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Dogs driven to improve: Macrae

Press Conference | Josh Dunkley Josh Dunkley spoke to the media ahead of the Bulldogs' second JLT match against St Kilda this weekend.

Western Bulldogs ball magnet Jack Macrae says the team will use Sunday’s match against St Kilda as a full dress rehearsal for the season proper.

Macrae, who collected 40 disposals in the Bulldogs’ first pre-season hit-out against Gold Coast last week, believes building confidence will be important ahead of round one.

“It’s extremely important, we’ll be playing our best side and fine-tuning those things that we thought we missed out on against Gold Coast,” Macrae told RSN Breakfast Club.

“We‘re obviously a young team, and we build a lot of confidence and momentum. I’ll be really looking forward to starting that on Sunday, and building through to Sydney on Saturday night in a couple of weeks.”

The 24-year-old said it had been pleasing personally to blow the cobwebs off against the Suns, and introduce the likes of draftees Bailey Smith and Will Hayes, and recruits Sam Lloyd and Taylor Duryea, to the team.

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“I really enjoyed it. It was a bit of a nervous build-in, obviously the first game,” Macrae said.

“There’s always a few fresh faces which is exciting for all the boys, and the players themselves.

“It was exciting to get through the first one, and we’re really looking forward to getting up to Ballarat on Sunday.”

Macrae believes there’s plenty of room still to improve for the Bulldogs – with it being a matter of turning possessions into results on the scoreboard.

“Ideally we want to convert those inside 50s and the dominance that we’re having around the midfield – which is a great sign – but if we’re not scoring from it, it doesn’t really mean too much,” he said.

“I think our quality can improve going inside 50, but just converting some of our set shots, really putting the pressure on the scoreboard and keeping the game moving.

“It’s been talked about our lack of goal-kicking, but I think the form we showed the last four or five weeks last season, we were turning those high possession numbers into goals, and hopefully that’s something we can bring out on Sunday.

“I think we have a team that’s capable (of doing that)… Hopefully the players that are picked can really lead us forward.”

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