WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was heartened by his young players not losing their nerve from a shocking performance in Perth last round.
Beveridge liked the resolve and dare of his young team to take risks in the 21-point win against Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
"It was terrific and we always encourage that,” Beveridge said.
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"Some of our players are more capable than others to pull off the inside kicks and at times we looked good and created those open plays. But the kicks to the last player were in the air for too long or inaccurate, so we didn't make the most of those.
"As I said the other day, we couldn't be as bad as we were last week, but at times tonight there were still some headscratchers."
Beveridge explained confusion in numbers of each line prompted him to briefly leave his elevated coach's box and direct players from the interchange bench in the third quarter.
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"There was just a bit of confusion around the numbers game. At different stages Carlton took a seventh defender and we were playing one down on our backline at different times, and there was just a bit of confusion between our mids and our defenders," he said.
"I just went down to sort that out and that worked out OK. That doesn't happen very often.
"We played with seven forwards for a fair bit of the night and that allows you to go fast, go into overdrive and use your hands and the uncontested marking side of it. It was a different game and I was really proud of our guys on how they adapted and applied themselves and really pressed tonight."
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The Dogs coach said young ruckman Tim English was an example of the persistence during the difficult learning period of the season.
"We got beaten comprehensively in the hit-out side of things (48-15), but I thought Tim was pretty good around the footy. The more game-time they can get and experience at this level, the better off we're going to be. It's going to hasten their development and their capability," he said.
"They had their moments. There was some pretty blatant turnovers from both sides that probably didn't appeal to the purists. I think that happens with young sides that both teams are. The fatigue sets in and as the quarters roll on, you don't capitalise on open plays that look like laydown miseres, so there was a bit of frustration."
Premiership forward Tom Boyd took six marks, kicked 1.3 and had turns helping English with the ruck work against Blue Andrew Phillips, in his second game this season.
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"We got the ball to him with some appealing-type kicks that gave him a look. He should've kicked a couple more and that was a bit frustrating," Beveridge said.
"Some of those set shots we missed and put ourselves under pressure. That was a concern throughout the night.
"If (Charlie) Curnow had kicked that second last shot he had, that would've put them within 11 points and, for all the play, it wasn't going to be a nice spot to be in.
“So, it was good that we held on, but in many ways both teams let each other off at different times."
The Bulldogs' forward-50 pressure was also solid in a bid to climb the AFL ladder after an inconsistent start to the season.
"It was definitely an improvement on other weeks, so we'll keep pursuing that, we will be a very good forward-half pressure team again. When we create opportunities, we just have to make sure we take them off that pressure," Beveridge said.