Western Bulldogs leaders Nathan Burke and Ellie Blackburn know their side will learn from Friday night’s defeat to Melbourne.

In tough conditions on a wet night in Footscray, the Bulldogs were outdone by their more experienced counterparts.

But Burke believes that experience will help his players improve.

“It was tough,” the Bulldogs’ coach said.

“The conditions were really tough, Melbourne made it really tough – they played some really good football, some really structured football right from the start.

“I was really proud of the way the girls hung in there and won the last quarter. That was probably the most pleasing part of the night.

“I think we’ll take a lot of learnings from the night.”

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Blackburn was among the Bulldogs’ best in the clinches.

The Bulldogs’ skipper said the side had been tested by Melbourne’s skill and experience, but was pleased with how they fought out the contest.

“We’ve got plenty of experience there, but we’ve still got plenty of fresh faces as well,” Blackburn said.

“We’re trying to find our feet, to a degree.

“Obviously playing in tougher conditions against a really strong opponent made it difficult for us to get our stuff together and work united.

“We stuck it out for the rest of the game… definitely lots of improvements, but lots of positives to take out of it as well.” 

The Bulldogs look set to welcome back vice-captain Brooke Lochland (hamstring) and leader Izzy Huntington (concussion) for Saturday’s match against Carlton, provided they proceed as planned with their recovery.

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