Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has stated that the club isn't prioritising its future over "the now" despite giving increased minutes to the club's young crop of pups instead of experienced heads.

The Dogs' selection was again a talking point leading into, during and after their 29-point defeat to the Bombers on Friday night, with All-Australian Caleb Daniel dropped to the VFL while fellow defender Bailey Dale was named as the starting tactical sub.

The pair of moves came after much discussion around star midfielder Jack Macrae, who started the season on the fringes of Beveridge's side before being named as the sub in his second appearance for the year.

Beveridge revealed form, influence and positional needs impacted Daniel's omission and Dale's role this week, with the latter moving to the starting bench position as the club planned to give key defender James O'Donnell some minutes before a key matchup against the Saints in Round 6.

Having relied on his rearguard to play "on edge" and taller so far in 2024, Beveridge offered insight into why Dale was moved to sub and the reasoning for Daniel's omission.

"It's just a form thing," Beveridge said of the Dale call.

"We've been a little bit on edge about Liam Jones and Buku Khamis shouldering that key defensive load, and without another tall to really play on keys, it's meant Ed Richards, and Bailey to a degree, and sometimes Taylor Duryea, have fought out of their weight range in the air.

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"Because [Dale] has been a bit off with his influence in games, we thought it was a good week to bring James in. James is going to be a really good player for us in the future.

"You don't pick the side two weeks ahead, but understanding what we've got coming up in the Saints with a bit of a taller forward line, where we'll definitely need someone like James in the team... bringing him in fresh tonight was important. That will hopefully hold us in good stead.

"[Daniel] is just similar to Bailey Dale. As far as influence goes, and as I've said in the past, there's a finite amount of minutes midfielders can play.

"'We've moved away from picking [Daniel] as a half-back at the moment, so it comes down to who plays the other roles and we had others before him this week."

In the wake of the Dogs' third loss of the year, Beveridge said the club is "missing out on some opportunities", with Friday's clash against the Bombers seen as a winnable game internally.

Beveridge looked to make it clear the club wasn't damaging its short-term prospects for a long-term gain, but noted the club isn't at the level "right now".

"Internally and just speaking to the players then, I stand before them and I talk to them about how much I believe in them and how much I think we're capable of," Beveridge said post-game.

"When I talk to our supporters I talk to them about the possibilities. Even though we're evolving and there's some changes in personnel at different times, the players themselves have created an internal pressure for spots.

"That's all OK if you end up being a formidable team, right now we're not. Whether or not there's any pain as we evolve and move into the future, because it's all about the now and what's up next... history is history.

"We need to make sure we do what we can, whether it's the players or our support staff, just to make sure we're capitalising on the week-to-week. We're missing out on some opportunities.

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"I understand people aren't sure where we sit in the scheme of things, but it is early in the year. It's just reality.

"Part of the selection process is that we give opportunities to young players that are going to be important players in the future as much as now. But it is a pretty steep learning curve at this level for guys who haven't played many games.

"In no way, shape or form are we saying that we're doing it for next year or the year after. It's absolutely for the now. We believe we can win games like tonight, we just weren't good enough."

The Western Bulldogs will take a 2-3 record into their Round 6 clash with St Kilda at Marvel Stadium next Thursday.