Gun midfielder Tom Liberatore says the team will approach each of the remaining home-and-away matches as must-win.

The Bulldogs comfortably accounted for fellow finals contenders Richmond last Friday night, and with meetings against Hawthorn, West Coast and Geelong to come in the run home, Liberatore said the same importance will be placed on each encounter.

“Last weekend was probably the big one we needed to win, but in saying that there are no easy games,” Liberatore told SEN over the weekend.

“We struggled with Hawthorn in Tassie a couple of years ago and only won by a few goals last year. In terms of this week, it’s the same thing really – it’s win or bust.

“We’ve just got to approach this week like we have the last few weeks. Barring the losses to the Sydney sides, the last month has been pretty positive.


“It’s a big task – Hawthorn have been really competitive so it should be a good battle.”

Liberatore has been one of the Dogs’ most consistent midfielders this season.

He has accumulated 284 contested possessions – second across the league only to skipper Marcus Bontempelli’s 285 – to go with an average of 28.2 disposals, 6.8 tackles and 8.3 clearances.

Liberatore said the key to his on-field success and impact this year is simple.

“I missed a game as well so I’ve probably got him (covered),” Liberatore joked of Bontempelli pipping him by one contested possession.

“I’m just enjoying footy at the moment. It’s been good just building this year.

“I’ve been happy to play every week to be honest, and to get away with no knee soreness which is nice.”

Liberatore also praised ruck Tim English for his silver service in 2023.

“(Tim) has been more consistent this year. Even just that appetite he has each game – I think his work rate sets him apart from other ruckmen,” he said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Tim Taranto of the Tigers is tackled by Tim English of the Bulldogs during the round 21 AFL match between Western Bulldogs and Richmond Tigers at Marvel Stadium, on August 04, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

“His ability to compete both on the ground and in the air – he’s pretty courageous.

“To play with a ruckman like that certainly lifts others around him as well. He’s great to play with.”

The Bulldogs will meet Hawthorn at UTAS Stadium this Sunday afternoon.