The Western Bulldogs are on the cusp of something few saw coming, but the message captain Bob Murphy will give his young teammates is they are ready and good enough to play finals.
Veteran Daniel Cross has opted to retire after Melbourne decided not to offer the 249-game player a new contract.
Coach Luke Beveridge took a chance encounter with the AFL premiership cup last week as a potential sign that greatness was somewhere in his team's future.
This looks like the season when a team could really win the premiership from the bottom half of the eight. And that's not just observation, the numbers back it up.
North Melbourne's midfielders were flat in their loss to the Western Bulldogs on Saturday evening, coach Brad Scott said.
After three listless quarters, the game opened up and the Bulldogs triumphed in a battle between foes who may meet again soon.
It's the standout match of round 22. Sixth versus seventh on the ladder. They might meet again in week one of the AFL finals.
Daniel Cherny and Samantha Lane
The future of 2013 All-Australian ruckman Will Minson remains "secure" at the Whitten Oval despite the veteran again being overlooked at Western Bulldogs selection, according to Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.
Adelaide's membership tally dropped by 2.5 per cent this year – but if you want to sign up, join the queue.
The Western Bulldogs need to rebound quickly from their 77-point loss to West Coast on Sunday to remain any chance of finishing in the top four.
Never has the rule of thumb about how finals series are played out looked shakier than right now.
West Coast have given themselves a sniff at claiming the minor premiership after running away to 77-point win over a plucky Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium on Sunday.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson is not quite sure what physical or mental state Nic Naitanui will be in on Sunday when the Eagles clash with the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium.
Brendan McCartney must be sitting back and wondering what happened.
The Western Bulldogs are the best story of the year, for me.
The day when a new $2.5 billion broadcast deal wasn't the main story.
Once upon a time, Luke Dahlhaus was the young Western Bulldog. He was energetic, enthusiastic and he kicked clever goals, though he has another theory on why he so quickly became a favourite.
Matthew Boyd and Liam Picken will not play when the Western Bulldogs team take on West Coast on Sunday.