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Bulldogs set for more quarantine

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18th June, 2021
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The Western Bulldogs are bracing themselves for another stint under strict COVID-19 protocols as they prepare to take on fellow AFL flag hopefuls West Coast in Perth.

Reeling from a gut-wrenching defeat to Geelong on Friday night, the Bulldogs are yet to be given final word what the next week holds for them.

Plans to spend time in Sydney before flying west – as they did before a clash with Fremantle in Round 12 – have been scuppered by fresh coronavirus cases in New South Wales.

An agreement will need to be struck between the AFL and Western Australia state government, with the Bulldogs certain to spend time in some form of isolation before taking on the Eagles at Optus Stadium on June 27.

It comes as Melbourne’s restrictions continue to ease after the city emerged from its recent lockdown.

“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said after the five-point loss to Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.

“For (the players) to turn up and put some of the peripheral things out of their head and just focus on the challenge of playing the Cats at their home base and to get so close…we’re grateful for what our boys did tonight.

“Pre-game, there was a lot of organisation that went into going to New South Wales among everyone … with family and friends and with each other.

“For it all to be shut down and now with the probability that the AFL are going to want us to be under tight restrictions somewhere to play the West Coast Eagles – that compared to having a few days off and refreshing is pretty extreme.

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“The circumstances are a bit different this time than what they have been.

“I think with the freedoms going back in Victoria, the problem is now all the borders are closing to each other with the cases Australia-wide, so we’re in a bit of a bind.”

Friday night’s tight contest could have fallen the Bulldogs’ way after Toby McLean scrambled through a goal to put them in front with four minutes left to play.

But Geelong’s late surge saw Gary Rohan mark 40 metres from goal and slot his tough shot to snatch victory from the Dogs, who missed a chance to move to the top of the ladder.

Making matters worse for the Bulldogs was a rib injury suffered by key forward Aaron Naughton in a collision with Jed Bews moments before halftime.

Naughton was substituted out of the match at the main break and sent for further assessment.

“He’s a bit sore and he’s gone off just to be checked up again,” Beveridge said.

“I can’t give you any specifics. We’ll just need to work through it. The docs will diagnose him.”

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