Hall enjoying lack of pressure at Dogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hall enjoying lack of pressure at Dogs

By Roger Vaughan 14/03/2010 12:12:45 AM Comments (0)

Barry Hall reaped the rewards of controlling his demons on Saturday night with the star performance in the Western Bulldogs' AFL pre-season premiership.

Hall kicked seven goals, including five in the last term, and was named the Michael Tuck Medal as best afield as the Bulldogs beat St Kilda by 40 points in the NAB Cup final at Etihad Stadium.

There were chants of "Barr-y, Barr-y" from the crowd of 42,000 during the last term as Hall led the 'Dogs to a memorable win.

It was far removed from last season, when Hall and Sydney parted ways because he could simply not control his on-field temper.

He wondered whether that would be the end of his AFL career, before the Bulldogs recruited him.

Hall knows his fearsome physical presence is a valuable weapon - but not if he loses control.

"I play my best footy doing that," he said.

"But, in saying that, it's been damaging in the past. I've stepped over the line," Hall said.

"Enjoying my football and using that as well, there's a fine line there. I don't want to cross it again so I'm really conscious of how to use that."

The Bulldogs took a big risk signing Hall, even though he was the obvious answer to their glaring need for a key forward.

He has kicked 17 goals during the pre-season and is clearly relishing his new surroundings.

One of the keys is that from the moment he agreed to join the 'Dogs, they made it clear there would be no pressure within the club to carry their forward line.

"Particularly in Sydney, I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and I had a lot of good years there, but towards the end it was unhealthy for the high expectations," Hall said.

"I got older and put a lot of unnecessary expectations on myself. It really weighed heavily on me.

"I've slotted in pretty nicely - definitely internally, there's no pressure on me whatsoever.

"I guess I haven't done myself any favours for (external) expectations, but internally it's been great."

Hall said repeatedly in the post-game media conference that the key has been enjoying himself.

Coach Rodney Eade pointed out that the Bulldogs would probably have beaten the Saints, even if Hall had not kicked five in the last term.

"I said it publicly when he first signed ... there is no expectation on him to kick goals," Eade said.

"He had two to three-quarter time, so that's even better - we were in front.

"I was just pleased that he persevered (and) was able to provide a target, but mainly (he was) able to put pressure on the opposition.

"There's a bit of intimidation, but his tackling was very strong, his chasing, he gives players around him a lot of confidence."

Hall is 33 and this two-year contract with the Bulldogs is his last chance.

So far, Big Bad Barry is proving to be a brilliant Bulldog.

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