Aaron Naughton warms up ahead of round 10, 2024. Picture: Western Bullldogs

WESTERN Bulldogs turned to the retirement of draftee Aiden O'Driscoll as inspiration on the way to a 27-point victory over Greater Western Sydney, according to coach Luke Beveridge.

O'Driscoll was forced to retire at the age of 18 without playing an AFL match due to concussion after sustaining a "significant head injury" during a pre-season training session in January.

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Bulldogs key forward Aaron Naughton wore a t-shirt with O'Driscoll’s No.37 and name emblazoned across the back in the warm up, after the 2023 draftee lived with him during his first month at the club.


Beveridge also made special mention of veteran Taylor Duryea playing his 200th match, as well as Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Liam Jones lining up in Sir Doug Nicholls Round, as keys to the stirring win.

"I feel like tonight, with the retirement of Aiden O'Driscoll, forced retirement due to the concussion side of things, that our boys just took a little bit of that out with them,” Beveridge said.

"More just to celebrate the fact that we're playing together and there's opportunities week to week to enjoy the game if we gel and contribute like your best teammates will.

"I think that's important for Aiden to know that his teammates really felt pretty emotional about him this week more than ever. I feel like that influenced the way that we played too.”


The Bulldogs controlled much of the contest against the Giants in wet and wild conditions, built on a 47-37 advantage in clearances.

But the Dogs risked paying the price for failing to make the most of their chances as the behinds piled up before they steadied late to finish with 8.22 to the Giants' 6.7.

"Particularly against a team like the Giants, if you're not capitalising you feel like it could cost you,” Beveridge said.

“I think we hit that left goal post six times tonight, and there were seven rushed behinds as well.

"Those big things are sometimes really important, but to our players' credit they held their nerve.”


Giants coach Adam Kingsley refused to blame his forward group for the lowest score of his tenure despite skipper Toby Greene and spearhead Jesse Hogan being the only players to find the goals.

The pair of forwards both managed three goals, with Hogan booting all of his in an imposing first half while Greene kicked the opener of the match then added two more in the final term.

But the Giants were unable to get their 'orange tsunami' running game going, especially when coming out of defence, as the Bulldogs dominated the territory with 62-41 inside 50s.


"I don't think our connection going forward was really strong, and add to that we didn't get the ball forward anywhere near often enough. That has an impact on everyone," Kingsley said.

"The Bulldogs defended us really well, they were able to get the ball in their half and lock it in far better than what we did.

"If you don't really provide the supply, it's going to be difficult to really capitalise."