Surprise snub has fans convinced Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has ‘lost the plot

Space-Separated Links


Luke Beveridge has gone full Bevo mode.

The Western Bulldogs coach has been renowned for his unique style at the selection table and he surprised fans again ahead of his side’s AFL clash with Essendon on Friday night.

An hour out from the first bounce, the Bulldogs named rebounding defender Bailey Dale as their substitute.

Watch every game of every round this Toyota AFL Premiership Season LIVE with no ad-breaks during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today >

Under AFL rules, the substitute is effectively a fifth man on the bench who can be injected into the game to permanently replace a player for the rest of the game.

Since the current version of the substitute rule was introduced last year, most teams have activated their substitute at some stage during the second half of games.

It’s a surprise call given Dale was picked in the All Australian team in 2021 and while he hasn’t had the best start to the season, he’s widely seen as one of the Bulldogs’ best ball users.

Eight players in the Bulldogs’ Friday night team had appeared in 50 games or less.

Dale’s omission from the Bulldogs’ starting 22 comes weeks after fellow All Australians Jack Macrae and Caleb Daniel were also named as substitutes.

Macrae and Daniel, both premiership players, have been dropped to the VFL during the opening weeks of the season.

Leaving senior members of the team out of the line-up left fans surprised to say the least.

AFLRatingsPete wrote on X: “Bailey Dale cops a stray from Bevo this week.”

One fan posted: “First Macrae, then Daniel, now Bailey Dale.. Bevo is having a laugh. Is this like pass the parcel? Picking from a hat?”

The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph explained Beveridge preferred new recruit Lachie Bramble, youngster James O’Donnell, Ed Richards as the rebounding defenders alongside key defenders Liam Jones and Buku Khamis in the backline.

Ralph wrote: “2021 All Australian Bailey Dale the sub. The Dogs want to repurpose Caleb Daniel as a defender so will build his form though the VFL.

“Dale hasn’t been horrible but Bevo loves the dash of Bramble and Richards and wants O’Donnell’s marking power alongside Buku/Jones.”

The Fantasy Footy Gods account joked: “Man we love Luke Beveridge. A genuine agent of chaos.”

AusBetTips posted: “Bevo has completely lost the plot why he continues to put the better players in the vest in a mystery.”

The Bulldogs boast Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Adam Treloar as their go-to midfield trio, but Beveridge hasn’t been afraid to tinker around the edges.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s Midweek Tackle ahead of Round 1, Herald Sun journalist Sam Landsberger reported there was talk among Bulldogs players that new recruits have been favoured at selection under Beveridge.

“There is a section of the locker room down at Whitten Oval that has a belief that players Luke Beveridge recruits, they get a golden ticket at the start of their career at the Kennel,” Landsberger said.

“There is a little bit of a precedence here – Jackson Trengove played 38 games in his first two years. Rory Lobb, indifferent form last year, played 20 games. Robbie McComb and Billy Gowers, they got great runs off the bat.

“I don’t mind it from Luke Beveridge. If he has gone out of his way to make a pitch to players: ‘I want you at my football club, I will back you in’. I think it’s absolutely fair enough he gives them a go straight off the bat.

“But there are certainly players at the club that have noted that the newbies have gone straight past them.”

It comes after the Dogs were busy on the recruiting front in the off-season ahead a pivotal year for the club where it’ll hope to bounce back after missing finals.

It included trading for Nick Coffield and James Harmes as well as the No. 4 draft pick (moved back to Pick 6), which it used to select Ryley Sanders, as well as picking up Lachie Bramble via the pre-season supplemental selection period.

Macrae and Daniel are contracted at Whitten Oval until 2027 and 2026 respectively.

Essendon and the Bulldogs both head into Friday’s clash at Marvel Stadium with 2-2 records.