LUKE Beveridge says a high-stakes game against Port Adelaide could be just the pre-finals tonic the Western Bulldogs need to overcome their late-season stutter.
The Bulldogs were on top of the ladder just two weeks ago, but back-to-back losses to Essendon and Hawthorn have them in fourth and a loss to the Power could put them outside the top four.
"It's probably a bit simplistic to flick a switch," he said.
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"This time of year, when other teams have been pulsing (with) whatever carrots in front of them, we haven't been pulsing.
"We're just off our best and for numerous reasons, but the bright light and the optimistic outlook is we know we're capable of a lot more than what we've actually been producing."
With Port Adelaide hitting form and potentially even a top-two spot up for grabs, Beveridge noted it was the Dogs' time to start "pulsing" in their own right.
"This could be great for us. It's a finals-like game before the finals," he said.
"There's a lot at stake and we know how well Port Adelaide have been playing and how formidable they've been in recent times.
"We come up against a very, very good football side and if we put our best foot forward it potentially does a world of good."
The Bulldogs have also faced strict quarantine protocols before facing the Power.
They are required to have three COVID-19 tests while Beveridge said between "10-20" players and staff were staying in hotels amid tight restrictions.
He said his wife Dana, who is a nurse, took unpaid leave to allow him to remain at home, and joked the AFL should reimburse him for it.
"You've just gotta roll with the punches," Beveridge said.
"We've got somewhere between 10 and 20 people staying in a hotel for different amounts of time before the Friday night game.
"We're going to be tested three times before this game ... so there's a lot going on, but I don't think that's going to matter too much."
Ruckman Stefan Martin will be in contention to play, but no certainty, while Beveridge said he hadn't given his midfield a "rocket" after they were well-beaten by their Hawthorn counterparts.
Beveridge said, given the midfield's struggle against the Hawks, it was unfair to judge his forward line's output - post Josh Bruce's season-ending injury.
He noted a forward-line solution wasn't as simple as "one out, one in", while the Bulldogs faced a decision on whether No.1 pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who was managed last week, was "ready" for big games and finals.