The Western Bulldogs are desperate to get back on the winners’ list.
They have played some good footy in patches over the past three weeks, against three of the competition’s top teams in Richmond, Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide.
But poor patches have let them down, where they have been unable to stem opposition momentum.
It makes a win against the winless Adelaide Crows pivotal in the context of the season.
At 5-6 and in the middle of the pack, the Bulldogs can ill-afford many slip ups from here if they want to feature at the business end of the year.
Senior coach Luke Beveridge is more than aware of the challenge the Adelaide Crows pose this week.
“The Crows are improving, they’ve challenged teams in recent times,” Beveridge told media this week.
“They’ve probably just let themselves down or shot themselves in the foot through some turnover here and there.
“We understand we’re playing a team that’s desperate for their first victory.
“If we’re off, we’ll be vulnerable.”
In a season where teams have had to persist and persevere in the face of different challenges, the Bulldogs have had plenty of changes to their 22.
One area that has been consistent in terms of personnel is the inside midfield group.
Beveridge is looking to the likes of skipper Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Tom Liberatore, Josh Dunkley and young gun Bailey Smith to have a significant impact against the Crows – particularly with some important players missing in defence.
“The one line that’s remained pretty static is probably that inside midfield area,” Beveridge said.
“We need those lads to play consistently well – if they don’t, we feel it.
“Prior to that, it was probably our backend, which has been knocked around a little bit now.”