Bulldogs emerge as a smoky for tilt at a deep finals run


“We’re just looking at the next opportunity … I don’t talk about anything other than the following week with our group, but you never know what can happen.

”That’s really the train of thought that I’ve always been on as a coach and I believe a lot in our group and our players.”

Midfielder Josh Dunkley was outstanding for the Dogs, with 39 disposals and two goals, as well as an array of pressure acts including 15 tackles – one of which, on Angus Brayshaw, saved a certain goal.

The Dogs’ win was all the more impressive given that they lost Toby McLean to a hamstring injury in the first quarter, while Marcus Bontempelli spent time off the field with an ankle injury he picked up when his leg left became trapped under a pack in the second term.

Beveridge said Bontempelli had epitomised courage by playing through pain and influencing the contest in the second half, at the same time ensuring that the team was not reduced to 20 and limited with interchange rotations.

The Dogs have several players pushing to return to the team this week. Dale Morris, in his third game back from an ACL injury, Mitch Wallis, Lin Jong and Billy Gowers all performed well in Footscray’s seven-point curtain-raiser win over Casey.

Dogged: Melbourne’s Nathan Jones handballs on under pressure from Lachie Hunter.Credit:AAP

The Bulldogs could also welcome back Tom Liberatore from the surgery he underwent after damaging his knee cartilage during the Round 13 clash with Carlton, and crucial ball user Caleb Daniel.

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he was “always disappointed when you don’t get the result” but still preferred to focus on the positives, notably the three goals from teenage forward Harrison Petty.

Goodwin conceded it was “a challenge finding an avenue for goal” and said his players weren’t bold enough with the way they used the ball, but refused to be drawn on the bigger picture for the team or the club.

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