TOUGH midfielder Tom Liberatore believes the Western Bulldogs can turn a frustrating season into a successful one if they can iron out kinks in their inconsistent performances.
The Bulldogs sit one win outside the top eight after a 28-point loss to Geelong in round 20, having been blown away in the third quarter.
LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?
It places huge importance on Saturday's match with sixth-placed Fremantle.
"It's about four-quarter consistency and making sure we stick to the plans, and also trying to alter the plans on the run a little bit," Liberatore told reporters on Monday.
"We've got to be a bit stronger and smarter with our structure.
"If we're getting beaten we've got to halt that momentum a bit better, especially against good sides."
The Bulldogs kicked the first four goals against Geelong but were left to rue a missed opportunity in the disappointing defeat to the ladder-leaders, who scored eight unanswered majors in a third-quarter blitz.
"We drew on the positives of how well we started but we lost the opportunity at centre bounce and they're a pretty strong side," Liberatore said.
"You know how well they play down there (at GMHBA Stadium) and they were just too powerful in that third-quarter patch.
"They're going to be the team to beat from now on."
THE RUN HOME Bulldogs' must-win games in run to finals
The Bulldogs knocked off reigning premier Melbourne last week - burying some of last year's grand final demons in the process - but have only once managed a run of at least three straight wins this season.
Liberatore admitted off-field issues had proved distracting, with Bailey Smith's mid-season suspension over separate headbutting and illicit drug use incidents drawing the most unwanted attention.
"We've had a few off-field setbacks as well, so it's sort of been difficult managing that sort of stuff," Liberatore said.
"They talk about momentum and how important it is in footy, so it's been frustrating not being able to string more than three or four wins together at a time."
The Bulldogs will wear a retro-style "Robodog" jumper design against Fremantle at Marvel Stadium to mark 25 years since the last AFL game at Whitten Oval.