AFL finals: Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge hits out at being denied permission to train in Adelaide
The Western Bulldogs are doing their best to laugh off what coach Luke Beveridge called “unreasonable” restrictions imposed on his side by South Australian health officials ahead of Saturday’s preliminary final showdown with Port Adelaide.
Having traversed the country to Perth following last week’s nail biting one-point win over Brisbane at the Gabba, the Bulldogs fly in to Adelaide on Friday afternoon.
But they have been denied the opportunity for any training sessions before the Saturday night match, something they had been afforded in both Brisbane and Launceston before their last two finals.
Instead, a lunchtime walk on Saturday afternoon will be their only chance to leave the team hotel.
Having been tested for Covid 14 times in the past month, and coming from non-Covid hotspots, Beveridge said: “I think we’re negative.”
While acknowledging the pandemic was a serious situation, he said all he and his players could do was laugh at the latest situation that would add “extra motivation” to their cause.
“Usually, what we do is we land and go and have our last training session. The SA health officer hasn’t allowed us to do that today, which isn’t ideal,” Beveridge said on Friday.
“We have almost a three-hour flight and then we are not allowed to stretch our legs and get moving again. We won’t be able to do that until we maybe go for a walk at lunchtime the next day.
“After we get tested again tonight, I think that will be our 14th Covid test in 25 days. I’m pretty sure we are negative. It’s a really strange one for us.
“We just deal with it comically. The pandemic is serious, we know that, but this one is unreasonable, so all you can do is laugh at it. You let that wry grin emerge on your face and have a little bit of a chuckle and move on.”
Beveridge said the extra obstacle was just one more challenge for his team, which defeated Port Adelaide in Melbourne in round 23 before hitting the road for the finals, to overcome.
“It does (steel you), that galvanisation of your people,” he said.
“The word that has been used extremely often is resilience. To get this far in this kind of year you have already established a significant amount of intestinal fortitude from our people, mostly our players.
“It’s just another opportunity to come together and establish that resilience. It’s another angle of motivation and adds to the spice and the lead-in to the game.”
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