Luke Beveridge savaged by Bulldogs fans amid emotional scenes for Melbourne Demons

AFL fans were all saying the same thing about the Western Bulldogs coach.

Luke Beveridge is copping backlash from Western Bulldogs fans amid emotional returns for Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw in the Melbourne Demons' victory on Sunday. Oliver made a triumphant return after a tumultuous off-season for the Demons, while Brayshaw was on the bench in a coaching role after his devastating retirement.

But amid the wonderful scenes came more uproar over Beveridge and the Bulldogs. Beveridge's side kicked the first two goals on Sunday but were overwhelmed in a 45-point loss.

Luke Beveridge, Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw.
Luke Beveridge copped backlash from his own fans, while Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw were part of wonderful scenes. Image: Fox Footy/Getty

Bulldogs fans took plenty of positives from the performance of debutant Ryley Sanders, with the No.6 draft pick grabbing 15 disposals and seven marks. But fans were left furious when Beveridge opted to sub Sanders out of the game in the second half.


Caleb Daniel, who was a controversial choice for the sub role in the first place, came on for Sanders in the third quarter. Bulldogs fans were less than impressed considering Sanders' solid performance.

“Why on earth has he subbed Sanders?" one person wrote on social media. "Luke Beveridge has lost the plot (don’t come with the ‘rest the first gamer’)."

Another said: “Bevo is the one who should be subbed. An absolute joke."

Ryley Sanders in action for the Western Bulldogs.
Ryley Sanders was subbed out of the game in the third quarter.

The coach explained the decision after the game, saying it wasn't injury-related. “He’s fine. At that point in time he was one of a handful that could have come off for experience and stability in the team," Beveridge said.

“Ryley’s going really well. He’s going to be a tremendous player for the club and he’s still learning. But he was the one.” We’ll look after him and make sure he heads into next week with a positive mindset.”

Clayton Oliver in 'emotional' scenes in Melbourne win

The backlash came amid a wonderful return for Oliver, who was very nearly traded in the off-season amid some personal struggles. Oliver took personal leave in the pre-season after a difficult end to last year, including trade speculation and concerns over his behaviour.

After 30 touches against the Swans in Opening Round, the 26-year-old racked up 21 first-half disposals on Sunday to put the Demons in control. He finished with 35 disposals, six clearances and 565 metres-gained and received a standing ovation and a hug from coach Simon Goodwin when he came off near full-time.

Describing it as "emotional", Oliver said: "It's been a tough couple of months and I thank Gawny (captain Max Gawn) and all the rest of the boys for helping me out. I've still got a lot of work to do. There's little steps along the way but this is one of them. I need to keep being a better person and better teammate and keep striving every day."

Angus Brayshaw returns to Demons in coaching role

There were also some brilliant scenes involving Brayshaw, who was on the bench on Sunday in his first game in a new coaching role. Brayshaw was forced to announce his retirement in the pre-season after his latest concussion.

Angus Brayshaw, pictured here on the bench as the Demons beat the Bulldogs.
Angus Brayshaw was on the bench as the Demons beat the Bulldogs.

"He's going to be just dipping his toe into some of the part-time work later in the week," Goodwin said. "He wants to be around our group and obviously on game day, just helping bench coaching.

"He brings enormous energy to our club and today was the first step of that and we'll just continue to assess what that looks like. It was his first crack so he was good. He was very positive down there, which is what you want. Yeah, we want our players heading to the field in a real positive mindset because that's when people really grow."

with AAP