Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli says his side may need to make some midfield adjustments ahead of their clash against Carlton.
The Bulldogs’ six-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Richmond last Friday.
Notably missing star ball-winner Josh Dunkley (shoulder) on the inside, the skipper said the midfield balance probably wasn’t executed the way they would have liked against the reigning premiers.
The Bulldogs lead the competition for disposals and clearances, but found a formidable opponent in the Tigers’ midfield unit.
“We probably did rely too much on ‘Libba’ (Tom Liberatore) on the inside – we know how good a grunt player he is from an inside and clearance perspective, but we probably missed picking up the slack on the inside to help him out a little bit,” Bontempelli told media on Tuesday.
“Obviously Jack (Macrae), myself, ‘Adsy’ (Adam Treloar) and we saw Bailey Smith play a little bit inside as well as Patty Lipinski, so we’ve just got to share the load properly in there.
“Josh has been an incredible force for us so far this season with his inside and grunt work, and I think we missed him a bit on the weekend for sure, but it’s just going to be something we’re going to have to adjust to.”
The Bulldogs have won just one of their past three games against the Blues – and their most recent meeting was a 52-point loss in the Gold Coast hub last year.
Bontempelli said while that game is important to reflect on, it won’t be the group’s focus come Sunday.
“They really sort of gave it to us (last year) – at that point we probably needed to make some adjustments too,” he said.
“You always look back at recent form at how teams can sort of force you to come undone, so that’s definitely a game that (we’ll) reflect on, but obviously being a new season and new parameters in a way will form some part of the build-up.
“You’ve got to respect every opposition in this league, and I think that really hasn’t changed for us week-to-week. You expect every team’s best at what they can do - that’s our attitude and we’ll be ready for whatever Carlton can throw at us.”