Gritty Giants end Dogs AFL finals dream

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Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was left feeling numb after dreams of another AFL fairytale ended in a nightmare 58-point elimination final loss to GWS.

The Dogs defeated the Giants in a preliminary final thriller on their way to the 2016 premiership, but there would be no such heroics this time as their season came to an abrupt halt with a 16.17 (113) to 8.7 (55) defeat at Giants Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs were attacked from the outset by the combative Giants, who finished with a stunning 39 more inside-50 entries (76-37).

Marcus Bontempelli was often the target of a physical approach by the home side, master tagger Matt de Boer receiving plenty of help from his teammates as the Bulldogs' superstar was held to 13 possessions.

Somehow the visitors were only 10 points down at halftime, but they couldn't go with GWS when they ramped up the physical pressure even further.

"It was a nightmare ... we just didn't get anything going at all," Beveridge said.

"We did well to keep ourselves in the game, but when you look at all of the stats just nothing went right unfortunately.

"We couldn't win it on the inside, when we got our hands on it we coughed it up and in transition we could find each other on overlap.

"Nothing went right, so it was a bit of a disaster."

A bad day appeared to get much worse when Aaron Naughton was left clutching his left knee after landing awkwardly in a third-quarter marking contest, but Beveridge allayed concerns he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

The emphatic nature of the loss was even harder to fathom on the back of the Dogs' 61-point belting of the Giants at the same venue in round 22.

But however difficult the loss is to explain, that the Bulldogs played finals at all is impressive given they were 15th after round 14.

They stormed into the finals with seven wins from nine games, but Beveridge doesn't want to rely on a similar late surge next year.

"Whether I think (the season) is a success or not I don't want to go there because I just feel like we had more than what we showed today and that's disappointing," he said.

"Overall we've seen some considerable growth in individuals, some great improvement from most of our players, which tells us our program is pretty watertight.

"Our players are thriving in it, and that's a good sign, but now we've got some challenges ahead to see what the next stage of growth is for us."