THE WESTERN Bulldogs' trip to Perth has been brought forward, with the club set to jet out of Melbourne on Sunday after their top-of-the-ladder defeat to the Demons.
The Bulldogs were outclassed by a red-hot Demons outfit on Friday night at Marvel Stadium, but will get little time to dwell on the loss, with coach Luke Beveridge revealing the Dogs would be travelling to Western Australia on Sunday.
They are scheduled to face Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Sunday, June 6, but will leave Victoria well ahead of the game as the state undertakes another COVID-19 lockdown.
BULLDOGS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats
"It will be similar to last year when our first two weeks were up in the Mercure in Gold Coast and it was largely just staying at the Mercure Resort and you were confined to your hotel and you couldn't move out of it," Beveridge said post-game on Friday night.
"That's what will happen in Perth. We'll stay at a hotel and we'll operate out of there. We will train, it appears, around Optus Stadium and be able to access a gym there but we'll get there, we’ll be tested when we get there, spend the seven days, play Fremantle and fly out Sunday after we play them."
Beveridge said a squad of around 30 players is likely to travel for the game, with ruckman Stefan Martin, who has missed the past month with an Achilles injury, likely to return.
"We're hoping the state league continues next week, so we can't take over too many. You have to make sure you're not caught short and if something was to go wrong we won't be allowed to fly more players over so we'll need to take enough and need a bit of a buffer," he said.
"Usually you've got your 22 plus your sub and three more emergencies. We might need to take three or four more than that I'd say just to make sure."
It continues a week of drama for Dogs and Demons, who both had COVID-19 scares in the lead-up to the first v second clash.
Melbourne, however, was resounding winners in a performance that catapults it to the top of the ladder and solidified its place as one of the AFL's best chances to claim the premiership – which would be its first since 1964.
Coach Simon Goodwin said the Demons wouldn't be sidetracked by the tag of flag favourites.
"That's the furtherest thing from our minds at the moment. This group has been sensational at just resetting and dealing with each week that comes their way. I know from a supporters' perspective it's brilliant what the boys are doing and I'm sure our supporters are incredibly excited and so they should be," he said.
"We've still got a lot of improving to do as a side in the second half of the year to be the team that we want to be and to execute when it really matters. That's our sole focus: to make sure we reset every week and to improve as the year goes on."
They are fixtured to face Brisbane next week at Alice Springs, but will be without gun wingman Ed Langdon, who was substituted out of the game in the dying stages with concussion. He will miss the Lions' clash under the mandatory 12-day concussion rules.