There are few bigger tests in footy that taking on Geelong on their home turf.
Especially when they’re in hot form, and sitting on top of the AFL ladder.
But that challenge couldn’t have come at a better time for the Western Bulldogs, according to forward Sam Lloyd, who has made himself at home as a Bulldog with 12 goals in his first eight matches.
“I’m loving it – it’s probably something I needed, a little bit of a new lease on life and football,” Lloyd told media at VU Whitten Oval on Thursday.
“The boys have been great and to play some consecutive football has been really good for me too.
“I think we’re really growing in confidence, especially in the past couple of the weeks.
“The Richmond game particularly, we played pretty well, and then we went down to Ballarat in wetter conditions and had a good win down there. To do it in in both conditions, under the roof and in the wet, shows that we’ve got a couple of strings to our bow.
“We had a good three quarters against Fremantle a few weeks ago, and we thought we were growing then, and to do it the last couple of weeks shows we can do it and the belief in the group.”
The Cats have been dominant so far in 2019, having beaten fellow top eight sides Collingwood, Adelaide and West Coast – and dropping just one game to fellow top-four side GWS Giants by four points.
“They’re probably the benchmark of the competition at the moment, sitting on top of the ladder,” Lloyd said.
“To go down there and tackle them at their home stadium is probably as tough as it gets.
“They’re obviously in some seriously good form, and they’ve got some players in that have added to their list who are playing really good footy – particularly guys like Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan.
“We’ll have a look at them today, and hopefully put something together to combat them.”
Remarkably, the Cats have dropped just nine of 71 games at GMHBA Stadium over the past decade.
And you have to go back to 2003 for the last time the Bulldogs were victorious in Geelong – however, the Bulldogs did win the sides’ most recent meeting by two points at Marvel Stadium last season.
“We’ve got a really good belief inside these four walls, and the positive thing is we’ve got a really young group and they’re only going to grow in confidence as well,” Lloyd said.
“I think we’ve seen the last couple of weeks that we’ve got a good system in place, and if we can put it together we’re a strong chance to win most games.
“I think anything is possible, especially if you look at the competition this year.”