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AFL: Western Bulldogs won’t watch grand final replay after loss to Melbourne

Russell GouldNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Cody Weightman hasn’t watched a replay of last year’s grand final and says there’s an “emptiness” he and his Western Bulldogs teammates want to rectify in 2022.

The 20-year-old revealed he played through the pain of an ankle injury all season before having post-season surgery that will delay his full-time return to pre-season training.

He has been cycling with Bulldogs forward Josh Bruce, who is “flying” in his recovery from an ACL injury that will leave an open spot in the forward line set to be taken on a more permanent basis by No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

Weightman said he was on a “similar journey” to his ultra-talented teammate, having played 16 games and kicked 26 goals in 2021, his second season in the AFL.

Ugle-Hagan had to wait until round 17 this year for his AFL debut and played only five games before being left out of the finals campaign, and Weightman is adamant the young star will be better for that experience.

“In my first year I came in and had to work on a few things and wasn‘t quite the player that I wanted to be yet,” Weightman said.

Bulldogs v Port Adelaide
Camera IconBulldog Cody Weightman was a breakthrough star in 2021. Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

“After the draft when you do (get picked) a little bit higher, you feel like you’re ready and you’ve been pumped up for so long.

“It feels like it’s going to happen and when it doesn’t happen it’s certainly disappointing.

“I had to be patient and I did that better in my second year than my first year, and when the opportunity came, I was ready. By the time my go came I was full of confidence and could play my role.”

Weightman revealed he hurt his ankle in a pre-season match before the 2021 season but “found a way” to play with it and was never in doubt to take his place in the grand final.

He said he was yet to watch the game again, conceding the loss to Melbourne was a motivating force for 2022.

“One day it will be on the replays and I’ll watch it with the kids, but I’ll leave it for now,” he said.

“It feels like there’s a bit of emptiness in last season and something that we’ve certainly left out there and we’ve got to go after now.

“It‘s bittersweet. My dream was always to start playing AFL and I managed to do that, which was pretty awesome, but there certainly could’ve been an added bonus to that which didn’t happen.”

The Bulldogs are set to get an early chance at revenge with the two grand finalists set to meet in round 1 of the 2022 season.

Originally published as AFL: Western Bulldogs won’t watch grand final replay after loss to Melbourne

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