Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has compared the team’s come-from-behind win over Melbourne to the club’s famous 2015 victory over Sydney early in his reign as coach that fuelled the team on their way to a drought breaking premiership the following season.
Having fallen 27 points behind late in the second quarter against the defending premiers with a spot in the eight on the line, the team persevered to overhaul the Demons eventually.
Their No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan kicked five goals in a breakout game as a reshuffled line-up persevered until they found enough rhythm to prevail.
Beveridge recalled the 2015 win by four points over the Swans which contained 13 members of the 2016 premiership team as he said the victory was “right up there with our best home-and-away wins”.
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan starred for the Bulldogs in their win over the Demons.Credit:Getty Images
“It is a really good platform for the future to win a game like that,” Beveridge said.
“Some of the boys who haven’t necessarily been involved in some of our monumental victories over the journey really stood up tonight and that will stand us in good stead for the future.”
He described Ugle-Hagan’s performance as “sensational” with the 20-year-old standing up as teammates Josh Bruce and Aaron Naughton were kept quiet, putting himself in line for a rising star nomination.
“We’ll celebrate that and then we will bring him back down to earth really, really quickly because there is a bit to come up ahead,” Beveridge said.
The Bulldogs play Geelong at GMHBA Stadium next Saturday night with the Cats sitting on top of the ladder while Melbourne head to Perth to play Fremantle in a fight for a top four spot.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said the team was shattered to lose the game as they considered it a lost opportunity with the Demons conceding 100 points to the opposition for the first time since round 19, 2019.
“110 points against isn’t a normal Melbourne game,” Goodwin said.
“They are disappointed, they’re shattered, they know it was a missed opportunity. When you lose tight games and close games at this time of the year it hurts. Our challenge as a footy club now is to respond quickly.”
Melbourne expect defender Jake Lever to return after he was a late withdrawal due to a shoulder injury while the return of Ben Brown, who has ongoing knee issues, remains uncertain. Their season is wobbling as they have now won just three of their past eight matches.
The Bulldogs’ Adam Treloar was outstanding as a running defender, but he may be in doubt to play against Geelong after being subbed out of the game with a calf problem. There is a chance Caleb Daniel will return for his first game since round 15 having overcome a knee injury.
The Bulldogs are back in the hunt as the most uncertain of seasons continues to take unforeseen turns.
“We have not had a win like that for a while,” Beveridge said.
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