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Dogs still believing ahead of Pies clash

The belief is still well and truly there for the Western Bulldogs as they attempt to shrug off a 3-5 start and kickstart their AFL season against Collingwood.

A combination of injuries and patchy form has contributed to a difficult start but coach Luke Beveridge was confident the Bulldogs could get their groove back, like they did at the tail end of last season.

“History as we know doesn’t repeat itself but it matters when it comes to belief in what you’re doing, especially the core of what you’re doing,” Beveridge said.

“That’s been pretty static, pretty consistent over the (years.) This is the eighth year since I’ve been in here and it’s only really planning that sort of changes week to week.

“So we’ve got a confidence in what we do and that we will evolve again and come out of it. But we’d like to do it sooner rather than later.”

Regaining skipper Marcus Bontempelli will help but Beveridge was wary of how Collingwood had adjusted under new coach Craig McRae.

“I’ve been impressed with what they’ve done and they’ve got some significant experience in different areas of the ground,” Beveridge said.

“It’s been recognised that they’re probably playing a little bit quicker at times but I think they can be measured as well.

“Some of their young guys have been really impressive. So they’re going to be hard to contend with on Friday night.

“We know that once again we can’t give them an edge in any area of the ground because they’ll make us pay.”

Beveridge was confident Alex Keath’s return from a hamstring injury would give the Bulldogs more of an aerial presence after they were outclassed by Port Adelaide.

Jordon Sweet comes in for Stefan Martin (managed), while Cody Weightman (collarbone), Tim O’Brien (calf) and Laitham Vandermeer (hamstring) are all sidelined.

The Bulldogs have turned to debutant Luke Cleary and Rhylee West while Collingwood are without young gun Jack Ginnivan (illness), calling upon Caleb Poulter.

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