Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has addressed controversial comments made by Essendon ruckman Sam Draper, who suggested multiple players would be out the door at the end of the year.

Draper - who spoke on his podcast 200Plus two weeks ago - insinuated that players like Jack Macrae, Caleb Daniel and Bailey Dale could be seen in new colours in 2025 if Beveridge continued his tenure at the Kennel.

When asked on Thursday, the 2016 premiership coach said the comments were strange, whilst acknowledging the Bombers have reached out to apologise.

"It was bizarre to me," Beveridge said to reporters.

"The people who became aware who are close to him at the football club were extremely alarmed and have reached out to me to express their apologies.

"But ultimately, as I've said in the past, my number one concern is our players, that they're taken care of, supported and I suppose the critical lens aimed at them from week to week.

"We all think certain things at times and with the emotions of the game, we are connected to many, many people across the code.

"But to express them in the public domain, this is probably one where he (Draper) has had a think about it and maybe wouldn't do it again.

"It was unusual."

During the podcast, Draper also declared that Bailey Smith - who won't feature in an AFL game until next year due to an ACL injury - is "gone" as rivals ramp up their all-out assault on the out-of-contract playmaker.

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"He said that did he?" Beveridge questioned.

"I think there's a few people that are saying it and I suppose someone like Bailey who is an attractive commodity and young man for anyone in the competition and he's out of contract.

"So, it's only natural that speculation about his future and others think it's part of the process.

"It's a good thing that Bailey is now back running on the grass now... and feeling good about himself.

"And that'll help with his peace of mind and positivity on his return, which is obviously next year."

According to the Herald Sun, Draper reached out to Beveridge apologising for his comments on the podcast from a fortnight ago.

The publications reported that the 25-year-old was "remorseful" and "apologetic", acknowledging his comments didn't show respect or humility.

Beveridge also said that his confidence in Smith remaining at the Bulldogs from 2025 and beyond has never wavered but admitted he's unsure of which clubs are coming for him.

Bailey Smith during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

"Not really," Beveridge said.

"I think the thing with Baz, and we experienced it with Nauts (Naughton) is clubs come hard and we don't know how hard clubs are coming.

"We haven't got a handle on it. I'm not privy to what those conversations might be."

Despite the outside noise, Beveridge has turned his attention to Sunday's game against Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium and has revealed a pair of stars should return.

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Tom Liberatore are expected to line up during Round 8 after missing the past fortnight.

Ugle-Hagan was pulled from the Round 6 clash against St Kilda as he tended to personal issues and missed the follow-up match with Fremantle.

Beveridge has assured fans that the 22-year-old has returned to full training and is ready to go.

"He should be available for selection," Beveridge said.

"He'll train today, he trained Tuesday so hoping he'll put his name up on the board.

"He wasn't too far away from playing last week but had such an interrupted preparation it was a better idea for him to have another week off.

"He got some momentum in his training... he seems right within himself."

As for Liberatore, who suffered an innocuous fall against the Bombers in Round 6, also missed the following week as he entered concussion protocols.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Tom Liberatore of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFL Round 02 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium on March 24, 2022 In Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

After passing all required tests, the father-son gun was set to rejoin the senior side in WA but felt ill the night before the game and is now ready to go.

"Yeah, we do (expect Liberatore to be available)," Beveridge said.

"After sort of a bit of strange circumstances with 'Tommy', he's fine now. He trained Tuesday so it should be all systems go with him.

"He feels he had a meal with his young boy Oscar and Oscar got sick on Thursday and Tom was okay, but it didn't come to the surface until we were away.

"He said after the game he was okay travelling but throughout the course of Friday night he became ill and couldn't keep much down.

"So we monitored him on Saturday and pulled the pin.

"But he should be fine."