BULLDOGS coach Luke Beveridge admits he's still not sure what kind of finals campaign is best.
You would reckon he will have a better idea tonight when Geelong hosts Sydney at the MCG, ahead of his team's own preliminary final with GWS tomorrow.
With the introduction of the pre-finals bye, it has meant the victorious qualifying finalists get two weekends off instead of one during the home stretch.
The last time there was a similar situation was in 1990 when the final five was still operating. Essendon sat out the first week of the finals as minor premier and then the second while Collingwood and West Coast replayed their qualifying final.
The Bombers would be thrashed by the Magpies in both the semi-final and grand final.
A year earlier, Hawthorn got the first and third weeks off, before holding off a barnstorming Geelong in the premiership decider.
Tonight the Cats will play just their second game in 27 days, tomorrow the Giants their second in 28. The Swans and the Bulldogs meanwhile have had a couple of tough back-to-back hit-outs.
"Really, I'm not sure,” Beveridge said yesterday when asked what he thought was the better approach to the penultimate week.
"Time will tell. Maybe it's a combination of so many things - the maturity of your group, the need for games under your belt, how sore your players have been.
"We've got a little bit of continuity, because we've only had the one break, but time will tell. I'm sure that the opposition have trained in a fashion that has prepared them well for Saturday and I'd imagine there's just not excuses for either side of it.”
Beveridge probably wouldn't change a thing for his side, however, as it has swept aside West Coast and Hawthorn on the back of winning the contested ball 162-139 and 161-111, respectively.
Beveridge said there had always been "a very healthy and strong belief” among the playing group that has only grown stronger when "you keep knocking over the fences in front of you”.
"I think our midfield over the last two weeks have dominated the games in a really even spread,” he said.
"If we can get that again it's going to really help us.
"I think it's quite a common thing to want midfield dominance, but it doesn't necessarily win you the game.
"You've got to get it done on the scoreboard and defend well, but I think it's going to have a big say again.”
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