VETERAN Western Bulldogs defender Easton Wood will not line up in Sunday's crucial game against Hawthorn.

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Wood injured his hamstring against Geelong in round 14 but recovered quicker than expected and was upgraded to a 'test' on the Bulldogs injury list early in the week.

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Match Previews R17: Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Michael Wall preview the game between the Hawks and the Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval

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However, the club will play it safe with the former skipper.

"He'll have another week off," Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said of Wood.

Meanwhile, Lin Jong will take no further part in the season after departing the Gold Coast hub.

The luckless midfielder suffered a syndesmosis injury in round five and will head home to Melbourne for arthroscopic surgery.

The Bulldogs may not be forced into any changes this week, but Patrick Lipinski and Matt Suckling pushed their case for selection after strong performances in a scratch match against Gold Coast last week.

After St Kilda's loss to West Coast on Thursday night, the Bulldogs can seal a finals berth with wins in their last two games against the Hawks and Fremantle. 

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Drop one of those, however, and the calculations become far more complicated. The Dogs would be in a race with Collingwood, GWS, St Kilda, Melbourne and potentially even Carlton for the last three berths in the top eight.

The Dogs have one of the shortest injury lists in the competition, but Beveridge says that keeping list sizes relatively stable is one of the key parts the League needs to consider if they want to add more games to the fixture next season.

"If we're going to continue to explore more games and some condensed periods of the season then why don't we just go the whole hog and play 34 games?" Beveridge said.

It's not just the players who are battling through the short turnarounds, but cuts to every club's soft cap spending in 2021 will make a longer season very difficult to get through, he added.

"If we were to go that way, then that 6.2 (million dollar) soft cap constraint would have to blow out extraordinarily almost back to what it was," Beveridge said.

"The support staff whether its medical, conditioning, media, coaching, whoever they may be – they're cooked."