The Western Bulldogs suffered their worst loss of the AFL season on Saturday night, but coach Luke Beveridge says it’s not all doom and gloom.
The Dogs’ top-four campaign suffered a setback with the 57-point defeat to Geelong at Etihad Stadium, but they head into their bye safely in the top eight with a 9-4 record.
And Beveridge will welcome back some key players after the bye when they take on Sydney at the SCG.
“I think we’ve come through tonight in good order, we haven’t lost anyone through injury, and we’ll get some boys back,” Beveridge said.
“We’ll get Koby (Stevens) back, we’ll get (Jason Johannisen) back, Easton Wood will be right to go, Roarke Smith will play and Clay Smith will be playing his second or third game by then.
“So we’re looking a bit healthier from a squad perspective.”
High-priced recruit Tom Boyd will also have some VFL games under is belt after overcoming a shoulder injury.
There’s been plenty to like about the Dogs’ first half of the season and Beveridge is confident his side has laid a solid foundation for a finals assault.
But the coach conceded they weren’t near their best against the Cats, who forced them into uncharacteristic turnovers.
“I mentioned coming into the game that our group had been quite resilient and had been able to weather a storm throughout the course of a year,” he said.
“They’ve only lowered their colours once and we lowered them tonight.
“I think some of the stats probably reflect something that isn’t the right story.
“The right story is that Geelong were quite dominant tonight. We didn’t play our best footy … even though we had more scoring shots really late in the game it really didn’t seem that way.”