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Dogs' hard work finally pays off

Date

Jason Phelan and Matt Murnane

Cliff Wise presents the Robert Rose Cup to Ryan Griffen.

Cliff Wise presents the Robert Rose Cup to Ryan Griffen. Photo: Getty Images

Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney says his expectations of his young side won't change, despite a thrilling upset win against top-four fancy Collingwood on Sunday.

The Bulldogs played with spirit and intensity throughout the highly entertaining clash and McCartney said it was evidence of the hard work that had gone on behind closed doors.

''That's what these players want to be seen as and want to be known as,'' he said.

''They haven't enjoyed going missing for little patches. They want to be better than that and they want to be more resilient. My feeling is they'll definitely become that way because it's super important.

''Our young boys all did their bit today. Young players will generally show you little snaps of what they're going to become and then it's got a habit of disappearing and going away for a little bit.''

McCartney said it was too early to tell how long Adam Cooney would be sidelined after the Brownlow medallist was subbed out of the match with a hamstring injury in the first quarter.

Skipper Ryan Griffen was inspirational in his absence, which McCartney said was a testament to his resilience.

''That's been building a bit, he's been beaten by a couple of players who are very good at that side of the game, but he did some media this week and he didn't offer any excuses or use his [limited] pre-season as a excuse,'' he said.

''It certainly has hampered him, but in his heart he's very passionate about becoming a terrific leader and a terrific captain.''

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have moved to further stabilise its off-field team, signing its chief executive to a three-year contract.

Western Bulldogs chief Simon Garlick revealed he recently signed a new deal that will tie him to the club until the end of the 2017 season.

Securing Garlick means he is off limits to any potential approaches from rival clubs, particularly Carlton and the Brisbane Lions, who are looking for new chief executives.

Garlick, who played 137 games for the Bulldogs in the late-1990s and early-2000s, said he was pleased he had been trusted to guide the club through an important period, when new equalisation measures could provide greater opportunities for smaller clubs.

''I am one of the fortunate ones, being given an amazing opportunity by my club as a player … given so much in so many different ways,'' he said. ''The fact I get the chance to try and give a bit back … in a working life scenario is really significant.''

Garlick also confirmed the AFL had indicated that the Western Bulldogs were in the frame to be one of the clubs given the right to play on Good Friday, should the league schedule a game on the holiday next year.

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