Two-time North Melbourne premiership winning coach Denis Pagan says that the Western Bulldogs’ flag triumph in 2016 has made him fall in love with the game of AFL football once more.
The 69-year-old, who also had a four year stint as Carlton coach after his successful tenure at the Kangaroos, says that his interest in AFL footy has been reignited after the Dogs’ drought-breaking premiership, revealing that his love for the game had been on the decline in recent years.
He reserved particular praise for Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge for his job at the helm of last year's premiers.
“I don’t get to the footy as much as I like and probably the interest wanes a little bit but Luke Beveridge and the Bulldogs made me really fall in love with Australian football,” Pagan said on SEN SportSENtral.
"I just reckon their performances over September were amazing.
"(Beveridge) has real tough love mentality, he understands people, gets inside his players’ heads and prepares his players.
“The way the Bulldogs played – live or die by your own actions – was sensational and you wouldn’t be far off the mark following the program of what Luke Beveridge did and how the Bulldogs go about it.”
Pagan also touched on the importance of pre-season training, which all clubs have now resumed following the Christmas and New Year break.
He says that being match-prepared well before the home-and-away season starts is a requirement of success.
“(AFL football) one of the toughest gigs going around...Tell me how you are going to be successful against the top-end competition unless you simulate at training what actually happens when the heat is at its greatest?” the former AFL coach said.
“At the end of the day, if they can’t deal with what is dished up on the training track, how are they going to cope with a qualifying final or a preliminary final or even a grand final? How are you going to cope in those big matches at the MCG with 80,000 (spectators) if you haven’t prepared.
“It’s war without weapons and unless you’re prepared that way, you’re not going to be able to perform under pressure on a consistent basis.
“It isn’t a light switch, you can’t come in and switch it on, day in day out. If you want to be consistent at the top level, that’s what you’ve got to do.”