Western Bulldogs won’t take four days of leave despite having bye because Melbourne is in lockdown

The fixture for round 13 still isn’t confirmed, but with Melbourne still in lockdown, one team says there’s no point taking a break during their bye week.

The Western Bulldogs will continue to train through its round 13 bye after rebounding from a deflating loss to Melbourne to beat Fremantle in Perth on Sunday night.

Instead of having time off and trying to freshen up while still in lockdown, the Bulldogs will take their break in between their round 14 clash with Geelong and their game against West Coast in round 15.

They are scheduled to play the Cats on the Friday night of round 14 and then meet the Eagles on the Sunday a week later. This fixturing has allowed them to be flexible with their schedule.

Coach Luke Beveridge said everyone at the club was grateful that they had reprogrammed their break.

“We play elite level sport in a national game. It‘s a workplace,” he said. “Players and staff look forward to having a little break, like everyone does in every industry.

“We only get four days off mid-season. It was deflating to think we weren‘t going to capitalise on that.

“It remains to be seen if we‘ll be afforded the normal luxuries we live by day-to-day.

“With the stand down in Victoria, it wasn’t ideal our players were going to have time off and sit at home or live under constraints of lockdown. Previously, everyone had organised to go away for a few days and come back refreshed.

“Hopefully, conditions in Victoria change and players have the opportunity to spend a day or two away or have a hit of golf.”

The Dogs are also hopeful that the break will allow ruckman Stefan Martin to sort out his injured shoulder in time to play the Cats.

Martin returned to the side for the clash against the Dockers after struggling with an achilles injury. He was subbed out of the game in the third term with a shoulder issue.

Beveridge also conceded that the lockdown had hampered the preparation of many players trying to work their way into the team.

With no VFL games being played, the Bulldogs tried to get scratch matches played against a few other AFL teams, but logistically it became too hard and they were forced to pull out.

The much-anticipated debut of Jamarra Ugle-Hagan looks likely to be delayed as a result.

“The whole Covid situation has put a lot of people back,” he said. “That‘s two weeks now the players haven’t played.

“Jamarra could have played in both of those games. The concussion didn‘t help but he was sturdy after that.

“There is no timeline of any of the boys who might come into the team. He‘s not without consideration, but we’ll work out the balance of our team and pick the best team to play Geelong.”

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