It would be hard to argue that the Western Bulldogs suffered from a severe premiership hangover last season, after winning it all in 2016 by coming from seventh on the ladder to shock everyone, perhaps even themselves.
They naturally would like to see a return to those halcyon days of 2016 and those players on the list who were part of that side will need to once again perform at the level that was responsible for earlier successes.
Certain players are key if the Dogs are to experience a resurgence.
Tom Liberatore fell out of form last season, but he has had a promising pre-season ahead of the 2018 Toyota AFL Premiership completion and there is hope that he can lift some of the others who slid last season, including Lachie Hunter, Easton Wood, Luke Dahlhaus, Tory Dickson and others.
Dahlhaus and Hunter are two that most need to return their games to their best possible level.
They have drawn the Greater Western Sydney Giants for their Round 1 game at the UNSW Canberra Oval, so it will be trial by fire from the first bounce. No warming up with sides like the Brisbane Lions or Gold Coast Suns, oh no.
Another that must prove deserving is Marcus Bontempelli, winner of best and fairest for the Bulldogs two years running. He will have to find that extra gear and prove that his status as a budding superstar is no flash in the pan.
Some of the x factors the Dogs will need to step up are Josh Schache, Jackson Trengrove. Tom Boyd has not lived up to his billing yet, even though he was selected with the number two pick in 2015, costing the Dogs picks 25 and 40. Boyd has not turned any heads during JLT Community Series play and may still need some time to become a consistent contributor, but with the Giants lurking, that time may be a high-priced luxury beyond his and the Bulldogs’ means.