It’s been a week of love and loss at Whitten Oval but Western Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae is confident his AFL side will be ready come Friday night.
The Bulldogs travel to Geelong for a crunch clash that will significantly boost or batter their top-four hopes.
They are coming off an upset loss to St Kilda, during which Mitch Wallis broke two bones in his leg and Jack Redpath ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Coach Luke Beveridge was close to tears on Tuesday at a media conference, while many players were crying in the changerooms on Saturday at Etihad Stadium.
“As traumatic and tough a week it’s been, it has been a week that just reminds you of how close everyone is and how much we all love each other,” Macrae told AAP.
“It just goes to show the care we have for those two blokes and how big a part of the club they are.
“It has been a difficult week but we’re all pretty excited to get out on Friday night, hopefully do them proud and put it behind us.”
The Bulldogs, who sit seventh on the ladder but could burst back into the top four if they defeat Geelong, have endured a luckless run this season with injuries.
Captain Bob Murphy, who was booked in for a season-ending knee reconstruction after tearing his ACL in round three, has been one of many key players to suffer serious setbacks.
Macrae was full of praise for teammates’ resilience and self-belief this year and he expects more of the same at Simonds Stadium.
“With every injury and challenge we’ve faced, every time we’ve responded,” the midfielder said.
“It just goes to show the character, depth and strength of the list.
“Hopefully, we can do that again on Friday and for the rest of the year.
“Obviously, they have a great record there and have been a great team for many years – it would definitely be a great victory.”
Geelong icons Jimmy Bartel and Corey Enright will celebrate milestones in round 19.
Bartel will play his 300th match, while Enright will break the Cats’ games record when he runs out for the 326th time.
“We’ve got our own. Easton Wood’s 100th game – obviously, it’s not as far along as those two,” Macrae said.
“They’re both great players and we’ll show them the respect they deserve.
“But we haven’t really spoken about it and it doesn’t really change what happens once the ball is bounced.”