The Western Bulldogs have adopted a no-fears approach heading into Thursday night’s elimination final against West Coast, with the return of a host of stars fuelling belief they can cause an upset.
The Bulldogs enter the AFL finals in patchy form after dropping three of their past six games.
Their recent history in Perth is also a worry, with the Bulldogs losing their past seven matches at Domain Stadium.
Four of those have come against West Coast at an average losing margin of 84 points.
But the return from injury of Tom Liberatore, Easton Wood, Jordan Roughead, and Jack Macrae has given the Bulldogs a timely confidence boost.
Forward Jake Stringer has also earned a call-up following two strong hit-outs in the VFL.
Koby Stevens, Fletcher Roberts, Bailey Williams, Nathan Hrovat and Will Minson were all axed.
West Coast were dealt a blow when Lewis Jetta was ruled out with a calf injury. He has been replaced by Mitch Brown.
The Bulldogs enter Thursday’s match as clear underdogs.
But assistant coach Steven King said his side were quietly confident of causing an upset.
“We hold no fears in travelling. We’ve taken some great scalps on the road this year,” King said after touching down at Perth Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s an elimination final. There’s pressure on both clubs. No one wants to go out in the first week of the finals.
“The five or six who are pressing for selection are all quality players.
“If you look at them individually, there’s a couple of All-Australians and best and fairest winners.
“It’s almost a quarter of your side that comes in. We’ve got no doubt they’ll make us stronger.”
Stringer was dropped to the VFL last month after a stretch of games that produced just four goals in four outings.
King described Stringer as a big-game player, and he’s backing the 22-year-old to perform against the Eagles.