.
“All the players got their heads around that and I don’t feel like we dropped off at all throughout the course of the game.’’
Despite his team’s blistering form, Beveridge and his troops were still shying away from talking about finals just yet.
The Bulldogs are chasing their first finals appearance in five years.
“It’s there (talk about finals) and each week that goes by, if we can win again, we’re a step closer to it,” Beveridge said.
“What that looks like, who knows, but we’re not there yet.
“There is a lot of teams in the mix to make it and we’re just one of them.
“We confront Port Adelaide next week who are going well and they beat us last time so it’s another challenge.
“We are obviously trying to improve and get better every week ... we hope that there’s continued improvement this year.’’
The Bulldogs face the Power at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with Melbourne, West Coast, North Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions to come.
Crameri starred for the Bulldogs in attack against his old side, with support from Jake Stringer and Tory Dickson, who each kicked four goals.
Beveridge said Crameri’s haul was reward for his hard work after he was sent back to the VFL to work on his game.
“It didn’t really work out for him early, and us, and to his credit he went back to VFL level and it took him a few weeks to be selected and we’re seeing the fruits of him putting his head down and working hard right now,’’ Beveridge said.