Beveridge, Bulldogs not panicking in AFL

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Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has attempted to defuse any panic around the AFL grand finalists' slow start to the season.

The Bulldogs head into Sunday's crucial clash with Essendon at Marvel Stadium sitting at 2-4, looking a shadow of the team that led Melbourne by 19 points midway through the third quarter of last year's decider.

Their key position stocks have taken a massive hit, with strong-marking forward Josh Bruce and defender Alex Keath still on the sidelines.

But Beveridge has dismissed any talk the club is not united.

"Regardless of the ins and outs and the casualties along the way, we still believe we're capable of winning every week," Beveridge said.

"I know I'm always a supreme optimist and I always talk that way.

"I think there's small margins within games and we just haven't been on the better side of the ledger.

"Momentum shifts in games, we haven't been as water-tight with closing out games, but our playing group are enormously steadfast in what they're doing.

"Everyone knows we've turned it around as far as the win-loss ledger goes, historically, at different times and you can't wait for that.

"It seems like a diabolical outcome to go 2-4 but ultimately we feel like Adelaide (who pipped the Bulldogs by one point last round) are going pretty well."

Versatile mature-aged recruit Anthony Scott will sit out the clash with the Bombers after testing positive to COVID-19.

Veteran Mitch Wallis is expected to return to face the Bombers after an emotional past fortnight.

His mother-in-law died just before Wallis and wife Emily welcomed their second child into the world.

Former No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has been dropped, despite the Bulldogs' forward woes, after an underwhelming start to the season.

Hayden Crozier is a welcome addition the squad having been sidelined since the Bulldogs' round-two loss against Carlton.

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