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Eade 'won't look forward for sake of it'

By Roger Vaughan 19/09/2009 12:30:13 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade is ruing inaccuracy, not the lack of a big-marking forward, after the AFL preliminary final loss to St Kilda.

The Bulldogs dominated play through the first term and for a long period of the last, but the Saints won an epic final on Friday night by seven points at the MCG.

It is a regular knock on the 'Dogs that their one major weakness is not having a big, power forward.

While the Bulldogs kicked 7.11 on Friday night, Saints captain Nick Riewoldt was the match-winner at the other end with four second-half goals.

Former Sydney co-captain Barry Hall will be on the market, but Eade says the Bulldogs will first analyse their team and then decide what is needed.

"I don't think we're far away - they proved (on Friday night), to all intents and purposes, we could have, should have won," Eade said.

"People will be saying differently, do you actually need anything?

"Our defence is OK, the midfield is OK - everyone says 'tall forward', obviously you'd love to have one.

"But you're not going to have one just for the sake of having it, put it that way - we still get enough chances.

"It wasn't a lack of a tall forward (in the preliminary final), it was a lack of ability to kick straight - normally we kick straight."

While the 'Dogs look at possible recruiting, they will also assess the futures of 30-plus players such as captain Brad Johnson, Jason Akermanis and Nathan Eagleton.

Eade was quietly confident going into Friday night's game and he remains very optimistic about the Bulldogs' ability to win a premiership.

"There are a lot of positives ... we've matured from last year and I have no doubt we'll get better again," Eade said.

"I have no doubt this group will sting from last night like they stung from last year and there is a lot of improvement left in most of the players.

"Obviously there are four or five about 30 and you wouldn't think they're going to improve, but even guys like Robert Murphy, who probably hasn't been able to train for eight weeks ... he's going to get better with a pre-season under his belt."

But the overriding emotion for Eade post-match was disappointment - about the dubious free kick given to Riewoldt at the start of the second half and about the lost opportunity to make a grand final.

This was the sixth time the Bulldogs had lost a preliminary final since their last grand final appearance in 1961.

"The main thing is disappointment, and I think the players are the same, because there was an opportunity, wasn't there, to play in a grand final," he said.

"That's what we came here to do.

"People were saying they (St Kilda) were raging favourites and we were the underdogs - we didn't see it that way.

"We saw it as a chance that we were going to win and we executed everything pretty well, except a couple of shots on goal."

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