OFFICIAL: How the Dogs convinced a retiring sensetional star to play on their team.

Nathan Burke, the Bulldogs’ coach, has spoken out about Rocky Cranston’s final AFLW season.

With Cranston suffering from kidney disease, Western Bulldogs head coach Nathan Burke admits that keeping heraround this season was “a little bit selfish” given how hard the inaugural Demon pushed her body.

“Right up until two days before round one, we didn’t know whether Rocky would be allowed to play, whether themedical staff would let her play,” Burke said after the Bulldogs’ 46-point loss to North Melbourne on Saturday.

Richelle Cranston | AFL

“If she’s honest she’d probably say, driving down from Geelong, this is too hard, this is too much. But we spoke andwe said, ‘What if you could get out there for one more?’ and that’s what it was, getting out there for one more.”Andshe got out there for one more.”

The lengths that Cranston had to go to this year to get “one more”, which ultimately turned into five more, was alesson Burke wanted to teach the rest of his list.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player, men’s or women’s, go through the adversity that she went through, and theuncertainty that she went through this year, to get out and play,” Burke said

“Her legacy as a footballer will live on, her legacy as a player who wrung every single ounce out of herself, is better than anyone I’ve ever see.One more': How Western Bulldogs got retiring Rocky Cranston to play on

Burke has admitted that while he hasn’t lost his passion in what has been a difficult year for Cranston and the Bulldogs, it hasn’t been easy.

“I raised my hand; it was difficult in the middle.” We were four (losses) and zero, five and zero, and it was difficult. “But you can’t help but be carried away by their enthusiasm,” Burke said.”I owe it to them not to lose heart.” I owe it to them to give it my all while surrounded by a slew of fantastic assistant coaches.”

Despite the club’s 1-9 record in the 2023 season, Burke remains proud that his players didn’t drop their heads, but also conscious of the fact that change must come.

Hard work with purpose, a focus on skill development and increased footy IQ is on the cards for the Bulldogs in the coming months.

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