Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge’s explosive press conference verbal attack on a journalist is expected to have major ramifications for the AFL club.
Post-match attention has completely focused on Beveridge rather than on Melbourne’s 26-point win over the Bulldogs in Wednesday night’s AFL grand final rematch.
Bulldogs hierarchy were expected to discuss Beveridge’s behaviour at urgent meetings on Thursday.
In one of the fiercest sprays at an AFL press conference, Beveridge berated Fox Sports’ Tom Morris for an accurate report about Bulldogs premiership midfielder Lachie Hunter being dropped for the season opener.
After the extraordinary three-minute tirade, in which he labelled Morris a “gutter journalist”, Beveridge stormed out of his media conference early.
“You’ve got the nerve to ask me a question and even be here,” Beveridge responded to a question from Morris about the pre-game saga around Hunter.
“You’ve been preying on us and causing turmoil within our football club by declaring our team well before it needs to be declared.
“Is that the gutter journalist you want to be?
“We went in with a plan, we had some late stuff go on out in the warm-up.
“All the other stuff was according to plan right from the Sunday and somehow you’ve found out about that again.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of this, obviously we need to put our hand up to say there’s some leakage going on.”
The Bulldogs’ 2016 premiership coach said Morris was “not welcome” at the press conference and Beveridge attempted, unsuccessfully, to have him removed.
Beveridge went on to claim the report was “muck-raking trash”, Morris was an “absolute embarrassment” and he was giving “everyone else a bad name”.
The press conference came to an end so abruptly Beveridge did not even address the fitness of superstar captain Marcus Bontempelli, who was clearly troubled by an ankle injury for most of the second half.
Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was stunned by Beveridge’s reaction.
“That surprised and amazed me. I was sitting back here … I just could not believe what I was seeing,” Buckley said on Fox Footy.
“That’s an emotional response and he’s created something that he’s now going to have to handle and deal with over the next two or three days.
“This is going to be replayed, it’s going to be gone over.”
It was a truly bizarre end to a night that included Melbourne unfurling its first premiership flag in 57 years in front of 58,002 fans at the MCG.
Hunter was named in the Bulldogs’ team on Tuesday night but was demoted to medical sub an hour before Wednesday night’s contest at the MCG.
However, he earned a reprieve into the starting-22 when Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen suffered an injury during the warm-up.
The report about Hunter ran on Fox Footy on Monday night, with Beveridge bristling at any questions about his midfielder at his pre-game press conference on Tuesday.