Tom Liberatore jogs during a Western Bulldogs training session at Whitten Oval, May 9, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

WESTERN Bulldogs veteran Tom Liberatore has returned to the club but coach Luke Beveridge is no clearer on the midfielder's long-term future.

Liberatore is sidelined indefinitely due to concussion issues, with no timeline on a return to play.

The 31-year-old midfielder was accidentally kicked in the head by opponent Conor Nash late in Sunday's upset loss to Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium and needed help leaving the field.

It was his first game back after collapsing on the field during the round-five loss to Essendon, with the Bulldogs later confirming that was also because of concussion.


Liberatore jogged on the sidelines at Whitten Oval on Thursday while his teammates completed their main session.

"He's come in this morning," coach Beveridge said.

"In regards to the concussion, I'm just totally leaving that to our medical professionals.

"I can't really give an opinion on how he's going. 

"I ask him, and he says he's OK but ultimately, clinically and from a diagnosis point of view, I can't help you at all. We just hope he's going to be fine.

"Great to see him here, and he will do his best to convince everyone that he’s going to be OK, but ultimately there's more at play here."

The Seven Network reported on Wednesday night Liberatore's case was now in the hands of the AFL's concussion panel.


The panel previously dealt with Melbourne midfielder Angus Brayshaw and Collingwood defender Nathan Murphy, who were both forced into retirement this year through concussion.

"I haven’t had any news on that, but I know it takes them a while to convene those panels," Beveridge said. 

"So if that is the case, it remains to be seen when that may be."

Beveridge and his staff will ponder a replacement for ball-winner Liberatore ahead of facing Richmond on Saturday, but he wouldn't be drawn on whether top draft pick Ryley Sanders or out-of-favour Caleb Daniel would be called upon.

The Bulldogs will hand a debut to draftee Joel Freijah against the Tigers, their fourth debutant this season.