With six teams enjoying the week off due to the programmed mid-season bye rounds, there was less quantity but no lack of quality during a fascinating round of football on the weekend. The festivities kicked off on Thursday night with Port continuing its good form with another win, but Friday night was what the AFL public was waiting for, with the Sydney Swans – the only team to defeat the Eagles – facing the West Coast again, this time on their home deck at the SCG.
by Lisa Albergp reporting for AFANA from Chicago
In mid-August, three more veterans announced they would be retiring at the end of the year - Bulldog Robert Murphy, Hawk Josh Gibson and Cat turned Bomber James Kelly. Murphy joins teammate and fellow 300-gamer Matthew Boyd in retiring.
Despite an almighty scare against the lowly ranked Tigers, the Western Bulldogs ran out 10 point winners in a stirring contest at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Fielding a young team with one eye firmly on the future, the Tigers almost pulled off a massive upset as they led deep into the final quarter. In the end it was the class of the enigmatic Jake Stringer and young gun Marcus Bontempelli that helped the Bulldogs to victory and kept their top-four hopes alive.
A crowd of just above 60,000 witnessed a thrilling Elimination Final on Saturday night as the Adelaide Crows ensured the Western Bulldogs would be the first team knocked out of the Finals race in 2015. Despite leading most of the statistics that usually result in victory (contested possession, time in forward half, clearances and shots on goal), the Bulldogs let themselves down in front of goal, while their Adelaide opponents nailed crucial shots which turned out to be the difference between living to fight another day or packing the footy boots away for another season.
Fresh off a first-up win against the West Coast Eagles, a young Western Bulldogs outfit was expected to find life tougher against Richmond on their home turf at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Tigers, expected to challenge for a Top Eight spot in 2015, had plenty at stake after an unconvincing Round One win over a weakened Carlton outfit. Kane Lambert was the second Tiger debutant in as many weeks, with star midfielder Brett Deledio missing through suspension and small forward Shane Edwards a late withdrawal through injury.
The Western Bulldogs have appointed Luke Beveridge as senior coach for the next three years. Beveridge has been the back line coach at Hawthorn for the past three years and was set to become director of coaching at St Kilda. Assistant coach Brett Montgomery was an early favorite, but his bid was unsuccessful. Beveridge will not be making any changes to the current coaching panel. Following a systematic and thorough process, Beveridge received the unanimous endorsement of the selection committee, led by Chris Grant and included Chief Executive Simon Garlick, John Worsfold, Luke Darcy and GM Football Graham Lowe. The recommendation of the sub-committee was unanimously endorsed by the club board. The committee was assisted by a recruitment consulting firm.