Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has said early afternoon would be his ideal time slot for home games at Ballarat’s Mars Stadium after the team played its third AFL match at the venue in trying conditions.
In the dark and wet, the Bulldogs suffered a 44-point loss at the hands of Port Adelaide after a competitive but low-scoring first half on Sunday.
The extra lighting brought into Mars Stadium for the late afternoon game was in full use by the fourth quarter.
“The lighting didn’t seem to be too bad, obviously they were makeshift some of the lights, but no real complaints, obviously it got pretty dark in the end,” Beveridge said.
The coach was not eager when asked about a night game fixture in future, saying he thought the venue was better suited for daytime.
While Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley struggled to see the game from the coach’s box in the final term, he put it down to the conditions.
“It was fantastic to be up here and play but obviously the weather could have helped us a little bit more – for both sides,” he said.
But Hinkley was keen to return to Ballarat next year with Port Adelaide keeping its undefeated record at Mars Stadium intact.
The crucial victory put an end to two straight losses for the Power, which climbed into the top four on the ladder with a tough run ahead.
Charlie Dixon booted a haul of five goals, while Jared Polec collected 32 disposals and six clearances to be among the best for Port.
The Dogs, which had been trailling by just four points at the main break, fell away in the second half and did not score in the fourth term.
Beveridge said again his team lacked a four-quarter effort and with the conditions, it was difficult to get any flow.
The Mars Stadium surface, often praised as one of the best in the AFL, received heavy falls in the lead up to the game and the first term.
“We had a lot of rain, it wouldn’t matter where you played it is always going to be a little bit soggy,” Beveridge said. “It is a great surface, just when you have this much rain, it’s always going to be one of those where it’s a bit more of a surge and territory type game.”
Despite a crowd of 6450, the Bulldogs’ lowest yet at Mars Stadium, Beveridge said the team felt the support from the western corridor and Ballarat. He hoped to generate more enthusiasm.
“People have really warmed to the Doggies coming up the highway,” he said. “We feel like we’ve been embraced… obviously if we are going better and pressing on the ladder the enthusiasm changes a little bit.”