Livewire forward Cody Weightman says the heartbreak and disappointment of last month’s Grand Final will motivate the group moving forward.
One of 14 Bulldogs on the day who weren’t part of the 2016 flag, Weightman said the opportunity to make it to the final stage was rewarding, despite the result.
“It was still great to experience a Grand Final regardless of whether you come out on top or not - it’s something that I think will help the likes of myself and a lot of the other boys,” Weightman told AFL Trade Radio on Monday morning.
“(We) have now had a taste of that and I guess where we want to be, and will hopefully have a bit more success next time.
“The hardship I think can really galvanise the group. That heartbreak and what-not too can actually be a bit of a stimulus if anything, just to go a bit more and find a new level.
“That was the message from ‘Bevo’ in the rooms after the game - how we can come together from this and how this can actually make us better. The way we approach this (preseason) will be interesting; I think we’ve got the group to go one better next year.”
Weightman managed 13 senior games and three finals this season, breaking into the side in round nine against Port Adelaide.
The 20-year-old contributed 26 goals from those outings, including a four-goal haul in the elimination final win over Essendon.
He said ignoring the external noise and sticking to the fundamentals is crucial in finals.
“It’s a bit of a mental game if anything, the finals - you know there’s more on the line, there’s more people watching and everything is a bit more heightened,” Weightman said.
“At the end of the day, it is just the same game of footy. Even though everyone is probably putting their bodies on the line that little bit more, it’s pretty much the same basis.
“As long as you can have trust in that, it does bring you back to your own game.”
The Bulldogs’ AFL program are currently on leave, with preseason return dates to be communicated in due course.