Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge admits his wounded side faces an enormous challenge in a rare AFL finals appearance after suffering an eight-point loss to lowly Brisbane Lions on Saturday.
Beveridge offered no excuses but admitted being guaranteed sixth spot on the ladder and a home final next week may have been in the back of his team’s mind in the 19.16 (130) to 19.8 (122) Gabba loss.
In another concern ahead of their clash with Adelaide, forward Stewart Crameri (knee) will be monitored after being subbed off in the third quarter following a clash with Lions cub Harris Andrews in a contest.
The Bulldogs will be preparing for their first finals campaign since 2010.
But Beveridge said it was no time for back slapping after conceding 130 points to a team that was the league’s worst attacking outfit ahead of the Saturday clash.
The Lions dominated the stats sheet across the board including possessions (441-313), marks (110-66), contested possessions (157-129) and clearances (53-32).
“We’re just looking forward to playing a final,” Beveridge said.
“We’ve finished sixth on the ladder and it’s been an enormous effort by all and sundry.
“We’ve got to move on pretty quickly and be prepared for an Adelaide side that’s played some terrific footy for most of the year.”
The Bulldogs thrashed Adelaide by 57 points in round four but Beveridge admitted “things had changed” since their last clash.
“We had a pretty good performance against them in the early part of the year but things have changed,” he said.
“It’s going to be an enormous challenge to play against them this week.”
On Crameri, Beveridge added: “Seems like he’s okay with the jarring but he’s got a decent cork so we’ll see how that comes up.”
Beveridge tried not to show too much concern about being outgunned by a team trying to avoid the wooden spoon.
Departing ex-skipper Jed Adcock kicked four goals and grabbed 21 touches to inspire Brisbane to just their fourth win of the year and relegate Carlton to the wooden spoon.
“The Lions brought a hunger that we’ve had all year that we didn’t really show,” Beveridge said.
“There were aspects of the game that were real contrast to how we’ve played throughout the year.
“We need to move on pretty quick because we’ve got an important final (coming up).”
For the Bulldogs, Marcus Bontempelli (28 touches, two goals, eight clearances) impressed while Jake Stringer kicked four majors.
For the Lions, Adcock was assisted by a dominant midfield boasting Pearce Hanley (35 disposals) and stand out ruckman Stefan Martin (32 touches, 50 hit-outs and eight clearances).
It marked the highest scoring Gabba match in 10 years.