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Beveridge named coaches' top Dog for second straight year

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: Luke Beveridge, Senior Coach of the Bulldogs poses for a portrait session at AFL House, Melbourne, Australia on March 15, 2016. (Photo by Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Luke Beveridge has been named coach of the year for 2016

LUKE Beveridge has been crowned the AFL Coaches' Association coach of the year for the second straight season after leading the Western Bulldogs to their first Grand Final since 1961.

Beveridge, who took the reins at the end of 2014, has won the peer-voted award in each of his two seasons in charge and has this year orchestrated a fairytale run to the premiership decider. 

The 46-year-old edged out his Grand Final opponent, Sydney Swans coach John Longmire, and Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron to claim the award at a gala event on Tuesday night. 

Beveridge said his ability to have success at the Western Bulldogs relied partly on a philosophy of implementing a system and bringing players in to fulfil certain roles.

The Bulldogs have used 39 players on their list on the way to the premiership decider, while every other team to have used more than 35 did not make finals.

"We all see a canvas, it's whether it has got paint on it or it's blank. I see it in a certain way and system's important," Beveridge said.

"Once you teach a system, you can bring in different personnel through that and they can adapt. They have to buy in … and the most important people at the football club are the players."

Named after coaching icon Allan Jeans, the coach of the year award is voted on by more than 180 coaches at different levels of the AFL system.

The AFLCA this year conducted its voting after the preliminary finals, rather than the end of the home-and-away season, after Alastair Clarkson was overlooked for the award through Hawthorn's premierships of 2013-15.

The 187 AFLCA members vote 3-2-1 on the coach of the year, with Beveridge polling 341 votes to win from Longmire (202) and Cameron (118).

The voting criteria includes team performance, available resources and player talent, with Beveridge defying significant injuries this season to lead his club into the Grand Final.

The Bulldogs have also travelled twice in the finals – beating West Coast and GWS on the road and Hawthorn at the MCG – to create history on their way to this Saturday's decider. 

Other award winners were the Sydney Swans' Stuart Dew, who was crowned assistant coach of the year, and emerging Swans star Isaac Heeney, who was named the best young player.

The best young player award is for second-year players, judged across two years, with all AFLCA members voting 5-4-3-2-1.

Melbourne's Jesse Hogan was runner-up, with Jake Lever (Adelaide), Caleb Daniel (Western Bulldogs) and Darcy Moore (Collingwood) rounding out the top five. 

Games coached record holder Mick Malthouse was inducted as a coaching legend, joining fellow greats Kevin Sheedy, Leigh Matthews, David Parkin, Allan Jeans, Tom Hafey, Ron Barassi and John Kennedy snr. 

Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams was given the lifetime achievement award after an extensive career that also included assistant coaching stints with Essendon, GWS and Richmond.  

Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield was earlier this month named the champion player of the year after an outstanding season that also saw him crowned the 2016 Brownlow medallist. 

AFLCA Coach of the Year past winners

2003 - Paul Roos (Sydney Swans)
2004 - Mark Williams (Port Adelaide)
2005 - Neil Craig (Adelaide)
2006 - John Worsfold (West Coast)
2007 - Mark Thompson (Geelong)
2008 - Mark Thompson (Geelong)
2009 - Ross Lyon (St Kilda)
2010 - Michael Malthouse (Collingwood)
2011 - John Worsfold (West Coast)
2012 - John Longmire (Sydney Swans)
2013 - Ken Hinkley (Port Adelaide)
2014 - John Longmire (Sydney Swans)
2015 – Luke Beveridge (Western Bulldogs)