Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge concedes it will be hard for his side to focus on facing Geelong after a “traumatic” Saturday night.
Midfielder Mitch Wallis and forward Jack Redpath both suffered serious injuries during the fourth quarter of their side’s 15-point AFL loss to St Kilda.
Wallis fractured both his tibia and fibula in a sickening moment at Etihad Stadium, where he screamed in agony after being tackled by Shane Savage.
Redpath ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in innocuous fashion and now requires a knee reconstruction.
Beveridge could be forced to make three changes for Friday night, with veteran defender Dale Morris sitting out the second half against St Kilda after tweaking his hamstring.
The second-year coach likened the mood in the changeroom to that when inspirational captain Bob Murphy ruptured his ACL earlier this year.
“By the end of Tuesday when we walk out of the building at the club, we’ve got to be ready to move on,” a shellshocked Beveridge said on Saturday night.
“We’ve put too much work in to let it fall by the wayside.
“How receptive to that kind of message our players are tonight, I couldn’t tell you.
“But this is a challenge. It’s a traumatic night and it’ll test us.”
Depending on other results, the Bulldogs could slip as low as eighth if they lose to Geelong.
Beveridge insisted they could still challenge for the premiership despite a horror injury run.
“There’s still a bit left in our year and we can still be there at the end and be a challenger,” he said.
“As long as we believe that we’ll be ok.
“But it’s my challenge. It’s all our people’s challenge to pick them up and look on the bright side and be supreme optimists.”
Joel Hamling has been pulled out of the Bulldogs’ VFL match on Sunday and is set to be recalled but Beveridge was reluctant to talk about likely changes.
“It’s almost disrespectful,” he said.
Redpath returned to the field after jarring his knee, with Beveridge noting “all the clinical tests showed his knee was stable”.