Beveridge backs rested up AFL Roos
His Western Bulldogs side are in the finals mix so radically stirred by North Melbourne’s mass-rest but coach Luke Beveridge says it’s fine with him.
The Kangaroos have dropped nine players who are suffering from niggling injuries for their match against Richmond on Friday night, taking their cue from first-placed Fremantle who have omitted 12.
Should the Tigers win as expected, the Dogs will be effectively denied a chance to climb above sixth in what has been a breakout year.
But Beveridge said he supported North coach Brad Scott’s controversial call – partly because it added to the intrigue at finals time.
“It’s everyone’s ambition and drive to go as far as you can in the year,” Beveridge said.
“If that’s going to help you then that right (of the coach to pick who he wants) needs to be protected.
“There’s no ulterior motive … and I like the fact that it’s happening because it is interesting.”
Beveridge suggested both sides had upped the stakes for their first finals match.
“I think everyone will be looking to next week to see how Fremantle plays and how the Kangaroos play based on what they’ve done,” he said.
Beveridge said he didn’t have to consider his own mass-rest because of the club’s season-long rotation strategy.
“What we’ve done through the course of the year is give players games off or time away from the club,” he said.
“We (thought if we) got to the finals we’d be in pretty good nick and we could march into that first final full of energy.
“Now we want to maintain our momentum from last week.”
Against Brisbane, the Bulldogs have omitted three players; veterans Bob Murphy, Matthew Boyd and Dale Morris.
While all three are listed as “general soreness”, Beveridge insists they are legitimate concerns with Murphy complaining of “a bit of tendon stuff happening high around the groin”.
The new concern will be monitored closely for fear it could cruel the captain of their elimination final.
Beveridge also said he was delighted this would be his last home and away game with the substitutes vest.
The AFL announced it was abolishing the much-loathed rule on Thursday to Beveridge’s delight.
“I’m rapt,” he said.
“I think everyone was all for it but I’ve been reasonably vocal in my pursuit of having it abolished … I hate the player management aspect of it.”