A more settled forward line is helping the Western Bulldogs hit the scoreboard, as they chase a spot in September.
The Bulldogs have averaged 104.75 points per game over the past four weeks – up from a season average of 84.7 per game.
Saturday night’s total of 137 points was the Bulldogs’ highest since late in Luke Beveridge’s first year as coach, round 20 of 2015.
Continuity close to goal is having an impact, according to the players.
“I think we’re really reaping the rewards of having a pure five-or-six forward line that stay there throughout the whole game,” Lachie Hunter told 3AW after the win against the Bombers.
“Previously we’ve had a lot of midfielders going down there.
“Ideally you’d like your set shots to be had from Josh Schache, Sam Lloyd and those types who do kick straight.
“Now they’ve been able to put eight, nine, 10 weeks of footy together as a core group of six down there, hopefully more scoreboards will look like (the Essendon game).”
The Bulldogs’ forward line has been a work in progress throughout 2019.
Sam Lloyd is in his first year at VU Whitten Oval and leads the goal-kicking tally with 33 majors, while high-flying teenager Aaron Naughton is next best with 27 – after playing his debut season as a key defender.
Premiership duo Tory Dickson and Toby McLean have been constants, while second year Dog Josh Schache and the dangerous Bailey Dale re-establishing themselves at AFL level over the past month.
“I feel like the chemistry can always keep getting better, but I think over the last month or two we’ve had a lot of continuity in that forward line – and across the whole team,” young gun Pat Lipinski told SEN Drive.
“It’s been really good just to play with each other, and we’re still a fairly young group.
“Aaron Naughton’s still 19 and he’s our key forward, and Schach’s only 21. They’re our big players and I think over the coming years if we get to keep playing together, they’re just going to keep improving.
“All our smaller players – Toby McLean, Tory Dickson, Bailey Dale and Sam Lloyd – can really feed off those players.
“The continuity’s probably been the best thing.”