THE momentum gained from an impressive end of the season has continued at the Whitten Oval with Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney rewarded with a two-year contract extension.
While McCartney, 53, still has a year to run on his current contract, the club's board agreed on Monday to sign him up until the end of 2016.
After a tough first season in the job where the Dogs won just five games, McCartney's faith in his development program started to shine through this year with the team winning four of its last six games.
Chief executive Simon Garlick said the contract extension was a "logical decision" for the club's hierarchy.
``We identified Mack as a person for us to build a sustainable professional club when we appointed him and on everything that we see and the improvement we have seen, it's logical for us to extend his contract," Garlick said.
``We had a clear vision when we appointed him about where we wanted to go and we knew we were going to face some challenges in the initial part of that.
``While there was clear improvement in some of the on-field measures in the later part of the year, we are under no illusion and don't underestimate that we've got a long way to go.
``But this is another step in the journey to becoming a sustainable and successful club."
Garlick praised the club's stakeholders for buying into McCartney's vision and warnings that patience would be required.
``Our board, the organisation and the majority of our members deserve a fair bit of credit because I reckon they bought in, saw the journey we are on and that it wasn't going to happen overnight.," he said.
``I think we have seen the good strong clubs that have a history of success are inevitably stable.
``While that is part of this, we see an opportunity with Brendan to essentially be the leader of our on-field performance so it was a clear cut decision to extend his contract at this time."
The Bulldogs have already had an impressive off-season, starting with the recruitment of forward Stewart Crameri from Essendon in the trade period.
Three-time Geelong premiership star Joel Corey has also joined the Whitten Oval as a full-time development coach while the club will field a stand-alone team in the VFL next season to be coached by Chris Maple.
The Dogs will be in a position to pay 100 per cent of the salary cap from next season on with more resources to be pumped into its football department.
``We are well on the way to setting up a development program that will be the equal of any in the comp and Mack has clearly got a strong history in that area," Garlick said.
``That is a significant investment, it increased by around $1.2 million last year and we'll do about the same if not a bit more for next year.
``That includes the VFL team which is going to give us a chance to really develop a group of young kids that we see are going to take us to the success that we want."