AFL grand final: Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge reveals motivational forces driving his team
Everyone wants to know what Luke Beveridge’s motivational theme is as his Western Bulldogs sit on the precipice of a second AFL premiership in five years.
The Bulldogs coach, known for his capacity to grab inspirational stories from left field to drive his men, won’t give it up.
But “Yield to None” is a motto that has been prominent during a stunning finals run that has taken the Bulldogs from Launceston, to Brisbane, then Adelaide and now Perth for the grand final showdown with Melbourne.
It’s those ever-improving on-field efforts, highlighted by a 71-point preliminary final demolition of Port Adelaide, that are really pushing Beveridge’s motivational buttons.
He said the players had become “their own inspiration”, which could overpower the theme he has been running with not just in the finals but the entire season.
“Themes are only worthwhile after the event. If we can pull it off (and win the grand final), all those storylines will come out,” Beveridge said.
“We have running themes week to week and a more global theme for the year, but it’s not for public consumption.
“The game is emotional, the escapism and the desire to find stimulus from other things is always there, especially with the new generations.
“When you become your own inspiration, when you start to do things that inspire yourself internally, it becomes more powerful than grabbing something from the outside.
“There’s a little bit of that going on.”
In his pre-match address for their history-making 2016 grand final win over Sydney, Beveridge told his players “you are the rock stars on the stage. Bring your instruments, your voice, your song.”
Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli said Beveridge was always painting a picture of the bigger story to any on-field achievements.
“One of his really big strengths (is) being able to intertwine not just playing the game as a privilege but then layers to what you can potentially achieve with a greater story or something that goes above and beyond just being lucky enough to play the game,” he told RSN.
“He does spend a lot of time trying to find different cues and things to get the whole group up.
“Ultimately, he continues to find ways to orchestrate the different emotions you want to bring out in these big games.”
With the grand final still to be played, Beveridge wouldn’t be drawn on the magnitude of what a Bulldogs premiership would mean given the ever-present hurdles his team has had to jump.
Traversing the country to win every final interstate, twice at their opposition’s home ground with extra and “unreasonable” quarantine restrictions also imposed on them in Adelaide, would make the win one for the ages.
But Beveridge said that would be for others to judge.
“Even in my grandfather’s time, playing in ‘The Machine’ era with Collingwood, winning four premierships in the 1920s, the storyline about that great team is quite incredible, playing during The Depression, ” he said.
“We are proud of ourselves in that we have won so many games interstate. It’s not easy. To have won games in most of the states has been brilliant I love that aspect of our year.
“I have no doubt if we can do it, we’ll be extremely proud and moved by it.
“Our players have inspired me and inspired us with what they have been able to do.”
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