The Western Bulldogs hit a low point in 2023.

Bottom of the ladder, a one-win season, and opting to part ways with coach Nathan Burke.

But now it's time to reset under new coach Tamara Hyett.

The former Melbourne AFLW assistant coach was announced as the Bulldogs' new mentor on Friday, joining Sam Wright at Collingwood, Daniel Webster at Hawthorn and women's footy pioneer Daisy Pearce at West Coast as new coaches for the 2024 season.


After eight seasons cycling talent in and out of the program in a way that clearly hasn't worked, this year the Bulldogs have a chance to build something from the ground up.

The club enters 2024 with the third-youngest average list in the competition, at just 23 years, 317 days, and the sixth-least experienced list averaging 24.4 games.

This comes off the back of significant player turnover in recent months. A third of the list left the club over the off-season, with that group boasting 424 games and 126 goals between them.

The 11 players who have since been welcomed to the red, white, and blue, have played a collective 162 games, and includes four teenagers yet to make their AFLW debut.

Such significant change to the playing list isn't a new experience for the Bulldogs, with the club retaining just one inaugural player – Ellie Blackburn – the fewest of any side across the AFLW.

Picture: Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos

Many have pointed to multiple phases of expansion for much of that unwanted turnover, although that doesn't tell the full story.

Twelve Bulldogs have moved to other clubs via expansion rules, the same number as Fremantle, and four fewer than reigning premier Brisbane, which has lost 16 players to expansion since the competition began.

Recent AFLW Best and Fairest winner Monique Conti also left the club during the 2020 expansion phase, although via trade, handing the Dogs the No.1 pick which was ultimately used on Gabrielle Newton.

Amidst all this movement, the Bulldogs have taken more top-10 selections to the draft than any other side with 12 top-10 draft picks landing at the Dogs, and just six – including three from the 2023 draft – remain.

The Club drafted Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner with the number one pick in the 2023 AFLW Draft (Picture: Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos).

What the Western Bulldogs haven't been able to do consistently is develop and retain top-end talent in a way that allows them to build momentum over time. This is a key area for Hyett to focus on improving should the club rise up the ranks.

Another area that the Dogs have struggled with is keeping its best players on the park.

Throughout last season the Bulldogs had the largest injury list across the competition in five of the 10 home and away rounds, including lists of 11, 11, and 12 in the final three weeks.

While injuries are an unfortunate inevitability in footy, poor player availability has plagued the Dogs for three seasons, with limited numbers available even for pre-season sessions in that time.

Ensuring players are in the best physical shape possible coming into the 2024 season will surely be another focal point for Hyett, lifting professional standards. This will be aided by last year's Collective Bargaining Agreement, which made all AFLW player contracts year-round for the first time.

Of course, all of this must come with support from the club's administration, which is in the process of recruiting a new general manager of women’s football after Debbie Lee departed in early 2022.

Despite it all, there is still plenty of potential at the club. It will just be about harnessing it all and starting to move in a positive direction once more.