Watch Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney's post-match press conference
Western Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney
THE WESTERN Bulldogs' capitulation to Richmond on Sunday marked a return to the bad old days of 2012, midfielder Daniel Cross said.
After an opening-round thumping of the Lions and a contained defeat to Fremantle, the Bulldogs failed to match the aggression and intensity of a rampant Richmond at Etihad Stadium.
Cross, playing his 200th game, admitted the scale of the defeat was a setback.
"I certainly didn't envisage us being beaten by that much today. We went through patches last year and I thought we were past that," Cross said.
"That really hurts us as a team and we believe in what we're being coached. We just didn't produce it today and we need to get back to basics of what we do well and we need to stand up the whole 22 that play next week and fight like Dogs, I guess."
Coach Brendan McCartney said the performance against the Tigers was a warning that his team needs to stick to its gameplan.
"It's a reminder that when you move away from how you want to play and don't deliver it, every minute of every quarter, the game can get away on you very quickly," he said.
"What's so important now is that we don't try to invent anything and come up with any brilliant gadget or trick and that all of our players who go to Adelaide to play are quite clear about their responsibilities and how we want to play."
McCartney was disappointed with his players' lack of resistance as Richmond asserted its authority through the midfield.
Going in to the game, Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore was ranked as the number one clearance player in the competition. He managed just 10 disposals and two clearances as Tigers opponent Shaun Grigg applied the clamps.
McCartney said it was a steep learning curve for Liberatore, but he was confident his young charge would bounce back.
"He doesn't say much, Tom. But I would have thought he'd be thinking to himself, 'It's a tough business coming up every week'," McCartney said.
"He didn't have his best game, but he wasn't on his own, he had a few mates."
McCartney said it was imperative the Dogs redeemed themselves against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium next Sunday.
"We have seven days to reboot and go to Adelaide and give a much better account of ourselves," McCartney said.
"It's what you do the next week that's most important."
The Bulldogs expect captain Matthew Boyd to return to face the Crows, while Easton Wood (hamstring) and Tory Dickson (ankle) will be in doubt after collecting injuries against the Tigers.
Ben Guthrie is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter- @AFL_BenGuthrie