Luke Beveridge’s highly aggressive post-game attack on journalist Tom Morris on Wednesday night was far from an isolated incident – the Western Bulldogs coach seems to thrive on confrontation.
Happy to create a siege mentality for his club and players, Beveridge, who coached the Bulldogs to a flag in 2016, often insults reporters if they frustrate him.
In an incredible spray last September, the Bulldogs mentor publicly queried how people close to former Port Adelaide star turned pundit Kane Cornes ‘could stand to lay in bed with him’.
It followed Cornes questioning the desire of Bulldogs on-baller Adam Treloar ahead of last year’s AFL preliminary final.
Beveridge was enraged at talk the defender ‘gave up’ in some defensive contests during matches in 2021.
‘If you’re failing at trying to pull people apart and bring people down like two or three journalists did this week, I don’t know how people around you can live with you, how they can lie in bed with you, how they can look at themselves in the mirror,’ the coach said after his team beat Port Adelaide to make last year’s grand final.
Western Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge seems to thrive on confrontation with AFL journalists
Fox Footy’s Tom Morris was in Beveridge’s sights on Wednesday night, when he labelled the journalist an ’embarrassment’ at the post-game press conference at the MCG
Cornes labelled the attack ‘strange’ and said it was directed at his wife.
‘I think it’d be much easier if Luke had the courage to actually name the people he was being critical of,’ he said.
‘It would seem strange if he would bring my wife into those comments after a game, I’d find that incredibly strange.’
Veteran AFL reporter Damian Barrett has also been singled out by Beveridge.
The pair have engaged in a long-running stoush, and in May of 2019 Beveridge suggested the scribe had a ‘black soul’ while being careful not to name him directly as he slammed him for criticising former Dogs star Tom Boyd.
‘There is no doubt that I thought there was people too hard and too keen to scrutinise and drag him down; they know who they are; one in particular,’ Beveridge said at the time.
‘That just shows a sheer lack of conscience and drive to be nasty and that will never be forgiven by anyone at our football club.
‘That’s a real shame because that’s a choice that a certain journalist might make. It’s just a window into that person’s soul and how black that soul is.’
Barrett also revealed on Thursday’s AFL Daily podcast Beveridge ‘shouldered’ him at the 2015 Brownlow Medal.
It followed Barrett reporting allegations then Bulldogs defender Michael Talia had leaked team information to his brother Daniel Talia at the Crows.
Adelaide went onto beat the Western Bulldogs in an elimination final that year.
‘Luke Beveridge clearly took issue with my reporting of it because at the Brownlow Medal that year … he did basically shoulder me at the Brownlow Medal,’ Barrett said.
‘People witnessed what happened in the shouldering and it was just the behaviour of an irrational man in the way I saw him act that night.’
In explosive scenes on Wednesday night moments after the code’s season opener finished, Beveridge walked out of the post-match press conference following an astonishing attack on Fox Footy senior reporter Morris.
Beveridge, who coached the Bulldogs to a flag in 2016, often insults reporters if they get him offside
Morris had correctly reported on Monday that Lachie Hunter would not be selected in the Bulldogs 22-man squad for the grand final replay against the Melbourne Demons.
Hunter was initially named to start, but then moved into the sub role.
He then replaced the injured Jason Johannisen minutes before the first bounce.
In an extraordinary rant, Beveridge, who just watched his team lose by 26 points, accused Morris of being a Demons supporter and said he ‘had some nerve to be here.’
Morris stood his ground, but Beveridge wasn’t finished.
Veteran AFL reporter Damian Barrett has also been singled out by Beveridge on repeated occasions. In 2019 the coach said the scribe had a ‘black soul’
Fellow scribe Kane Cornes was also insulted by Beveridge, with the coach publicly asking how people close to him could stand to lay in bed with the former Port Adelaide star
Fox Sports reported that Lachie Hunter (R) was set to be omitted from Beveridge’s line-up
He said Morris’s ‘gutter journalism is killing us behind the scenes’ and that the senior reporter was ‘an embarrassment’ before storming out of the room.
Fellow Fox Footy panellists agreed Beveridge’s reaction was over the top as they jumped to the reporter’s defence.
‘I think he’s let himself down in this instance. I think the AFL won’t like that one bit and nor should they,’ Melbourne Demons legend Garry Lyon said.
Brisbane Lions triple premiership great Jonathan Brown added: ‘That’s poor form. Tom Morris is there to do his job. Bevo is there to coach his football team. Tom Morris is there to get news.
‘It was about a dropped player, it wasn’t about a mental health issue or anything like that.’
Beveridge stormed out of his press conference after an incredible exchange with Fox’s Tom Morris
The Bulldogs were unable to exact revenge on the Demons in their grand final rematch at the MCG
St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt then chimed in.
‘To say he’s got a conflict of interest because the Bulldogs were playing Melbourne is out of line,’ he said.
‘I think Bevo’s just lost his composure there, he’s been under a bit of pressure or whatever.
‘We’re talking about a player that’s been dropped from the side. We’re not talking about a player’s medical issues or mental health or anything like that.
‘I think Bevo overstepped. That was a pretty public, national attack on Tom.’