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   Jul 05

Western Bulldogs take the points against Carlton, but also suffer injuries

Follow The Age Sport on TwitterWestern Bulldogs finally get off the leash against Carlton
Nanjing Night Net

At the start of the season,  Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge told his playing group they would not use inexperience as an excuse for poor performance.

The Bulldogs have exceeded expectations, but ended their win over Carlton on Saturday night battered and bruised, prompting questions about their physical readiness to face the run to the finals.

Jordan Roughhead jarred his back in the first half, Toby McLean hurt the AC joint in his shoulder, and backman Dale Morris may have broken his jaw.

Beveridge had already all but ruled McLean out for the next game, against the Gold Coast Suns in Queensland.

Morris played out the game, injury unnoticed by most onlookers, but Beveridge said there was a chance he had broken his jaw.

It happened during a marking contest in the first quarter.

“All you can do is laud that sort of courage, and that’s how we won tonight, based on spirit and courage,” Beveridge said.

The Western Bulldogs fielded 11 players who had played less that 50 games and Beveridge said he was proud of how they had played.

“We said to them at the start of the year, we can use it as an excuse or really reach for the sky and that’s what they’ve chosen to do,” he said.

It was now up to the team to endure and keep up their momentum as finals approached, the coach added.

“We’re a chance to lose three players through injury from this game, and that’s not ideal, because you do need some good fortune with injury.”

Caleb Daniel, who is shorter than most players and in his first game, was everywhere after being subbed on in the second half, and kicked a crucial goal.

“He’s not overblessed with height but he makes up for it in a lot of areas … tonight’s the start of his journey and he performed outstandingly well,” Beveridge said.

It was a close, scrappy game until the third quarter, when the Dogs kept the Blues goalless.

Carlton interim coach John Barker said the defence had let them down in the third term.

“You get a good lesson from a top eight team if you don’t want to defend (against) them with good intent for a full four quarters,” he said.

Young midfielder Patrick Cripps, who has been a bright spot during a difficult season for Carlton, limped off, but Barker said he had rolled an ankle and was likely to be fine.

Fans were subdued as they trouped into the ground. The teams ran onto the ground without fanfare and lined up for a moment of silence for Adelaide coach Phil Walsh, who died early on Friday morning.

After the match, players gathered in the centre of the oval, arms around each others’ shoulders, in a scene repeated at matches across the weekend.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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