WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says the club isn't thinking about finals, but knows they are running out of chances to qualify for September after losing to Fremantle at Marvel Stadium on Saturday. 

The Dockers led by quarter time and never relinquished the lead from there, eventually recording a 17-point win to ensure they play finals for the first time since 2015.

BULLDOGS v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats

After losing to Geelong and now Fremantle, the Western Bulldogs are four points outside the top eight and could be as much as six points if Richmond defeats Port Adelaide, meaning they will have to beat Greater Western Sydney and Hawthorn across the next fortnight.  

07:01 Mins
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Highlights: Western Bulldogs v Fremantle

The Bulldogs and Dockers clash in round 21

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"It's an opportunity missed. As you know, we don't sit in media conferences and talk too much about finals. To get any look at it you've got to keep winning," Beveridge told reporters on Saturday night.

"We've put ourselves in a situation where we haven't been able to compete with the upper echelon of the competition for the majority of the year. 

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"We've got to process it, but we've got to bring ourselves along pretty quickly. Next week is another opportunity to play together and improve. The mood is pretty flat. 

"We didn't have enough good players in the afternoon to be able to challenge Fremantle at all, unfortunately. They were able to use the footy a lot better than we were. Our use of the Sherrin right across the afternoon was really sub-par so we couldn't get any momentum."

08:02 Mins
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Full post-match, R21: Bulldogs

Watch Western Bulldogs's press conference after round 21's match against Fremantle

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Fremantle star Rory Lobb has been linked to a move to the Whitten Oval in recent months with the club confirming an approach last month.  

Beveridge praised the performance of the 29-year-old after he kicked four goals – all from set shots outside 50 – to take his tally to 34 majors in a career-best 2022 campaign.

"He was exceptional today, Rory," Beveridge said. 

"Some of those areas he kicked goals from they are really difficult spots, so he really helped Fremantle maintain that momentum. He'll always be a handful with what he does and what he's capable of. He was at GWS and he is probably having one of his best years, obviously."

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Lobb launches back-to-back beauties

Rory Lobb kicks Fremantle's last two goals with these brilliant set shots sailing through from similar spots

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The Western Bulldogs expect key defender Ryan Gardner to miss at least next week and potentially the final game of the home and away season, while Jason Johannisen might be available next week after rolling his ankle at training during the week. 

Fremantle key forward Matt Taberner may not play again before September after suffering a calf injury in the third quarter, continuing a frustrating season on the injury front. 

Fremantle players celebrate a Matt Taberner goal against the Western Bulldogs in R21, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Dockers coach Justin Longmuir said the timing is particularly cruel for the 29-year-old after Taberner made a bright start to the game, kicking two goals in the opening quarter after being backed in by the match committee this week. 

"It looks like he has done a calf. The severity we're not sure," Longmuir said post-game. 

"It's unfortunate. We backed him in this week and he deserved to be backed in with his body of work over a long period of time, but I was disappointed because he looked like the 'Tabs' of old. 

"He started marking the ball inside 50, his set shots were really strong and he was looking dangerous again. It's disappointing for him and us."

06:42 Mins
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Full post-match, R21: Dockers

Watch Fremantle's press conference after round 21's match against Western Bulldogs

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Fremantle kept its top-four chances alive by ending a three-game winless streak, which included a draw against Richmond in round 19, responding after a poor loss to Melbourne at Optus Stadium last Friday night. 

"I loved the way the players approached the week. They came to work on Monday knowing they hadn't put in a great performance last Friday night and got to work," he said.

"We set the week up really well. They prepared themselves really well. I thought it was back to one of our consistent performances of the year."

Fremantle has now won six games on the road – the most in the club's history – surpassing the five they banked outside Western Australia when they reached the preliminary final in 2015.