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WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is adamant his team’s attitude is not a problem in the wake of consecutive beltings from Sydney and Melbourne.
After being beaten by the Swans by 46 points in round 12, the Bulldogs were even more comprehensively dismantled by the Demons at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
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Held to a solitary behind in the first quarter, the Bulldogs conceded ground in each of the three remaining terms to slump to a 57-point loss.
It was the Bulldogs’ fourth defeat from their past four games and left them in ninth spot on the ladder.
Beveridge conceded in his post-match press conference his team’s belief had been challenged in recent rounds, but denied his players’ attitude was an issue.
WATCH: Dogs and Dees clash in fiery first half
“It’s definitely not an attitudinal issue or an application issue. It’s the nature of the last two losses that are really concerning, so I can understand the external commentary,” Beveridge said.
“Momentarily we’ve lost our momentum and trajectory, and belief in yourself as an individual and as a team can be fleeting.
“We’ve kept it going for a while but at the moment we’re challenged in that regard, so we’re just trying to troubleshoot and problem solve and get ourselves in a mindset where we think we can really win again.
“We came here today thinking that that was the case, but Melbourne were just too good.”
Sunday’s game was a fiery clash, with Melbourne defender Tom Bugg coming in for some attention early in the game following his pre-game post on Instagram that included a photo of himself and Demons teammate Jack Watts alongside the caption: “You ready @jasonjohannissen?”
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Bugg’s message appeared a thinly veiled suggestion the Dogs intended to target Johannissen with the same physical attention Sydney had used to restrict the Norm Smith medallist to nine possessions a round earlier.
Beveridge was surprised by Bugg’s post but downplayed its significance.
“I became aware of it at some point. It’s probably a bit surprising that he would do it, but he has the last laugh, doesn’t he?” Beveridge said.
After his dismal outing against the Swans, Johannissen was quiet again against the Demons. The defender’s 15 possessions included three rebound 50s and three inside 50s but there was little of the breathtaking run that made him such a weapon in the Dogs’ premiership year.
Asked about Johannissen’s performance, Beveridge did not want to talk about individual players, saying his team had not been getting the even contributions that had been its hallmark in 2016.
Beveridge said captain Bob Murphy (hamstring) could return for next Saturday night’s crucial clash against North Melbourne.
WATCH: Luke Beveridge’s full post-match press conference