The past three seasons have seen the Dogs fall short of what they could be, with a star-studded list not only unable to capitalise on their grand final chance of 2021 but struggling since to return to the level that saw them well-placed for another flag.

An ACL injury to midfielder Bailey Smith is an unwanted blow early for the Bulldogs ahead of another crucial season under coach Luke Beveridge, with the pre-season setback at least giving the club time to adapt.

Another failed season this year is sure to mount further pressure on Beveridge, who will want to get the most out of his squad in 2024.

2024 expectations

The Bulldogs will once again have September circled on their calendar as they search for their first finals win since their grand final run of 2021. Luke Beveridge's men fell short last season and while their list hasn't significantly improved, it still has the names that should combine for a flag tilt.

For the full preview download Zero Hanger's FREE 2024 AFL Season Guide.

Greater midfield support and more consistency at either end of the field will be key in the Western Bulldogs making their top eight comeback and potentially contending in 2024.

Star Player: Marcus Bontempelli

Arguably the No.1 player in the game, Bontempelli had a near-faultless season in 2023 but couldn't get his side over the line.

His ability both on the inside and outside of midfield, coupled with his aerial capacity and forward impact, has the Dogs skipper often getting his side first access to the ball.

Accompanied by veteran hard nut Tom Liberatore, Bontempelli will be seeking further assistance this year if the Dogs want to have a chance of going the distance.

To read the full Western Bulldogs preview - including player profiles, the must-watch matches, full club-by-club fixtures, player records, best 23s and HEAPS more - download Zero Hanger's FREE 2024 AFL Season Guide.