Western Bulldogs skipper Ryan Griffen says he’s searching for answers when it comes to the AFL side’s mid-match lapses and his own patchy form.
Ryan Griffen insists his own form issues have nothing to do with the burden of captaining Western Bulldogs, one of the AFL’s most under-pressure clubs.
The Bulldogs suffered their eighth loss of the season last Saturday night, surrendering to former wooden spoon favourites Brisbane by eight points.
The result, in front of a crowd of 18,054, came in the same week a Fairfax Media report ranked them last on a ‘relevance ladder’ that measured public interest.
Echoing the sentiment of coach Brendan McCartney, Griffen bemoaned mid-match lapses and pointed to the fact his young side had suffered three losses under 10 points this year.
However the incumbent All Australian, appointed Bulldogs captain at the end of 2013, was more critical of his own performances.
“I’m not playing the sort of football I’d like to,” Griffen said on Tuesday.
“I love captaining the club. That (captaincy) is not having an impact on my game.
“I’m not sure where it’s come from, but I’m working extremely hard to find that form.”
Griffen was sidelined for much of the Bulldogs’ pre-season due to a back injury, but said he had fully recovered.
The midfielder was adamant morale at the beleaguered club was high, and revealed the 22 players responsible for the shock loss to the Lions would take charge of the weekly review.
Griffen noted 40-minute lapses had consistently cost the Bulldogs this season, and that it was up to the leadership group to fix the problem.
“When teams come at us, I think certain guys may go into their shell a little bit,” he said.
“That’s probably the most frustrating thing, a few guys didn’t step up in those moments.
“We’ve got young guys coming through, and it’s up to us as leaders to develop them as fast as possible.”
Griffen admitted he was still getting used to being captain, saying he was quiet but led by example and “with my actions”.
The Bulldogs tackle in-form Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, when they will play for the Robert Rose Cup in a match intended to raise funds and awareness for people living with disability.