THE WESTERN Bulldogs are still investigating a scary incident involving Hayden Crozier during Thursday night's defeat to Carlton, where the defender unexpectedly fainted at half-time of the clash.
Crozier was substituted out of the game during the main break, having reported light-headedness before fainting. The club is not sure whether he will need to spend Thursday evening in hospital, or the reasons behind why the medical incident occurred.
"He just fainted," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said afterwards.
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"We were all concerned about him. Our medical staff think he's OK. Not sure about the reasons why, but he just got light-headed and fainted.
"Obviously, straightaway, you make sure that he's looked after and I think he's in good hands. But that's all I've got for you at the moment.
"I'm not sure (if he'll go to hospital). They're monitoring him, but he seems to be fine at the moment. Hopefully, it's nothing more than some light-headedness for some reason and he's OK. But we'll fill you in when we know a bit more."
Bailey Williams was substituted into the game in place of Crozier, with the Bulldogs then booting four of the next five goals after half-time to whittle a 31-point deficit back to just two kicks against a fast-starting Blues side.
Beveridge, who oversaw the dramatic match in 2016 where both Mitch Wallis and Jack Redpath suffered gruesome injuries that the coach later described as "tragic", didn't feel Crozier's incident had the same impact on his side.
"I'm not sure who was around him when it happened and I didn't see how it happened, so I couldn't tell you whether it impacted anyone. I'd say, given the way we played in the second half, that I don't think it impacted anyone's performances," Beveridge said.
"We have had situations historically … the main game was when Mitch Wallis broke his tibia and fibula and Jack Redpath did an ACL in the same game. That did have an impact, but that's the only time I can remember. I'm pretty sure tonight, the boys kept it together."
Carlton improved to 2-0 on the season for the first time in a decade on the back of its mature 12-point win over the reigning Grand Finalists, with key forward duo Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay combining for nine goals in the victory.
The win was made all the sweeter following a week heavily impacted by COVID-19, with senior coach Michael Voss, football boss Brad Lloyd, midfield coach Tim Clarke and players Adam Cerra and Jack Martin all missing due to the virus.
Assistant coach Ash Hansen stepped up in the absence of Voss, revealing afterwards that Blues players all FaceTimed with their senior coach in the victorious rooms after the thrilling win.
"I haven't spoken to him directly yet, but the boys had him on FaceTime in the rooms and gave him a rousing reception and he was giving them the two thumbs-up from his couch. I think he's both a relieved and a very happy senior coach," Hansen said.
"I was pretty composed. I'd just been so focused in the lead-up to ensure that our boys were ready to play and that the distractions that potentially could have occurred weren't going to, because that was never going to be used as an excuse.
"The support I had from the football department, in Brad Lloyd and Vossy, was outstanding. All of the support staff who were around us during the week, who did that little bit extra to make sure we were really prepared, it came to the fore tonight."
Hansen said Voss had been listening in to the coaches' box throughout the night via AFL-approved technology, but that he gave his stand-in coach and his assistants full autonomy over decisions.
"Vossy gave a lot of trust in the group to lead tonight," Hansen said.
"He was certainly having ears on the box. He'd generally, at the breaks, give us a bit of feedback on what we saw. He was listening in, so he'd say: 'Yep … completely agree … go do it'.
"A couple of times, I think the line was breaking up and he was getting frustrated that he couldn't hear everything that was going on. But he put full trust in us and it was a great experience to work with the other guys tonight."