Luke Beveridge admits he's unsure about the AFL premiers' pre-season progress after his depleted side were downed by Brisbane at Etihad Stadium.
Only nine of the Bulldogs' premiership-winning team from last October played on Thursday night as they lost to the Lions by eight points.
Key players Marcus Bontempelli, Matthew Boyd and Travis Cloke were among those who sat out of the game after being named in the squad.
Beveridge said Bontempelli was nearly over a pre-season ankle injury.
Rookie-listed player Roarke Smith probably needs his second knee reconstruction in two years after he was hurt against the Lions.
Also, first-round draftee Tim English could make his debut in round one because fellow ruckmen Jordan Roughead and Tom Campbell are injured.
Roughead is definitely out of action for round one because of hamstring surgery, while Campbell is nursing an ankle injury and Beveridge doubts he'ill be ready in time for the season opener against Collingwood.
The 46-year-old has plenty of experience of what to expect as defending premiers heading into a new season from his time as an assistant coach at Hawthorn.
However, he said there are no comparisons given the vast experience in those successful Hawks squads.
"That base maybe a lot of the Hawthorn players had, we haven't got," he said.
"That's probably what make it even more of an unknown, I suppose - so yeah, watch this space."
Beveridge also conceded his squad are in unfamiliar territory going into a season where they will be viewed as the team to beat.
"There's no great certainty around the way we're tracking," Beveridge said.
"Not having the run into the year we thought they'd have, it's created some undertainty around how we feel going into round one, because it's uncharted waters for us.
"But we feel like once we get to that first round, we should have a lot of players to pick from.
"We're uncertain about where we're at because it's new to us."