Bulldogs coach gets teeth into Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs coach gets teeth into Lions

By Roger Vaughan 12/09/2009 02:05:44 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade has taken a parting swipe at Brisbane as he looks ahead with confidence to the AFL preliminary final against St Kilda.

As he ended his media conference after Friday night's win at the MCG, Eade was itching to respond to pre-match claims from the Lions that all the pressure was on the Dogs.

Eade's team rebounded from the qualifying final loss to Geelong to smash Brisbane by 51 points in their semi-final.

"I thought we responded to the pressure that was put on us by the opposition pretty well," Eade said, unprompted.

In the Bulldogs rooms afterwards, Eade emphasised his point - at this stage of the season, everyone is under equal pressure.

"As soon as Brisbane started saying that I knew we'd win," he said.

"Is the pressure on St Kilda this week? No, that's a cop-out.

"If you start saying the pressure's on the opposition that's a crutch for you, and it means you expect to lose.

"We expect to win - we're going in there expecting to win."

The Saints finished minor premiers and have beaten the Bulldogs twice this year, so they will start Friday night's preliminary final as favourites.

But Eade and his players are backing themselves to make their first grand final since the 1961 loss to Hawthorn.

The Bulldogs have only one premiership, in 1954, and lost last year's preliminary final to Geelong.

This is the first time they have made successive preliminary finals since 1997-98, when they lost to eventual premiers Adelaide.

Last year, they also rebounded from a qualifying-final loss to push Geelong, but this year, Eade feels his team is better-placed.

"Except for a down one-and-a-half, two quarters last week, our form for four of the last five weeks has been good," he said.

"From that angle, all the players should take a bit of confidence going into next week.

"We're ahead of last year, whether that equates to a result (next) week.

"Going into this week, we'll have a bit more maturity and a bit more confidence about ourselves."

Midfielder Ryan Griffen, who rebounded from a quiet game against Geelong to be among the Bulldogs' best, was their only injury concern with a corked calf.

Bulldogs football manager James Fantasia said Griffen had pulled up sore on Saturday morning, but remains confident he will be fit for next Friday night.

"With the seven-day turnaround, we think he will come up," Fantasia said.

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