Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is “really optimistic” his side’s late-season momentum can be carried into next year.

The Dogs endured a tough 2018 campaign, missing finals for the second consecutive season after their 2016 premiership and finishing with a disappointing 8-14 record.

But three wins from the last four matches, with the only loss by three points to Richmond, has Beveridge buoyant.

“Expectation is an interesting and important word. At different times we’ve heightened our expectations and created expectation among our fans and supporters and sometimes that leads to disappointment, which we understand,” Beveridge said.

We felt we got some real momentum late in the season and that all occurs because there’s a strong belief and resolve among our group in what we do and where it can take us again.”

Beveridge, speaking at a Western Bulldogs family day at Whitten Oval, said his playing list was now better balanced after bringing in 10 new players through the trade and draft periods.

“(recruiting manager) Nick Austin and (list manager) Sam Power and the recruiting staff have done a terrific job. Ten new players, just under a quarter of our squad, have entered our club,” he said.

“The important thing is to indoctrinate them into the Bulldog way, teach them how we want to play and connect with them in a strong manner from a relationship point of view.

“We had all the parents in yesterday (Friday) and they spent some time with our staff. With new 10 players and our existing 34 we’re really optimistic about what we can do in 2019.”

The Dogs’ first draft pick, Bailey Smith, is yet to train fully as he recovers from an achilles injury, but captain Easton Wood said the new arrivals had injected enthusiasm.

“It’s been a really different feel with 10 new boys in. We’re younger again and that brings exciting opportunities and enormous amounts of energy which has been great to see,” Wood said.

“You can see the excitement and energy and the boys are really going after it at the moment. There’s a lot of speed and agility that’s come in.”

The Bulldogs on Saturday trained on a lush and green Whitten Oval surface, which hasn’t been in the case in recent years.

Beveridge channelled his inner green thumb to explain.

“The curators have done a terrific job. We changed tack this year; normally we kill off the rye and let the couch come through and this year we decided to keep the rye and it’s very green and the boys are enjoying it,” Beveridge said.

“It’s probably a bit softer than what it has been and it’s held up a treat.”
But the Dogs will swap the grass for the sand on Monday when they leave for a Torquay training camp.