Leigh Matthews calls out Luke Beveridge over AFL coach's act during press conference

The Western Bulldogs coach delivered a bizarre press conference on Friday night.

Leigh Matthews has questioned Luke Beveridge's 'mixed messages' at the Western Bulldogs after he appeared to play down his club's chances in 2024 after another loss. Essendon defeated the Western Bulldogs in a 29-point victory, which left Beveridge questioning his team's chances for the remainder of the AFL season.

The coach made a number of big calls before the game having dropped Caleb Daniel and making Bailey Dale a sub. Beveridge is clearly prioritising the younger players to help hand them experience in looking to the future.

Beveridge has mentioned the tough selection calls come after the club missed finals footy last year after another tough season. His selection calls - appearing to favour youth - have made for a big talking point with North Melbourne starting the season with five straight losses.

AFL great Leigh Matthews (pictured right) has questioned Luke Beveridge's (pictured left) 'mixed messages' during his post-match press conference. (Images: Getty Images/Channel Nine)
AFL great Leigh Matthews (pictured right) has questioned Luke Beveridge's (pictured left) 'mixed messages' during his post-match press conference. (Images: Getty Images/Channel Nine)

Beveridge also left many in the AFL community baffled after his post-match press conference on Friday night. "When I talk to our supporters, I talk to them about the possibilities. Even though we are evolving...the players themselves have created an internal pressure for spots and that is all OK if you end up being a formidable team. But right now we are not," he said. "It is all about the now, what's up next and what is up next year."

And coaching great Matthew called out the messages being sent in the press conference. The former coach claimed Beveridge needed to be aware of the public narrative he is sending to the players.

"You have to remind yourself as a coach, you are talking to your players. You are partly talking to the fans, and the media, but you are mainly talking to your players. And if you have mixed messages in that forum...the narrative about trying to win this week, the words are being said, but I am not sure if the actions are following that," Matthews said on Footy on Nine.


Matthews questioned whether Beveridge has the support of the club leading into the 2024 season. "We know there is the big the people running the Bulldogs have faith that Luke Beveridge is the best possible coach? I just wonder whether Luke Beveridge would think is he getting fully supported by the people running that club? And the players get that vibe," Matthews added.

Jimmy Bartel claimed the Western Bulldogs should be capitalising now on the talent in their roster. "I would wanting to win now. We've got a player who we're talking about could be the best Bulldog ever in the Bont. Capitalise on him now," he said.

Luke Beveridge hands Ryley Sanders advice after tough sub

One of the talking points to come out of the game against Essendon was the substitution of young star Ryley Sanders. The first-year midfielder was substituted out of the match, for the second time in a month, when the 19-year-old recorded just eight disposals through the third quarter.

He was replaced by Dale. And Beveridge claimed Sanders is on a 'steep learning curve' in his first year.
"We'll process it with him post-game but it's always difficult," Beveridge said.

"Not many of us really enjoy the sub factor, especially the subbing out aspect, but it's a steep learning curve for Sando. He's going to be such an important player for the football club and he's learning all the time. Part of that is understanding that from time to time he may be that guy who comes off the ground, so we'll work through it with him."

Luke Beveridge talks to his players.
Luke Beveridge (pictured) is under pressure at the Western Bulldogs.

Beveridge also defended his selection calls after another loss. "(The decision to drop Daniel) was just similar to Bailey Dale as far as influence goes," Beveridge said.

"There's a finite amount of minutes that midfielders can play and CD, we've moved away from picking him as a half-back at the moment. So it comes down to who we're going to play in the other roles and we had others before him this week. We'll keep working through that."