WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says he and Mitch Wallis are on the same page with the veteran needing to deliver consistently to earn a recall.
Wallis starred for the Bulldogs in 2020, topping their goal-kicking, and was named vice-captain before round one this year.
But after a goalless opening two rounds, he hasn't managed to earn another AFL start and was left off the plane with the Bulldogs relocating to Sydney before moving on to Perth later in the week for their Sunday night clash with Fremantle.
Bulldogs great Brad Johnson this week suggested 28-year-old Wallis, who is an unrestricted free agent and off contract at season's end, should look elsewhere if he wanted to play regular senior football.
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Beveridge said Wallis didn't have to reinvent his game as a forward, but needed to impress more consistently to win selection.
"Mitch is aiming to be that influential player at state league level and that will be rewarded - we just haven't quite seen that yet and he understands that," Beveridge said on Tuesday.
"The boys who have been selected when there's opportunities have been in our best handful of players at state league level the week before and the three weeks leading up in some cases."
Beveridge used youngster Cody Weightman as an example of a player who had done just that.
The Bulldogs took a squad of 27 on the road, with Wallis among the 18 remaining in Melbourne awaiting news on whether their round-eight VFL clash with Werribee, scheduled for Sunday, will go ahead.
They are using their time away to analyse their 28-point loss to Melbourne, with the top-two clash played last Friday behind closed doors at Marvel Stadium.
Beveridge said they needed to have done better at managing James Harmes' tag on star inside midfielder Tom Liberatore, who was nullified at the stoppages.
"We talked about it and Libba, he likes to fight his own battles, and he was probably isolated and that's not what we do," said the coach.
"Our midfield have been terrific making sure that we get the upper hand when we are tagged.
"They've lost some of their comrades who have been really important for us in Dunks (Josh Dunkley) and Adam (Treloar) so now there's less of a depth of inside mids going through there and we've got to find some boys who are going to support that act.
"We've got a template we work to and we didn't work to that last week and they took advantage."