Bulldogs using 'us against them' in AFL

Five years after coach Luke Beveridge famously implored his players to bring their voices and song to the AFL’s biggest stage, it’s the Western Bulldogs versus the rest of the world.

© Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS Bulldogs’ captain Marcus Bontempelli reckons his team have used recent adversity as motivation.

Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli has confirmed they have used their tough circumstances over the last few weeks as a theme for their outstanding finals campaign.

After squandering the double chance in the last round of the season, the Dogs have had to travel to Launceston, Brisbane and Adelaide in the finals.

They were given little chance in the preliminary final, but stunned Port Adelaide and will carry plenty of momentum into Saturday week’s Perth grand final against Melbourne.

“It is (a theme) – sometimes you just have to take what’s right in front of you and use that as inspiration,” Bontempelli told RSN when asked about their us-against-them mindset.

“The easiest theme was the one right in front of us, with regards to the fact that we had to do it a bit harder than anyone else and obviously we still have a way to go in regards to that.

“We weren’t given any allowances or things weren’t made easy and we used that to our advantage. It’s definitely become something more that we’ve run with in the last couple of weeks.”

Beveridge is well-known for using themes and storylines to galvanise his players.

In his pre-match address for their history-making 2016 grand final win over Sydney, he told his players “you are the rock stars on the stage.

“Bring your instruments, your voice, your song.”

Bontempelli said: “Bevo’s always great with a theme or two in how he sets the game up. 

“One of his really big strengths (is) being able to intertwine not just playing the game as a privilege, but then layers to what you can potentially achieve with a greater story or something that goes above and beyond just being lucky enough to play the game.

“He does spend a lot of time trying to find different cues and things to get the whole group up.

“Ultimately, he continues to find ways to orchestrate the different emotions you want to bring out in these big games.”

Bontempelli added the Bulldogs want to keep riding “the wave” that has taken them to the grand final.

The skipper, one of the favourites for Sunday night’s Brownlow Medal count, also said the knee injury he suffered in the semi-final win over Brisbane has not been a problem.

Bontempelli recovered in time to play last Saturday night against the Power.

“I felt pretty confident from the middle of the week onwards. Once I was fitness tested, it felt like I had all my strength and power and ability to ‘cut’, that I wouldn’t have any issues,” he said.

“It was a nice feeling to get out there … it’s pulled up well, too.

“I didn’t feel too nervous about it going in, but it’s certainly good confidence and assurance.”

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