- from afl.com.au
THE WESTERN Bulldogs are struggling to adjust to an increase in pressure on the ball-carrier this season, according to Luke Beveridge.
The Bulldogs were wasteful in space and often guilty of kicking long to intercept specialists Jeremy McGovern, Tom Barrass and Elliot Yeo.
And despite winning most key statistical indicators including contested possessions, tackles, clearances and inside 50s, Beveridge's men had three less scoring shots than their opponents.
Speaking after the Dogs' eight-point loss to West Coast at Domain Stadium on Friday night, Beveridge said his players were too often rushed into making decisions and consequently failed to execute their skills.
"The intensity in the contest has probably changed again," Beveridge said.
"It's given the players less time again and we're not adjusting like we should and as we'd like.
"We train under pressure and we prepare ourselves pretty well but we're just not able to transition that onto the field at the moment for long enough.
"Our players are a little bit frustrated with our skill level at times in open space and that's been a bit of a theme throughout the course of the year.
"We're working on it – we were similar last year for a fair pair period and then we clicked into gear but we'd like to clean it up a bit.
"We're still trying to sort it all out and find ourselves again but it's taking us a little while."
The Bulldogs could be excused for blaming part of their plight on injuries – they entered the match without eight of their best 22 players including skipper Bob Murphy, Jake Stringer, Mitch Wallis, Jordan Roughead, Stewart Crameri, Tory Dickson, Travis Cloke and Dale Morris.
Young forward Josh Dunkley was also sidelined with a shoulder injury following last week's two-point win over Richmond.
But Beveridge said the team could expect several experienced faces to return in the coming weeks, including Murphy next week.
"(Murphy) was just sore in a few spots – no injuries just a bit of distress physically in a few spots, so he'll definitely come back in," Beveridge said.
"Most of (the other injured players) are playing tomorrow (in the VFL).
"Tory Dickson's not playing at all – that (decision) was very cautious.
"He may be a chance – we might consider him – but we'll wait and see, it's a long way away.
"Travis (Cloke) will be available in a few weeks.
"The great thing is we seem to have gotten through the game unscathed which is uncommon for us."
Beveridge also praised returning key forward Jack Redpath for his "encouraging" three-goal performance after a 10-month injury layoff with a ruptured right ACL sustained in round 18 last year.