JACK Macrae has his fingers crossed the Bulldogs can snatch an unlikely finals appearance despite yesterday’s costly loss in Ballarat.
The reigning premier had the chance to secure a spot in the top eight but fell to Port Adelaide and must now rely on other results to sneak into September action.
Macrae said it was frustrating the Bulldogs had left their fate in the hands of others.
“With footy, you never know what can happen,” Macrae said.
“This time last year, even though we were going to make finals, no one really thought we were going to do much in the finals.
“Obviously a lot has to go our way and that’s the position we’ve put ourselves in unfortunately, but never say never.
“It’s quite disappointing (to be in this position). We rate ourselves as a group and as individuals really highly.
“We’ve shown patches of what we can do when we play our best footy, even today we had some really good moments.
“We just haven’t been able to put it all together unfortunately.”
Macrae was the Bulldogs best player, amassing 41 disposals, 14 contested.
He said his side’s ball use let it down yesterday as well as its inaccuracy in front of goal.
“That’s something we just have to get better at,” Macrae said.
He said the strength of the Bulldogs was their even spread of contributors each week, which had been missing at times this season
“We don’t rely on any individual brilliance to win us games very often, just that strength across the 22, which was so strong in last year’s final,” he said.
“We probably haven’t got in every game this year.
“ … at the end of the day we’re still a pretty young team and inconsistency’s a part of that.
“But we shouldn’t have to rely on Bont or JJ to have terrific games to get us over the line.
“Those younger boys have to continually step up and that includes from the best player all the way down.”
It was a heated game with plenty of niggle.
“It was obviously a pretty big game for both clubs,” he said.
“Both teams just play a really aggressive brand of footy, which isn’t the worst thing as long as it’s within the rules of the game.”