The AFL’s three bye rounds gave the Western Bulldogs their worst loss of the season, then the week off and finally an epic win.
Coach Luke Beveridge expects that eventful 15-day period has given his players a strong enough lesson about the league’s thin margin between triumph and disaster.
The Bulldogs will start strong favourites this Saturday night against Richmond, but Beveridge said they cannot afford any letdown after last week’s heroics against Sydney at the SCG.
While the Tigers’ finals chances are shot, Beveridge is also mindful they remain dangerous opposition.
“This time of year, with teams that maybe haven’t got the runs on the board that they’d like – and the Tigers are in that boat at the moment – there’s going to be spike in their performance at some point,” he said.
“We have to guard against that.
“We were stung a couple of weeks ago by the Cats – that’s pretty fresh in the memory banks.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
In round 13, Geelong opened up the Bulldogs and mauled them by 57 points.
But after their week off – and the potential distraction of the Tom Boyd-Zaine Cordy controversy – the Bulldogs were outstanding last Saturday and beat the Swans by four points.
Beveridge pointed to that win as ample evidence that the club suspensions handed to Boyd and Cordy for their drunken pub fight and the circumstances surrounding the matter had not distracted the team.
The Bulldogs covered up the incident for a couple of weeks, only issuing a media release last Thursday.
It remains unclear when Boyd, their multi-million dollar recruit, will return to the senior side as he also returns through the VFL from a shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs continue to search for more goalkicking firepower.
While they are sixth on the ladder, they are only 10th in the AFL for scoring.
“We’re working our way towards it, we hope,” Beveridge said.
“That polish, playing against really good defences, being able to deal with them – we have some challenges.
“We’re just starting to scratch the surface and it would be nice to break through.”
At the other end of the ground, the Bulldogs have lost defender Marcus Adams for about a fortnight with a foot injury.
Beveridge said it was likely Fletcher Roberts will take his place.