A DEFIANT Luke Beveridge says he still believes the Western Bulldogs can play finals after being comprehensively beaten by Brisbane on Thursday night.
The Dogs' 41-point loss at the Gabba pushed them outside the top eight on percentage with a brutal run of games ahead.
They face Sydney next Friday night, followed by St Kilda, Melbourne, Geelong and Fremantle.
LIONS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats
Despite the loss, and a list of absences that includes Bailey Smith, Tim English, Caleb Daniel and Josh Bruce, Beveridge remains confident.
"There's no doubt it's a significant stretch of arduous, challenging games," he said.
"All we can do is apply ourselves, believe in ourselves, and that was my main message to our players after the game.
"I won't stop believing in them and people around them won't.
"Whether it's (debutant) Dom (Bedendo) or Jack Macrae playing his 200th tonight, as long as they firmly believe we can keep challenging some of the better sides, we will.
"You need more to go right than we did tonight."
The Bulldogs outplayed Brisbane around the stoppages (45-30) and contested ball, but failed to connect with the forward line and make the most of their chances.
Beveridge was disappointed with the ball use, whether it was going inside 50 or kicking at goal.
"The opportunities we created, they weren't ones where you've really got your foot on the till. They were a bit messy," he said.
"There's some Charlie Cameron brilliance, but it was Brisbane Lions as a collective raising it to another level in the second half and we couldn't quite go with it … we didn't have enough consistent performers."
Beveridge said English (concussion) was likely to play against the Swans after missing the past two matches.
Two men that might not play in their next match are Brisbane veteran duo Dayne Zorko and Daniel Rich, who left the field in the first and second quarter respectively with hamstring injuries.
Lions coach Chris Fagan said he was delighted with his team's performance to win after the pair were out of the match before half-time.
For Zorko, it was the recurrence of a problem that kept him out of last week's loss against Melbourne.
"He said it just felt like a bit of awareness," Fagan said.
"We'll wait and see. We've got 10 days, but you'd think it's unlikely he'll play.
"Usually when players re-injure that means a little bit longer, so that's probably what will happen."
Fagan said he was pleased with the way the Lions handled the injuries, with youngsters Jaxon Prior, Jimmy Tunstill and particularly Keidean Coelman all influential.