THE BRISBANE Lions will draw on their pre-season victory over the Western Bulldogs as they try to play spoiler to Robert Murphy's 300th game on Saturday.
Lions coach Chris Fagan spoke on Thursday of a Bulldogs team that wasn't quite firing on all cylinders just yet, but played the same way regardless of personnel.
"We know what they do and it's the perfect game to play after the game against Richmond last week," Fagan said.
The Lions sprung a JLT Community Series surprise last month, defeating a Bulldogs team with nine premiership players by eight points at Etihad Stadium.
Although Fagan said he expected the reigning premier to be at its best, he said the Lions could take something from that pre-season win.
"They play the same way whether they've got their best team in or two-thirds of their team in," he said.
"You learn a lot from playing against their system.
"That's what good clubs do, they play the same way regardless of who's in the team.
"We're assuming we're going to be playing the best Bulldogs outfit in the very best form they can be in.
"They're a great team.
"They're probably not in the form they were in in the finals last year, but on their day, they're capable of anything."
The Lions will be without running defender Tom Cutler (hamstring) and have also been robbed of the return of small forward Allen Christensen (collarbone), who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Fagan said his team had put a lot of work into halting opposition momentum during the week, following a four-goal burst from Richmond on Sunday that blew that game open.
"We're hopeful we'll learn from that experience," he said.
"If you have a look through the competition, a lot of teams have those bursts of goals kicked against them and it's usually some of the younger teams.
"We put a seventh (player) behind the ball and when we did that it was seven points to nine for the rest of the second quarter, but we'd prefer not to put a spare player behind the ball, we'd prefer our players to be able to sense (momentum) after one or two goals.
"I remember going through all this stuff at Hawthorn about five or six years ago as we were striving to become a great team there.
"They're just learning experiences, things you've got to go through to get better as a team."