Dogs embrace longer GF lead-in

Western Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore believes the squad is adjusting to the anomaly of having two weeks to prepare for an AFL Grand Final.

Western Bulldogs midfielder Tom Liberatore believes the squad is adjusting to the anomaly of having two weeks to prepare for an AFL Grand Final.

In another season of abnormality, the Bulldogs have embraced the challenge of being on the road for an extended period away from their family, friends and the loyal Bulldogs members and fans.

As they traversed the country building finals momentum, the travelling party is now dealing with a two-week lead-in to the most important game of the year.

“It’s probably good that we’re in the hub for the two weeks. We’ll have more time to get around each other and take the nerves away,” Liberatore told the BT Sport podcast.

“You’ve got to try to minimise the thinking time, especially when you’re in a hub and you’ve got plenty of down time.

“It’s going to be different.  We’ve got the freedom to look forward to once we get out of quarantine, so that’ll add a different layer.”

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The experience of having to embark on mini hubs throughout the year, both of which resulted in wins against Western Australian opposition, prepared the Bulldogs well for the latest odyssey.

And as the momentum has grown, so has the feeling amongst the group.

“We’ve talked how we were away in the middle part of the year when we played in Perth,” Liberatore said.

“We’ve already had a taste of it.  I think we play a bit better when we’re locked up.  It’s just a different experience.

“The coaches have set up a very good environment.  It’s been a rewarding and positive environment.

“After we lost to Port (in Round 23), there was nothing really to dwell on.  We focussed on the fact that we’d won 15 games for the year and finished fifth.

“We’ve created a pretty happy and positive place to be at.”

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