Eade happy with Bulldogs defence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eade happy with Bulldogs defence

By Adam Cooper 13/04/2009 08:10:01 PM Comments (0)

The tough lessons are paying off for Rodney Eade, who believes the Western Bulldogs' defence is the best he's had at the AFL club.

While booting goals is rarely a problem for the Doggies, the defensive end continued its improvement this season in keeping Richmond to just eight goals in Monday's win at Etihad Stadium.

Eade credited his defenders for keeping the side in the game at quarter-time, when the Bulldogs trailed by 16 points after going goalless in a quarter for the first time since round 17 last year.

While the forward line eventually clicked into place, the backline was resolute all day and instrumental in the 16.14 (110) to 8.15 (63) victory, the club's third straight.

Of the 2008 top eight, only North Melbourne conceded more points than the Bulldogs.

But Eade sensed during last year's finals campaign, his backmen were capable of standing up against the best teams.

Three rounds into this season they have conceded just 30 goals, and only Geelong's defence is ranked better.

"What we've done over the last three or four years is play a young defence, get them to play together ... without flooding, without getting numbers back," said Eade, who has "no doubt" the backline is the best he has had in five seasons.

"Let them learn the hard way and it's cost us goals, but I started to see towards the end of last year a real confidence within the group."

The improvement of Dale Morris, Ryan Hargrave and Tom Williams, combined with the run of Lindsay Gilbee and Dylan Addison, has also allowed Brian Lake - the Bulldogs' best backman - to add more rebound to his game.

The Bulldogs whittled down their quarter-time deficit through goals to Daniel Giansiracusa and Shaun Higgins, and soon after grabbed the lead when Morris ran downfield and marked.

Three more goals before half-time completed a 31-point turnaround in the second term, and Jason Akermanis' four goals in the second half helped the Dogs post a comfortable victory.

Eade also took comfort from winning despite limited impact from Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney and skipper Brad Johnson.

"That's a pleasing thing, they've got belief in themselves that they'll be able to fight back in any circumstance," he said.

"So to be able to guts a win out was good."

The only downside for the Bulldogs was the report of young tagger Liam Picken, who was booked for striking Richmond's Brett Deledio.

Picken made high contact trying to spoil, and Deledio was clearly aggrieved, as he retaliated at his opponent after he took the mark.

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