Their premiership defence is in tatters after four straight losses, but Western Bulldogs captain Katie Brennan insists every moment counts as the regular season draws to a close.
Speaking at Tuesday afternoon’s launch of the Pride Game against Carlton, Brennan lauded the efforts of her team and underlined the importance of taking momentum into next season.
“There is a little bit of a feeling of the weight being lifted off your shoulders … but we still think every moment does count,” she said.
“It’s something we’re really trying to focus on, those small little moments. It kind of pulls you back from having to win the game or get into the finals, it’s more about executing and doing our best in those little moments.
“I think if you finish really proud, it’s something that will really lay a foundation of future success.”
Brennan’s sentiment rings true remembering the Bulldogs’ last game of 2017, a 32 point thrashing of the GWS Giants in Canberra.
They carried the momentum into 2018, winning five of seven regular season games and booking a grand final spot just 12 months after playing to avoid the wooden spoon.
A win over the contending Blues may have a similarly restorative effect, and may even assist in convincing out-of-contract players to return to the Kennel for 2020.
“I think the more fun you have and the more the girls start to see some team footy being put out on the park and some results coming in our development, I think you get more buy-in and more girls want to be surrounded by each other,” Brennan said.
“We’ve got incredible change rooms here at the Bulldogs, we’ve had a lot of investment in our program and our people so [players leaving] is certainly not something that we’re worried about at this stage.”
A well-worn footy cliché tells says improvement must come from within. The Bulldogs can draw on star forwards Isabel Huntington and Brooke Lochland for inspiration, from their approach to injury rehabilitation and the edge they can give the team now and in the future.
The pair returned from serious leg injuries in Round 5 to add shape to a struggling forward line, and Brennan can see it has already boosted the team dynamic.