All about September for Western Bulldogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All about September for Western Bulldogs

By Jordan Chong 02/08/2008 06:14:45 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade says his team will enter the finals full of confidence whatever happens over the remaining five rounds of the AFL home-and-away season.

The Bulldogs sit second on the ladder with five rounds remaining, and face Sydney at Canberra's Manuka Oval on Sunday afternoon on the back of consecutive losses for the first time in 2008.

Both defeats, against defending premiers Geelong and Carlton, respectively, featured big last-quarter fadeouts and a drop of the number of contested possessions won.

Eade said spirits were high despite the disappointing performances over the past fortnight and the focus was on doing well in the finals.

"The confidence is there, confidence is not an issue," Eade said before a light session at Manuka Oval.

"Over the next five games, if we only won two of those I don't think the confidence is going to drop away either.

"I think for us it is all about September."

At 13-3, the Bulldogs are three wins clear of fourth-placed Sydney, who have lost three of their past four matches and are battling a lengthy injury list.

In their round seven meeting at the SCG, the Bulldogs were able to overcome Sydney's defensive pressure to come away 18-point winners and Eade expected a similar type of contest despite the larger dimensions of Manuka Oval.

"Obviously they will try to shut the run down and it will a tight, in-close game," Eade said.

"We know that, we're certainly prepared for that."

It has been a lighter week on the track for the Bulldogs, who had stepped up their training load over the past month in an attempt to be at their physical peak when the September action rolls around.

Eade described the middle part of the season as sometimes "a bit of a drudge and a bit of a chore sometimes for players".

"But once you can see September, once you hit August, I think the enthusiasm starts to pick up again," Eade said.

"Every team goes through a bit of a trough at some stage and we have the last two weeks but we've got no doubt we'll bounce back."

The match also sees the resumption of hostilities between Jason Akermanis and Sydney's Jared Crouch, who was selected to play his first match of the season after struggling to overcome persistent hamstring problems.

Akermanis has been highly critical of Crouch's close-checking style of play over the years, previously describing the Swans tagger as a "serial pest".

But Eade was quick to play down the significance of the matchup.

"I think people make too much of it to be honest. Aker has had a lot of different opponents his career," Eade said.

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