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Bulldogs coach Beveridge shocked by ‘strange’ Bomber podcast hit

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Western Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge returns to the coaches box after speaking to his players.

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has branded Essendon ruckman Sam Draper’s jibe over his future at Whitten Oval as “bizarre”.

Draper earned the ire of Bulldogs and Bombers officials after weighing in on Beveridge’s tenure as coach.

On a podcast, Draper, in a segment in which he imitated a reporter, said he had a “big call” about the Bulldogs.

“If Bevo is still there, there will be some players who will ask for changes,” the 25-year-old told the 200 Plus podcast.

Beveridge weighed in on Draper’s comments, although he had planned to say nothing about it.

“It was strange for me,” Beveridge said Thursday.

“…the people who noticed, who are close to him, the football club, (were) extremely alarmed and approached me to express their apologies.

“My main concern is our players, taking care of them and (making them feel) supported.

“When something like that happens to me, I can deal with it, but it’s unusual.”

Beveridge was asked how he would feel if one of his Bulldogs players made similar comments about an opposing coach.

“This is normally something that I’m sure he (Draper) has thought about and maybe wouldn’t do it again, I’m not sure,” he said.

Injured midfielder Bailey Smith is a player heavily linked with a move to another club.

Smith, who will miss the entire 2024 campaign and will be out of contract at the end of the season, has been completing part of his rehab away from Whitten Oval.

Luke Beveridge’s future is uncertain amid his team’s slow start to the 2024 season.(AAP: Morgan Hancock)

“The good thing is that Bailey is back running on the grass now… feeling really good about himself… and that will help him calm down and feel really positive about his return,” Beveridge said.

“His contact hours have increased now that he’s back to doing a lot more.

The manager said striker Jamarra Ugle-Hagan “should” do well to face Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium after missing the last two games for personal reasons.

“He wasn’t too far away from being able to play last week, but with such a disrupted preparation, it’s a better idea for him to have another week off and get some momentum going,” Beveridge said.

Star midfielder Tom Liberatore will almost certainly return to face the Hawks after missing last week’s loss to Fremantle due to an illness passed on by his son.

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