LUKE Beveridge says the memories of the Western Bulldogs' combative elimination final loss to Greater Western Sydney remains in the mind of his side as it prepares for another do-or-die finals campaign.
The Dogs will take on St Kilda at the Gabba next Saturday in an elimination final and will enter the clash with plenty of ammunition after last year's fiery loss to the Giants, which included Toby Greene being fined for an ugly misconduct incident against Dogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli.
With Aaron Naughton (cheekbone) and Mitch Wallis (shoulder) expected to be fit for the clash, Beveridge said last year's experience hadn't departed the Dogs' minds.
"When you think back to that final it was a bit extreme. As I've said before it was a credit to the GWS outfit to do what they did and they almost won the whole thing off that template," he said.
"I think it's just an awareness of how physical the challenge of the game may be. I think both teams will prepare for that. It's tempering your focus on that with getting your core style established in the game. That's our challenge and we'll do our best to meet that head on."
Naughton underwent surgery on his cheekbone earlier this week after a knock against Fremantle and has not been training with the main group.
However Beveridge confirmed the important key forward will be fit to face the Saints.
"'Naughts' will be fine to play. He's a bit out of sync now because of having surgery but he'll train with the group on Monday and have a week together with the whole squad," he said.
He also said Wallis, who is battling a shoulder issue, is "almost a certainty" to play and will train with the Bulldogs group on Saturday.
The Dogs won five of their last six games of the home and away season to break into the top eight, but they haven't won at the Gabba since 2017 and have not played at the venue once this season.
The club had three players selected in this the 2020 AFL All-Australian side, including first-year skipper Marcus Bontempelli in the forward line.
ALL-AUSTRALIAN TEAM Check out who made the cut
It has seen debate rage about whether midfielders such as Bontempelli, who kicked 11 goals this season, should be selected as forwards, with only three pure forwards picked in the team. But Beveridge said the 2016 premiership star was a worthy pick.
"He's played there a little bit and I know there's some conjecture around specialist roles but I think if you ask the hypothetical 'If Marcus played in the forward line all year how many goals would he kick?' He could possibly win the Coleman," Beveridge said.
"If you ask any backman 'What sort of forward line would you want to play against?' If it's got Bontempelli, [Patrick] Dangerfield and [Dustin] Martin in it, as opposed to some of those boys who missed out, who had outstanding years, I think they'd probably rather play against the other lads.
"They've all earned it and Marcus has been outstanding."