They'd won five of their past six but Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says Wednesday's AFL mauling by Richmond shows his team is a long way off the pace.
The Bulldogs were blown away by a rampant and impressive Tigers at Metricon Stadium as the reigning premiers kicked 10 goals in the first half before easing to a 41-point win.
It's the Bulldogs' fourth defeat of the season, all of which have been by big margins.
Beveridge says upcoming matches against table-topping Port Adelaide, second-placed Brisbane and a desperate Adelaide over the next fortnight loom as season-defining.
"If you don't get some runs on the board with some wins in this middle part, as we move into the back end then you'll be back in the mire pretty quickly," Beveridge said.
"I don't think we're any different than anyone else.
"Yes. When you look at the teams that we're playing, they're pretty well performed.
"Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Adelaide are going to win one at some point. They were a lot better last week against the Bombers.
"We haven't necessarily been braining them, we've just been finding a way to win ... there is no significant chemistry in our side at the moment, which, obviously we're searching for."
That search for a winning formula will include rotating his squad through a hectic period.
There will be at least one forced change after Matt Suckling injured a hamstring in the opening quarter against the Tigers.
Beveridge made three changes from his team which beat Gold Coast last time out, including the late inclusion of Jackson Trengove for first-year player Cody Weightman (managed).
He said more changes were likely for Monday's match against the Power in Adelaide.
"The fatigue of the year will set in pretty quickly so we need to spread that load and we didn't spread it well enough tonight (Wednesday) so we'll be looking to pick a 22 that play Port Adelaide that are really ready to spread the load and share the responsibilities."