Western Bulldogs playing group not buying what coach Luke Beveridge is selling, says Garry Lyon

MELBOURNE great Garry Lyon says the Western Bulldogs’ playing group isn’t buying what coach Luke Beveridge is selling to them, ruling them out of the premiership race for 2018.

The Bulldogs sit on the bottom of the AFL ladder after two big losses to the Giants (82 points) and Eagles (51 points) with a dismal, competition-low percentage of 48.7.

While 15 premiership players are still on the list, Lyon said the Dogs were out of premiership calculations if they continued to play like they had over the past fortnight.

Lyon said Beveridge might’ve momentarily lost the playing group.

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“I’m always happy to give teams a second chance after they have a game like the Bulldogs had in Round 1, but you need to see a response. That doesn’t necessarily mean a win — that means a response. They didn’t give a yelp, pardon the pun,” Lyon told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.

“We laud Luke Beveridge — and understandably and rightfully so for what he did in 2016. He sold something to that group and they bought it. Whatever he was selling, they bought it in and they won a premiership.

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Easton Wood of the Bulldogs and his Bulldogs teammates leave the field after losing to the Eagles.
Easton Wood of the Bulldogs and his Bulldogs teammates leave the field after losing to the Eagles.Source: Getty Images

“(But) right now, it would appear that whatever he is selling is not being bought at all. They were limp last week … well next week comes and arguably it was as bad.

“The challenge for Luke Beveridge as a coach is turn this around.

“It’s two weeks, but it’s a really worrying two weeks for them. We’re not saying that they’re going to win a premiership, but we are judging them on having a crack — and they’re not.”

Several examples of lacklustre efforts were highlighted by the Couch panel, including from Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen, during the club’s loss to West Coast.

Triple premiership Lion Jonathan Brown was particularly critical of the Bulldogs’ leadership group, saying senior players weren’t leading by example.

“Their efforts on the weekend were lacklustre, almost a lethargy about them. That would be driving (Beveridge) mad because it’s only Round 2 — players should be fit and fresh,” Brown said.

“The leaders, though, are a bit of an issue. Body language to me suggests that there might be something going on behind the scenes.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.Source: AAP

“Easton Wood is there captain, but he doesn’t look like a leader playing at the moment with great presence and great body language.”

Sydney premiership coach Paul Roos said Beveridge and the Dogs must “get back to basics” in order to turn their fortunes around.

“Now they’re not a premiership team, so let’s be really clear. They have to see themselves as a team but have to go back to basics,” Roos said.

“They need to start with the grunt work — I think that’s why we’re all unsure why Mitch Wallis isn’t playing. He’s got to start with 15, 14, 13 guys that he knows are going to get their hands dirty and perhaps place some guys around them for a structural point of view, someone like Tom Boyd as a forward, find another big defender.

“I think that’s where he’s got to start.”

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