Current Suns coach Rodney Eade, who was in charge of the Bulldogs from 2005-11.
Current Suns coach Rodney Eade, who was in charge of the Bulldogs from 2005-11. GLENN HUNT

Former Dogs ready to support club's shot at glory

AFL: The current Bulldogs side won't be short of past champions in their corner when they contest Saturday's grand final - particularly those who played in the seven losing preliminary finals since 1961.

One of them is former captain Chris Grant, a member of the 1997 and 1998 sides that were rolled by Adelaide in the penultimate week.

Grant told reporters yesterday he was envious of the Bulldogs breed of 2016, who will take on Sydney in the premiership decider at the MCG.

"This is a grand final, this is the opportunity of playing in a premiership, so purely as a player that's something you would love to have achieved,” Grant said.

"All of the other players I played with in my generation are ... just fully supportive and along for the ride as well.”

Grant is now football director at Whitten Oval, working alongside former teammates and now assistant coaches Rohan Smith and Daniel Giansiracusa.

While he said it was "fantastic to be involved”, he added "it's no more important and no more of a focus for me than it is for member No.40,000.”

Rodney Eade coached the Bulldogs teams that lost three consecutive preliminary finals from 2008 to 2010.

Though he is now in charge at Gold Coast - and led the Swans into their first AFL grand final as Sydney in 1996 - he certainly still has a soft spot for the boys from Whitten Oval.

"I think I'm leaning a bit more towards the Doggies. I had a great affiliation with the supporters there, they were terrific people,” he said.

"Obviously they have been starved of success and I know a lot of the staff that are still there, and know what it means to them and players that you've coached.

"I think it would be great if they can win.”

Eade admitted on SEN radio he was surprised, however, at how much improvement the Dogs had made since finishing 14th in 2014.

"I think they've done a terrific job where they've come from,” he said.

"The previous few years they've struggled to score a bit, but they've certainly improved that and improved their run.

"They've got a good balance in their side ... and I think once the season unfolded the top seven teams were relatively even.”

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