Senior coach Luke Beveridge says it was pleasing to come away with a solid win over Collingwood off the back of a well-rounded team performance.
The Bulldogs swung five changes at the selection table for the Friday night clash against the Pies – three forced through injuries – with Beveridge admitting it was rewarding to see some of those players relish their opportunity.
“Through hardship and change, opportunities are created so it’s good to see some of the boys who haven’t played a lot of AFL footy pay really critical roles – Jordon Sweet, obviously Luke Cleary in his first game, Buku and even Westy who hasn’t played some footy at this level for a while,” Beveridge told media post-match.
“Those guys really needed to play a pretty telling game as far as their roles go, and I felt like they all did.
“Collingwood’s backline is reasonably experienced, and some of those guys who haven’t played a lot of footy were playing in our forward line so that’s a challenge. For them to create a bit of havoc down there and score some goals through stealth at different times (was good).
“You always turn up with a significant degree of uncertainty when you have significant change in your team, so it was nice to get off to a good start just to feel good about some of that momentum.
“A night like tonight just gives us a little bit of belief and stability and probably (shows) some depth as well. We played 41 players last year and were able to continue to win games, and this year with the injury toll we just haven’t been able to cover it.
“As I mentioned, out of some hardship comes opportunity so that’s really pleasing for me and for all of us working with the boys.”
Beveridge was impressed by Khamis’ impact up forward – which saw the 22-year-old finish with 10 disposals, four marks and three goals.
“As a young fellow, Buku played a lot of his junior games as a forward - it was only in his draft year where he really stood out as that intercept defender type and impressed me,” Beveridge said.
“Needing a second ruck opportunity at AFL level, we started to play him forward and pinch-hit in the ruck at state league level, and then he started kicking goals so we picked him as a forward. His last two weeks have been pretty impressive.”
The coach also praised his on-ball brigade, and in particular Adam Treloar, who registered 35 disposals, eight clearances and three goals against his former side to claim the Bob Rose-Charlie Sutton Medal.
The Bulldogs will look to record back-to-back wins for the first time this year when they host Gold Cost next weekend in Ballarat, but will again likely be without first-choice ruck Tim English who has been hit hard by the flu.