AFL news; Western Bulldogs in a hotel ahead of Port Adelaide clash

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Up to 20 Western Bulldogs players will stay in a hotel this week as all players and staff endure three Covid tests before Friday’s top-four showdown with Port Adelaide as part of strict rules.

But coach Luke Beveridge, who opted to stay at home, which in turn meant his wife, a nurse, took unpaid leave to fit in with the AFL’s restrictions, said the extra imposition wouldn’t impact his team’s ability to get “pulsing” for the pre-finals clash.

The Bulldogs have suffered back-to-back losses and kicked just five goals against Hawthorn last week.

Beveridge conceded his Bulldogs couldn’t “flick the switch” against Port but would have to be better with a top-two finish a potential reward for victory.

“It’s a bit simplistic to flick a switch,” he said on Wednesday.

“This time of year when other teams are pulsing for whatever carrots are in front of them, we haven’t been pulsing.

“We are just off our best, for numerous reasons. The bright light and the optimistic outlook is we know we are capable of a lot more than what we have been producing.”

The Bulldogs have been required to go the extra yard to meet Covid rules this week ahead of the clash with Port to enable them safe passage back to Adelaide.

Beveridge joked he would need to be “reimbursed” for his wife’s pay from the AFL.

But he said while the peripheral issues were “interesting”, he wouldn’t let them impact performance.

“We have somewhere between 10 and 20 people staying in a hotel for different amounts of time. We had to be tested three times … so there’s a lot going on,” he said.

“But I don’t think that’s going to matter too much. It won’t affect the way we play.”

Ruckman Stefan Martin’s magnet will go on the table when Beveridge and his coaching staff try to work through the best team to take on Port.

Beveridge said the shuffling to get the best forward mix, which changed when Josh Bruce was cut down by an ACL injury, was all part of that selection puzzle.

“The backfilling aspect of losing a player is not as simple as one out, one in,” he said.

“When you have to ask players to go play in other positions, their spot becomes vacated. It can be a domino affect.

“We are trying to stabilise things and we can’t say we have nailed it yet. Whether we will or not remains to be seen.

“The key forward aspect of what we do, and Port Adelaide seem to be fielding a big team at the moment, they are quite tall in their front end, and we have to consider that.”

Beveridge said No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagna might not be the answer to that forward line problem after being omitted last week.

“Marra has had a look at the competition and we have seen some of his gifts and talent come to the fore,” Beveridge said.

“Now we have to work out whether he is ready for some of these big games and finals. “



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