Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is embracing the AFL’s condensed fixturing, saying he and his players are approaching rounds nine to 12 with a “sense of adventure”.
- The Bulldogs will face current top-four teams Richmond, Port Adelaide and Brisbane in the space of 11 days
- Luke Beveridge said the Bulldogs were approaching the condensed schedule with “a sense of adventure”
- The Bulldogs will use feedback from the players when deciding if some need to be rested
The AFL announced there would be 33 matches across 20 days of consecutive football from next Wednesday, with the Bulldogs and Richmond kicking off the marathon schedule in Carrara.
Following the Tigers encounter, the Bulldogs will play the Power in Adelaide (August 3) and Brisbane at the Gabba (August 8), meaning they face three current top-four teams in the space of 11 days.
They then face Adelaide in Carrara on August 16 as part of the round 12 fixture.
Beveridge said the Bulldogs, placed ninth on the ladder at the moment, were up for the challenge.
“There’s a sense of adventure attached to the tight turnarounds and flying by the seat of our pants,” said Beveridge, who was preparing his players for Thursday night’s match against Gold Coast.
“It’s quite exciting. As far as the ladder positions go, we’ve got some teams coming up who are up in the top end, so there’s some great challenges and opportunities for us.”
Beveridge said most clubs would feel similarly about what lay ahead.
“It’s breaking new ground, it’s exciting for the code and the competition and that’s the way we will look at it and translate it,” he said.
Beveridge said he expected his players would want to play every match possible, given the AFL season was shortened because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the shorter matches and longer breaks between goals and quarters had helped players, and he would rely on a mix of their honesty and data to make selection decisions during the compressed season.
“Significantly it will be the players themselves and how they’re feeling and the feedback we get from them,” Beveridge said.
“No-one is looking for a break, especially when there’s only 17 games before the possibility of playing in a final.”
Beveridge said AFL coaches were consulted on the draw before it was announced.