Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has backed Easton Wood’s stance on the AFL’s links with gambling, saying the captain has his full support.
Wood does not like the AFL having commercial ties with betting and has volunteered to take a pay cut if it meant the league would shy away from that area of sponsorship.
In the wake of Jaidyn Stephenson’s 10-week betting suspension, Beveridge had said last week that there was always more that could be done in the AFL around the gambling issue.
“Easton has a really strong personal opinion and stance on gambling – he stands pretty strong in some of those social justice … outlooks,” Beveridge said.
“I support him in all his opinions, absolutely. He’s a man of great integrity.
“It’s a strong message from Easton. It’s a real issue in our game, it’s a real issue in our society.”
On the field, Beveridge will also hope Wood, as one of the Bulldogs’ most experienced defenders, can help the Bulldogs in one of their two big problem areas.
The Bulldogs head into Saturday night’s away match against Port Adelaide with the coach worried about how they are performing at either end of the ground.
“Two areas of the ground where we’ve been really vulnerable is just finish – kicking more goals, obviously – and the other end, just giving them up too easy,” Beveridge said.
“Everything in between, the KPIs look okay for us.
“We have improved offensively, but where we haven’t improved is defensively this year.”
The Bulldogs only have five wins and will probably miss the finals for the third year in a row since their historic 2016 premiership, but Beveridge is buoyant.
“I’m really comfortable we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.
“Would we have liked to have won more games? Absolutely.
“But there are nine opportunities to win games and I feel like there’s no reason why we can’t – really push the envelope there.”
There is also great news at Whitten Oval this week, with much-loved defender Dale Morris to resume in the VFL.
For the second year in a row, Morris has made a remarkably-fast recovery from a partial anterior cruciate ligament tear in a knee.
“Sometimes that’s a real beacon and an example for where we want our players to get to,” Beveridge said of Morris.
Beveridge expects the Bulldogs to field an unchanged AFL side against the Power.