Bulldogs battle to regroup - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs battle to regroup

By Roger Vaughan 05/09/2010 02:18:24 PM Comments (0)

The Western Bulldogs are now 0-5 against fellow top-four AFL sides this season, a damning statistic underlined by their qualifying final disaster.

Minor premiers Collingwood dismantled the Bulldogs on Saturday night at the MCG, taking control by midway through the first quarter and doubling their opponents' score to win by 62 points.

While the Bulldogs have had bad luck with injury, losing key players Adam Cooney and Dale Morris for the rest of the season, their form has also tailed off in the last month.

Coach Rodney Eade notes they have made the last two preliminary finals despite also losing the qualifying final, but this time it will be an especially stern test of the Bulldogs' resolve.

"Now, more than anything, we've just got to get the mental state right next week - we can't look backwards, we can't change the result," Eade said.

"So this far into the season, it's about getting the team right for next week.

"There's no good poring over tonight, as such, we've got to get them up.

"We'll probably have an easier week on the track, but we need to get them up mentally and physically."

Eade also conceded there was not much they can do at selection to refresh the side.

Brodie Moles and Andrejs Everitt are possible inclusions, but the focus will be to regroup with what they have.

"There are a couple of other players we'll maybe be able to bring in, but we're certainly limited in what we can do," Eade said.

The Bulldogs rolled the dice on the fitness of captain Brad Johnson, Shaun Higgins and Ryan Griffen against Collingwood and only one came up.

Griffen was their best player, while Johnson and Higgins had bad nights.

"In hindsight, I don't think they were unfit and not fit to play," Eade said of Johnson and Higgins.

"Brad's form ... has been okay, but he had a bad one (against Collingwood)," Eade said.

"I suppose he's a victim of his own standards and his own standing in the game, he didn't play well.

"But everyone has a bad game at some stage - Brad will be playing next week."

The good news is Brian Lake, Tom Williams and Callan Ward should all be available for Saturday night's semi-final after suffering injuries against Collingwood.

Despite the Bulldogs' plight, Eade continues to express confidence about what his team can do in the finals.

Asked about how they measured up against the other top-four teams, Eade replied: "it's the old analogy about a piece of string - how long is it? How far are we off?

"Us at our best and the opposition at their best, with their best side in, I don't think we're that far off."

But before they can think about redressing that bad 0-5 record, there is a semi-final they now have to win.

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