WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge admits he is still unclear about the deliberate rushed behind rule after his team won a crucial free kick late in its victory over Sydney on Friday night.
With the Swans trailing by four points late in the epic encounter at Etihad Stadium, Sydney youngster Callum Mills was penalised for rushing the ball through for a point.
Important Dogs defender Liam Picken took the free kick and snapped a vital goal to lift his side to a 10-point lead, breaking the back of the Swans who had surprisingly risen from a three-quarter time deficit to take momentum in the clash.
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Mills, who claimed last year's NAB AFL Rising Star, was in the clear when he punched the ball through for a behind with Picken metres away.
The decision and resultant goal gave the Dogs the breathing space they needed on the way to the 23-point victory in the Grand Final rematch.
"I think we're all trying to work out what is deliberate and what isn't," Beveridge said post-game.
"I actually wanted a free kick in the goal square because I saw the one in Adelaide last week and I didn't realise it had gone through the points, so I was way off base.
"Whether there's direct pressure or no direct pressure, whether it's before or within that nine metres of the [goal] square, I'm not sure which way it goes. I'm not sure if it's there or if it isn't there."
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Beveridge said there was still an element of confusion around what constituted a deliberate out-of-bounds call as well, and said he was unsure if the call on Mills was correct.
"If you can make another decision, and if you're not under direct pressure, it always weighs in [to account]. I don't know if there was enough pressure on that, I haven't seen the replay," he said.
Opposing coach John Longmire was tight-lipped when quizzed on the Mills decision.
"Was it a free kick or not, I don't know. But to be fair that was probably one of them," he said after the defeat, which left the Swans at 0-2 to open their season.
"Thought it was under pressure? I don't know. I'm the wrong one to ask."
Beveridge credited the even spread of Bulldogs contributors in the win, with the premiers having nine goalkickers to Sydney's five, and amassing 61 more disposals than last year's runners-up (412 to 351).
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He praised the performance of star midfielder Marcus Bontempelli (29 disposals, two goals) who again lifted when his side needed him in the second half, while also singling out the efforts of fellow midfielders Tom Liberatore (19 disposals, 16 tackles) and Luke Dahlhaus (25, six clearances).
Former Magpie Travis Cloke also won plaudits for his three-goal game.
"It was great to see Travis do what he did in the first half. That was power forward, influential [type of] stuff [that] helps your teammates walk taller. He was quite brilliant," Beveridge said.
"It's great for him to do that in his second AFL game for the club."
Despite their long list of prominent players on the night, the Dogs looked set to be overrun early in the final term when they gave up a 22-point three-quarter time lead to fall behind the Swans.
Lance Franklin threatened to take the game away from the home side with his flurry of goals, but Beveridge was pleased with the way his mature side settled.
"We were in a bit of trouble. It was a great effort to arrest that momentum because the Swans were flying at that point in time," he said.
"It was a strange one because we don't often sit on our hands but there was a fair bit of trust in the boys and what they're capable of doing.
"There was a slight shift in roles, but it was a tremendous effort to get that back on our terms."