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AFL Team Profile: Western Bulldogs

Western Bulldogs just missed out on finals in the 2023 AFL campaign and will be aiming to return to the top eight in the season ahead.

The Bulldogs last won the premiership in 2016, but did make the grand final in 2022, only to lose by 74 points to Melbourne.

They are now looking to get back among the challengers for the premiership, but a return to the top eight in 2024 will be the first step.

The race to make it will be tight once again, with a handful of clubs in the same boat, but the Bulldogs will have high hopes.

They can be backed at 2.10 to make the top eight and 1.72 to miss out.

Let’s take a look at the Bulldogs heading into the new season.

Bulldogs just miss out on top eight

Western Bulldogs fell just short in the race to make the top eight and play finals in the 2023 season.

They picked up 12 wins out of 23 games to finish ninth on the ladder with 48 points. Sydney, who took the final spot in the eight, had just two points more.

2023 did not get off to the best of starts with back-to-back defeats against Melbourne and St Kilda, but they bounced back to win the next two, including a 14-point win over Brisbane.

The Bulldogs failed to set the season alight but were always in the mix to make the top eight and it went to the wire.

However, a couple of poor results in the last few games cost them their spot. They slipped to a three-point defeat at Hawthorn, then lost by seven points at home to West Coast.

The Eagles had won just two games all season heading into the match, and although the Bulldogs bounced back in the last match of the regular season against Geelong, the damage had been done.

It has been a big off-season of change for the Bulldogs and all eyes will be on them to see how they respond in the season ahead.

They have a number of injury issues heading into the new season and the jury is out for now.

Key players

The Bulldogs have suffered a huge blow already with the news that Bailey Smith will miss the entire 2024 season after suffering an ACL injury in training.

Smith is also out of contract at the end of the year and it will be interesting to see if the Bulldogs can retain his services.

The same applies to another two players, Tim English and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who will both be key players for the Bulldogs this season.

The Bulldogs are skippered by Marcus Bontempelli, who had another great season in 2023, and will be hoping for more of the same this season.

Aaron Naughton will be another key player for the Bulldogs, while Sam Darcy will be out to finally stake a claim after some bad luck on the injury front over the last two seasons.

Ryley Sanders is definitely a player to watch out for in 2024 and could help fill the void left by the injury to Smith.

Sanders is set to make his debut is round one and is priced at 10.00 to win the Rising Star award.

Bulldogs open up against Demons

Western Bulldogs will begin their 2024 campaign with a clash against Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday 17th March.

They can be backed at 2.30 to win the game, with the Demons available at 1.62.

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