Senior coach Luke Beveridge says his side is ready to put their pre-season work into effect next Friday against Collingwood.
The Bulldogs closed their Marsh Community Series with a 10-point loss to Port Adelaide in Whyalla, before defeating North Melbourne by 44 points at Marvel Stadium the week before.
Despite the practice match results, Beveridge said there’s more to it than winning.
“I think the key is to win while you are working yourself out, and we didn’t do it too well in Whyalla. We were really happy with the first one (against North) and then probably had an inconsistent four quarters in South Australia,” he told SEN 1116.
“What you’re trying to drive is the competition within your own ranks for spots and roles, but as a coach you’ve got to find that happy medium.
“We’ve got to establish a foothold of who we want to be, and it’d be nice to go into Round 1 feeling pretty good about ourselves.
“This is our challenge to show some really assertive behaviour and influence each other and our supporters that we’ve had a good pre-season and are ready for Round 1.”
The coach also recognised the expectations placed on the team for 2020.
“Our approach is to embrace it – we’d rather be talked about in that vein, because it means our path has been pretty positive in recent times,” Beveridge said.
“We’d rather be in this spot off the back of some promise in the second half of last year - as far as wins and losses.
“Even though we weren’t getting the results early, we felt we were on the right track.”
The Bulldogs will host the Magpies in Round 1 at Marvel Stadium on Friday 20 March at 7.50pm.