AFL 2020: Western Bulldogs coach says lingering Queensland wet will force footy rethink
Chaos balls and goals by “stealth” could be the best way to score as the lingering big wet in Queensland starts to take hold of matches.
A Monday night downpour in Perth was the “extreme” in recent conditions but Beveridge said the weather in the AFL’s new base for games in northern Australian was continuing to be a major factor in planning.
Dry conditions are forecast for Wednesday’s clash with Richmond, but Beveridge said early evening dew has and will continue to impact matches.
Big key forward have continued to struggle with small forwards dominating the goal kicking list and Beveridge said the team which best adapted to the surge style of football would prosper.
“ Most games are played in slippery and wet conditions so for forwards it’s becoming pretty tough and we’re seeing that in recent times. It’s definitely a lot different to playing under the roof,” Beveridge said.
“The teams that are adjusting, you talk about what your system is and your style and there is still some pretty strong elements in what you plan to do, but you do need to adjust pretty quickly. We’ve done it OK.
“I’m no meteorologist ... but the last two (games) have been slippery and we had some rain last week and that clearance game and the opportunity to get territory from centre bounce and create some chaos in a wet, damp forward 50 arc, you might just luck out on a goal or two from the ball skidding out in your direction.
“The more you can create those opportunities, through stealth more than anything, a bigger chance you are to grind away and have a margin.”
Beveridge knows the Tigers fit that “manic” style of football but conceded that, like his team, the reigning premiers were still working out where they sat in the premiership mix.
He said the compacted fixture, changing injury landscapes, and the fact they each team played each other only one hadn’t given him a sense where the Bulldogs really are, despite five wins in six games.
“We go over the equator now, half way, it’s the ninth game with eight to go, and the fact we only play everyone once means in the context of the season you are not sure where you sit,” he said.
“ We are just trying to work out where we sit, who we are, who we can beat, where we belong and ultimately whether we are chance to make it at the end. There is still a lot of uncertainty attached to that for both teams.”
That uncertainty extends to what teams could look like over the course of the next month, with Beveridge conceding his team could change its look considerably by the time they get to the next group of games beyond Round 12.
“Aaron Naughton will be available, Josh Dunkley, we anticipate Lachy Hunter will be available in a couple of games. The forward line is a moving feast a little bit,” he said.
“Our defenders last week were quite magnificent, and they have a challenge this week to live up to a standard. Our forward line will continue to evolve. Some of our decision making around selection … how deep we go will change the face of our team as games go on.
“Maybe that’;s the fascination with the season too, there’s so much uncertainty.”