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Naughton cleared of serious injury, as Bulldogs brace for Perth quarantine

“It’s the mental toll of the uncertainty of (not) knowing what comes next. In many respects, I feel lucky with our group that we are performing at a high level on field so there is that motivation and focus to keep us on track and to give the guys a real reason and justification to keep going at every step,” Bains said on SEN.

“You talk to colleagues at other clubs that might not be performing as well or having other challenges and that toll is starting to grow larger.”

The Bulldogs will face North Melbourne in round 16 but whether it remains at Marvel Stadium has yet to be confirmed.

A masked Marcus Bontempelli leads the Bulldogs off the ground after the loss to the Cats.

A masked Marcus Bontempelli leads the Bulldogs off the ground after the loss to the Cats.Credit:Getty Images

Beveridge said that distraction made their performance against the Cats even more meritorious as they held the lead until Gary Rohan kicked the match-winning goal after the siren, consigning the Bulldogs to only their third defeat of the season.

“There is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment and for them to turn up and put some of the peripheral things out of their head and just focus on the challenge of playing the Cats, at their home base, and to get so close, we were pretty grateful for what they did,” Beveridge said.

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He said that despite the disappointment the team would take heart from its ability to match the Cats on their home ground where they have not won for 18 years.

“You guys all say that the Cats will be a contender or one of the better teams, so ultimately to have this experience and understand that all of these games are generally going to be tight … to learn from the possibilities and grow from them is the way we’re looking at it and with the optimism that next time we might get them,” Beveridge said.

While Friday night’s win improved Geelong’s record to 10-3, midfielder Mitch Duncan will have scans on his knee on Sunday after being subbed out of the game in the first quarter but the Cats fear it may force him to spend a significant chunk of time on the sidelines.

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