The Western Bulldogs loom as a smoky for a tilt at a deep finals run after they won a pulsating match against Melbourne by seven points at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Dogs have now won four of their past five matches, sit just one victory and percentage outside the top eight and will look to close that gap when they take on St Kilda next Sunday.
On a roll: Bulldog Bailey Smith (right) celebrates a goal with team mate Patrick Lipinski.Credit:AAP
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was reluctant to discuss finals but said "you never know what can happen''.
"Everyone is aware of your position and where you are on the ladder. I'm not going to sit here and say I don't look at it – I do,'' Beveridge said. "But we've got a low percentage and we don't talk about what happens after round 23.
"We're just looking at the next opportunity … I don't talk about anything other than the following week with our group, but you never know what can happen.
''That's really the train of thought that I've always been on as a coach and I believe a lot in our group and our players."
Dogged: Melbourne’s Nathan Jones handballs on under pressure from Lachie Hunter.Credit:AAP
The Bulldogs could also welcome back Tom Liberatore from the surgery he underwent after damaging his knee cartilage during the Round 13 clash with Carlton, and crucial ball user Caleb Daniel.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he was "always disappointed when you don't get the result'' but still preferred to focus on the positives, notably the three goals from teenage forward Harrison Petty.
Goodwin conceded it was "a challenge finding an avenue for goal'' and said his players weren't bold enough with the way they used the ball, but refused to be drawn on the bigger picture for the team or the club.
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