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Dogs' form has Bevo scratching his head

'It's just a deflating experience tonight' A disappointed Luke Beveridge concedes his team 'didn't handle the ball cleanly'
Tom Boyd was solid in his 50th match - AFL,Western Bulldogs,Luke Beveridge
Tom Boyd was solid in his 50th match

THE WESTERN Bulldogs were battered and bruised but far from broken by their 54-point drubbing at the hands of Fremantle on Saturday night at Optus Stadium.

At various points in his post-match press conference, Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge admitted to being deflated and bewildered by some of his side’s shortcomings on the night.

But his overall message was a positive one.

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“You scratch your head a bit. We’re better than that,” Beveridge said.

“We’ve just got to keep working on it. As coach I believe in our players and their capabilities, so in some ways it becomes surprising when you have a total breakdown in skill or there’s a perceived pressure that creeps into one or two of your players’ heads.”

With a short break before Friday night’s clash with Carlton, there’s little time for moping around.

The Bulldogs are sitting 16th on the ladder with just one win and a loss to the yet-to-win Blues would be catastrophic to their hopes of climbing back into finals contention.

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“All we can do is keep developing them and putting time into them during the week and reminding them that they are better players than they showed and stay positive,” Beveridge said.

“It’s only round five and we don’t like our ratio, but we’ll just continue to do our best to turn it around.”

The Dogs’ injury list remains lengthy but there is a glimmer of light on the horizon.

“We only had eight AFL-listed players play in our VFL side this weekend, so we definitely this week were drained a little bit,” Beveridge said.

“Bailey Williams couldn’t fly because he had an inner ear infection, Lachie Hunter comes back from suspension and Hayden Crozier is available.

WATCH: Tom Boyd's return was a positive for the Bulldogs


“There’s ample players who will put their hand up for selection.

“Some of our younger players are still cutting their teeth and trying to find their way at this level. A handful of very inexperienced players would have learnt a bit from tonight, the intensity required and the physicality in the game.”

WATCH: Luke Beveridge's full media conference

There was also the heartening two-goal return of Tom Boyd, who played his 50th game, 307 days after playing his 49th last June.

“Some encouraging things from Tom,” Beveridge said.

“He took some bites and kicked two goals. That’s good, he’s been out of the game for some time so positive signs for Tom.”

The Bulldogs will, however, be without forward Tory Dickson who injured his hamstring in the second term and didn’t return to the field.