The opportunity to reunite with Luke Beveridge was simply a bonus for new Bulldogs recruit, Taylor Duryea.
Beveridge was an assistant coach overseeing the backline at Hawthorn during Duryea’s early years in the brown and gold.
“Playing under Luke at the time when he was my backline coach was one of the main reasons I was able to step up from VFL and play some consistent AFL footy,” Duryea told westernbulldogs.com.au.
“To be playing under him again is really exciting for me and he’s someone I’m definitely comfortable under. I’m really keen to get to work.”
Duryea landed at VU Whitten Oval during the NAB Trade Period in October, with an early morning wake-up call from the other side of the globe confirming the news.
At the time he was holidaying with Dogs’ defender Matt Suckling, who he has remained close with since their Hawthorn days.
“Before I went away, there was a fair chance I was going to end up at the Dogs, but there was still a bit of uncertainty,” he said.
“I think it was 2.30am in the morning in South Carolina when my phone started to buzz.
“I had a fair few notifications. I rang my manager and he said the deal had gone through.
“It was definitely a strange one, but it was really good to receive that news.”
A two-time premiership player, Duryea has admired the Dogs’ list from afar and believes they’re equipped with the hunger and drive to prosper.
“I just love their energy as a young group, and it is quite a young group compared to Hawthorn,” he said.
“2016 was obviously a great year for the Dogs and I guess what you think of in that year was their hunger and how much they loved playing together and the tightness of the group.
“As an outsider looking in, you can tell the Dogs are a hungry side and they really compete. That’s something I’ve admired and I’m really keen to be involved in.”
He’s only 27, but with 118 games experience, Duryea will offer some further leadership to a young Bulldogs’ group.
“I’ve been in a fortunate position where I’ve played a lot of football with some really great players like Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge and these guys,” he said.
“I’ve been able to take a lot from how they’ve gone about it (in terms of their leadership). I think that’s something that I can add to this group.
“I’m only 27 which isn’t super old, but quite experienced when it comes to the Dogs. Hopefully I can help the young guys progress and I think leadership is definitely one of my strong suits.”