'Shoulda, woulda, coulda': Beveridge reflects
Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 2:27 PM

  - from afl.com.au

COACH Luke Beveridge has credited Sydney's famed pressure as the chief contributor in the Western Bulldogs' turnover-strewn performance that cost them a much-needed win on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs, even star midfielder Jack Macrae, were wasteful with the ball when it mattered, gifting the Swans several majors and continuing their season-long woes in front of goal.

They are the only side in the competition with more behinds than goals to this stage of the season and were again in the deficit (11.13) in a seven-point defeat at Etihad Stadium. 

The Dogs' third loss in four rounds came despite them having significant advantages in inside 50s (60-42), disposals (397-342), marks (113-85), clearances (36-26) and tackles (57-47).

"Sydney always bring (that indirect and perceived pressure). They'll force you into a mindset, a train of thought, that sometimes compromises your scope to finish," Beveridge said. 

"So, it was tremendous for a big portion of the game that we were able to find a way to finish, or execute, find teammates and chain in pressure situations.

"But if we couldn't maintain it and sustain it for the four quarters, then you give Sydney a bit of credit for forcing us down that track. 

"If we play the last quarter again, you'd like to think some of the boys execute a little bit differently and maybe we can get the four points, but we get back to that shoulda, woulda, coulda train of thought, don't we?"

Beveridge said his players were getting "enough good looks" at goal, but that area of their game remained a "work in progress".

The coach was able to reflect on how far his team had come in the past fortnight after a horrendous opening two weeks, including heavy losses to the Giants and Eagles.

The round three victory over Essendon kick-started the Dogs' season and it looked set to continue when they shot 22 points up in the second quarter against Sydney.

"Last week was a step in the right direction," Beveridge said. 

"But when you get so close, against a team like Sydney and just maybe stumble at the final hurdle, it's difficult to find that positivity, because you're so disappointed, which is a good thing. 

"As long as we all feel it and want to rectify it and play better next week.

"There's been some stimulus there to turn things around and credit to our players; we're looking like we're playing like we want to play. Now, our challenge is to sustain it and win." 

Beveridge was pleased with several of his younger players, including the role Aaron Naughton and Bailey Williams performed in support of Easton Wood on Swans superstar Lance Franklin. 

Twenty-year-old ruckman Tim English, in just his sixth game, was also very good for a second successive match in a competitive battle with Sydney big man Callum Sinclair. 

"Tim was good tonight. He competed well in the ruck, but he was able to get out and take a couple of marks and think through his possession," Beveridge said. 

"It's always a week-to-week thing in regards to form and productivity and so far he's going well. 

"Obviously, he's our tallest player on our list and he can get his hand on it a little bit easier in the ruck, because he is so tall and our mids haven't had a lot of that over the journey."

About the AFLCA
Round Eight Leaderboard
48 Nat Fyfe (Frem)
40 Max Gawn (Melb)
40 Jack Macrae (WB)
38 Tom Mitchell (Haw)
37 Trent Cotchin (Rich)
37 Patrick Cripps (Carl)
32 Jack Darling (WC)
32 Rory Laird (Adel)
31 Dustin Martin (Rich)
31 Steele Sidebottom (Coll)