Bulldogs’ plan to ramp up preparations

As Melbourne prepares for full-on match practice on Saturday, the Western Bulldogs will take a different course to next week's Grand Final with a session focused on "risk mitigation".

As Melbourne prepares for full-on match practice on Saturday, the Western Bulldogs will take a different course to next week's Grand Final with a session focused on "risk mitigation".

Demons defender Christian Salem said on Wednesday the club would take part in a scratch match to ensure they are battle-hardened for the Optus Stadium encounter. 

However, the Dogs will be taking another route to the premiership decider, with coach Luke Beveridge saying on Thursday they would wait until their main session next Wednesday to really ramp up their preparations after the unfamiliarity of a pre-Grand Final bye.

"We won't have a practice match. We'll have a reasonable session. Probably Wednesday the following week will be a bit of a ramp up with a couple of days out and it's a good one for us," the 2016 premiership coach said.

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"Saturday will be a risk mitigation type of day and we'll work hard and definitely training with the footys and put some things into practice that will be important for next week but it won't be a practice match."

The Bulldogs beat Melbourne in round 19 by 20 points, having overturned their defeat to the Dees in round 11. But Beveridge said the Dogs will need to evolve again if they are to salute for their second flag in six seasons. 

"We did some things against Melbourne last time where we didn't really have that luxury of having the extra tall (Stefan Martin) so there's some positives going into this big game and we'll have a really strong focus on how we can improve on what we've been doing," he said.

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"And then how can we challenge Melbourne all over again from the previous two times we've played them this year?"

Defender Alex Keath is "looking good" to return from his hamstring strain for the Demons clash, while Beveridge said Laitham Vandermeer, who was substituted out of the preliminary final win over Port Adelaide with a hamstring concern, was also likely to be available.

"We believe after full assessment that he's copped a knock in his glute, and he's had some referred pain and if you've had some history there the alarm bells start to ring so he put his hand up," he said.

"The signs are looking good for Laith as well, so some positives there." 

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