Dogs in crisis

 

The Western Bulldogs have been the talk of the town this week, but all for the wrong reasons.

Brian Lake was dropped to the VFL due to his lacking of match fitness and unprofessionalism at the senior level 4 weeks ago and now the Dogs find themselves on the back foot, as they attempt to atone last week’s 123-point capitulation to the West Coast Eagles in Perth.

The stats in last week’s match were damning.

DOGS’ DISASTER – DAMNING FINAL QUARTER STATS
WCE WB DIFFERENCE
Disposals 111 61 50
Marks 40 14 26
Contested Possessions 42 29 13
Centre Clearances 13 5 8
Inside 50’s 19 7 12
Score 10.4.64 0.0.0
MORE STATS THAT WILL HAUNT THE DOGS
*They had 58 fewer contested possessions than the Eagles(The worst differential in any game this season)
*Had 31 inside 50’s(The club’s worst recorded in any home and away game ever)
*Hit the target with 49% of kicks in the first half
*Only 1 in top 5 kick getters had kicking efficiency above 50% (Liam Picken)

The Eagles kicked 17 of the last 18 goals in that game last Sunday and Dogs appeared to have given up, which is one of most disappointing things.

On Monday, Western Bulldogs’ President David Smorgan stated an apology on the club website:

“We all apologise to our members and fans.

We all share the disappointment and embarrassment of losing a game by 123 points, our fourth worst loss in the club’s history and our worst since 1996.

We set ambitious targets this year… achieving these targets is the responsibility of everyone at the Western Bulldogs and not the responsibility of any one individual. We are all in this together.”

Expectations were high heading into 2011 but the Bulldogs now appear to be out of the running for the premiership, which is extraordinary considering this is a club who’ve made the past three preliminary finals.

Whether he realises it or not, David Smorgan has unwillingly put pressure on coach Rodney Eade to keep his job – a grand final appearance or it’s all over.

The public reaction to Smorgan’s comments on The Footy Show have been that if the Bulldogs don’t achieve that goal, which is now looking more and more unlikely, Eade won’t be at the club next year.

Smorgan again came out on Tuesday and said this regarding Rodney Eade:

“With 14 rounds to play, I want to re-iterate that we will continue to support and encourage Rodney Eade and the match committee to make whatever changes they feel necessary to ensure we again start playing consistent footy every week and every quarter.”

The next 14 games will decide whether or not Rodney Eade remains coach at Whitten Oval.

If the Bulldogs fail to make the eight, Rodney Eade will not be at the Western Bulldogs next year.

Regardless of what happens in the next 14 weeks, Rodney Eade will be involved in football at some capacity next year.

He has too much to offer.

He can easily get another coaching job, or even in a senior assistant role like Mark Thompson has at Essendon with James Hird.

Eade would be the ideal fit as a senior assistant to Michael Voss at the Brisbane Lions.

Let’s face it, the guy can coach – 4 premierships with Hawthorn as a player, he coached the Sydney Swans to a Grand Final in just his second year in charge and has been instrumental at the Western Bulldogs, taking them to the past three preliminary finals.

The success is there, but in year seven at the Dogs, this is likely to be his last.

But with 14 games to go, and facing a tough couple weeks against an in-form Hawthorn and an undefeated Geelong, the signs cannot be good.

The team is lacking spirit, drive and hunger for the contest and too many are just along for the ride.

Names such as Ben Hudson, Will Minson, Lindsay Gilbee, Daniel Giansiracusa, Robert Murphy, Tom Williams and Josh Hill are underperforming and their careers are hanging by a thread.

Lake has already been mentioned but you could also throw in Barry Hall, who at 34, you wonder where his future is at after persistent injury concerns this season.

The next 14 weeks could get really ugly if the Dogs continue on the same road they’re on.

Rodney Eade needs to roll the dice, make big calls on some big names and play the kids.

Like St Kilda, it’s time to play the future – Mitch Wallis, Tom Liberatore, Jordan Roughead, Lukas Markovic, Ayce Cordy, Sam Reid, Liam Jones, Callan Ward, Jarrad Grant, Liam Picken and Dylan Addison.

Former Swan Ed Barlow has been in ripping form with Williamstown in the VFL, get him in, along with another former Swan, recruit Patrick Veszpremi.

Alot of work is ahead of this club, pressing times ahead.

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