164 days after the 2016's fairytale Grand Final win, the Western Bulldogs officially launched their 2017 season at Crown Casino last night, with coach Luke Beveridge drawing inspiration from children's author Dr. Seuss as he looked to the year ahead.
A record crowd of 1260 attended the gala affair as Beveridge borrowed and adapted passages from the 1990 best-selling Dr. Seuss book 'Oh the Places You'll Go'.
"I said to the players at the end of 2016, when we start our current campaign — everything’s changed, but nothing changes.
“We draw on our strength from within,
and we will mark the streets,
we will light the windows,
we will dare to go in, risk losing to win.
We won’t take shortcuts — and do it all with a grin.
“We can’t make any promises [but] we know we can improve. Who knows, it may be more difficult.
“But, the places we can go, there is fun to be done.
There are points to be scored, there are games to be won.
And the magical things we can do with that ball,
can once again make us the winningest winner of all.”
Beveridge said that while the challenges of 2017 would be difficult, the Bulldogs were accustomed to dealing with adversity after the setbacks thrown up during 2016.
"It's funny how we see the world differently. Many say we're hunted, more difficult. The last year couldn't [have been] more difficult."
Beveridge emphasised the importance of putting past achievements in perspective and focussing on the season ahead.
"One win is never enough. One loss can erase the glory."
President Peter Gordon echoed those sentiments as he addressed the large gathering.
"It's never been harder to make the eight. Teams look stronger. To be first requires everyone to play their role, to compete."
Third-year player Caleb Daniel said the players - who had their jumpers presented to them at the launch by Bulldogs Team of the Century full forward Simon Beasley - were ready to take up the challenge after a strong pre-season.
"Once you get the taste of one [premiership] you really want to be able to compete and do it again and back it up. The boys have had a big pre-season and we're looking forward to round one."
The Bulldogs premiership season begins with an opening round match against Collingwood at the MCG on Friday week, March 24.