WESTERN Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney heaped praise on Jack Macrae after the emerging midfielder responded to some tough love with a best on ground performance in his team's upset win over Gold Coast in Cairns.
The previous week, McCartney had made Macrae the Dogs' substitute for their game against Geelong. And he explained the decision by saying, "Jack has been letting us down in some areas and he is well aware of those areas." 
But McCartney was delighted with Macrae's 43-disposal response against the Suns. Macrae, 19, is the youngest AFL player to have more than 40 possessions in a match. 
"His strengths came out in buckets tonight, which we knew he had," the coach said.
"We've never had any concerns with the player Jack will become, but we coach all our young boys firmly, but always with an encouragement." 
Macrae had 26 disposals in the second half, and put the icing on the cake by slotting two crucial goals in the final quarter.
"He's a very strong, determined young man, and resilient young people, which is what you need in this industry, generally have a way of dealing with the good times and the tough times," McCartney added.
Macrae's superb performance helped the Dogs cover the loss of their skipper, Ryan Griffen, who was a late withdrawal after falling ill the day before the game.
Asked if Griffen was close to playing, McCartney said, "He wasn't, then he was, and then he wasn't.
"And in the end he ended up just not probably physically feeling well enough to mentally deal with the game.
"And it was the right decision in the end. We'll get him back next week fresh.
"It was quite bizarre that you go away, we all eat, and one person wakes up crook, and it had to be him. He's a pretty good player."
The Bulldogs started full of running, kicking five goals to two into the wind in the first quarter.
They then lapsed back into their old stop-start ways, failing to score a goal with the breeze in the second term.
But after kick-starting their game again in the third quarter, the Dogs ran away with the contest in the final term, booting six goals to two.
"Things went our way tonight. It was a great win," McCartney said.
"We both came off six-day breaks. They ended up with a couple (of players) down … so you get that sometimes.
“Good on our boys for taking the chance. (Gold Coast) was coming off a pretty tough encounter last week, and … that might have helped.
"But for all that, we did play some really good footy early and after half-time. I'm really proud of our players."
Given Richmond took three attempts to win a home game in Cairns, McCartney was delighted his men were able to master the tricky conditions at Cazaly's Stadium on their first visit to the venue.
And although the Dogs are yet to commit to playing more home games in Far North Queensland, the coach won't be publicly campaigning against the idea.
"The sport is growing in this area and I would've thought it was a really enjoyable day for the people who came to the game," he said.
"The ground was really good. It's a little breezy, and that was a test … but we've had a good time.
"There was a lot of red, white and blue in the crowd tonight, which was fantastic.
"I don't know if we're coming back next year, but it's been good fun."
The Bulldogs have an eight-day break before hosting Essendon at Etihad Stadium.