WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says Saturday’s three-point win over Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval was one of the best during his time as coach.
The Bulldogs have earned a reputation for brave performances in Beveridge’s time at the helm but it was hard to argue with his assessment on this victory.
The Dogs lost defender Marcus Adams before the match and then went down a man during the second term when Luke Dahlhaus suffered what appeared to be a significant knee injury.
Beveridge confirmed Dahlhaus had strained a medial ligament in his left knee and was set to miss some football.
They had to overcome a ferocious Port Adelaide that put the Dogs under the blowtorch during an intense opening half.
"It’s up there with the best of them," Beveridge said, when asked to assess where the performance ranked during his time in charge at Whitten Oval.
"It was a great game. Both teams going hard at each other, going hard at the footy and, I don’t know how many lead changes there were but it was a day of persistence…
"They were really brave our guys and so were the Port Adelaide players … I thought our players were enormous today."
Beveridge said Port’s pressure made the Dogs' trademark slick ball movement difficult to produce and said the club had to find other ways to win.
The Dogs' coach said scores from stoppages, a stoic defence and general resilience were keys to getting four crucial premiership points.
"We had to try to find a way to win in other ways and we haven’t won that many games from scores from stoppages, but I think that was a little bit of the difference in the end," he said.
"For that backend to hold up like they did with Joel Hamling coming in … they did tremendously well."
Beveridge praised the efforts of his entire team and gave special mention to Mitch Honeychurch who performed well in his first match this year.
He also praised Jake Stringer who was moved up the field in the final term and played a crucial role after being relatively quiet for three quarters.
"We tried something different and we put him (Stringer) on the wing," Beverage said.
"Jake had a big last quarter. He was down earlier in the game but he had a match-winning last quarter."
Beveridge said he asked Matthew Boyd to speak to the umpires at three-quarter time after being on the wrong end of a 23-10 free kick count.
He wanted to clarify the interpretation on how marking contests were being officiated.
"It was just an interpretations (thing)," Beveridge said.
"We just wanted to (get an explanation) in relation to running with the flight of the ball and technique there."