Bulldogs close in on AFL history

The Western Bulldogs are on track for the best home-and-away AFL season in the club’s history, but don’t tell Luke Beveridge.

The second-season coach wants the young Dogs looking no further than their next opponent: in-form St Kilda on Saturday night.

The success-starved team from Melbourne’s west have a 12-4 record with six matches remaining.

Their best-ever regular season finish was 16-6, achieved in both 1992, under Terry Wheeler, and 1985 when coached by Mick Malthouse.

They’ve never claimed a minor premiership, coming closest in ’92, when they were pipped on percentage by Geelong.

With four matches against lower-placed sides at Etihad Stadium remaining, the Bulldogs are a chance of creating club history.

Barring a major turnaround, the Dogs will start favourite in each of them; against St Kilda this weekend and North Melbourne, Collingwood and Essendon in rounds 20-22.

A trip to Geelong in round 19 is the toughest fixture of their run-in, with a last weekend trip to Fremantle likely to bear fruit.

Despite having 12 wins on the board, and a temptation to look ahead to September, Beveridge maintains his cast-iron focus is on their next opponent.

“We’ll forge ahead and look at the Saints and not beyond them,” he said.

“It’s always risky to start to look at (finals) earlier than after the final siren of the 22nd game you play.

“We’ll continue to put our best foot forward.”

In their only premiership year, 1954, the Dogs finished second with a win-loss of 11-6 and a draw, defeating fourth-placed Melbourne in the grand final.

DOGS ON COURSE FOR HISTORY?

The Western Bulldogs need five wins from their last six games for the most regular season wins in the club’s history.

Rd 18 – St Kilda (Etihad Stadium)

Rd 19 – Geelong (Simonds Stadium)

Rd 20 – North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)

Rd 21 – Collingwood (Etihad Stadium)

Rd 22 – Essendon (Etihad Stadium)

Rd 23 – Fremantle (Domain Stadium)

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