The Western Bulldogs’ three injuries in their AFL win over Carlton highlights the challenge they face as they try to secure an unlikely finals berth.
The Bulldogs are now a game clear inside the top eight following Saturday night’s 11-point win at Etihad Stadium.
They have been one of the success stories of the season, but coach Luke Beveridge admits his young team will need some luck as it tries to maintain momentum.
He revealed that defender Dale Morris played out the game despite suffering a likely broken jaw in the first term.
Toby McLean suffered a potentially-serious A/C joint injury in his left shoulder and ruckman Jordan Roughead was subbed out at half time with a jarred back.
“All you can do is laud that sort of courage,” Beveridge said of Morris.
“That’s how we won (on Saturday), based on just spirit and courage.
“We’ll need to hold it together physically to continue our journey, but we won’t talk about it too much.
“We’ll just hope the footy gods smile on us a bit with that.”
The Bulldogs’ youth could become hurt them in the back end of the season, when fatigue looms as a factor.
But they have been determined not to dwell on it.
“Don’t tell our players – we’re trying to ignore that fact,” Beveridge said.
“We said to them at the start of the year (that) we can use it as an excuse or we can just soldier on and really reach for the sky.
“That’s what they have chosen to do and so they’ve achieved a hell of a lot.
“Now we just hope we can endure and come on in the back end (of the season).”
Beveridge added they were not talking about finals just yet, noting that Gold Coast is their next opposition.
The Suns upset North Melbourne and their captain Gary Ablett ominously made a successful return from injury.
“There’s no doubt it hangs out in the abyss,” Beveridge said of making the finals.
“We haven’t spoken about it, but obviously it’s everyone’s goal.
“There’s just a long way to go and we saw (on Saturday) – we play Gold Coast next week.”