Dogs set to go in unchanged

March 28, 2019 3:00 pm in by
Can the Western Bulldogs continue their winning start to the 2019 season? (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is expected to follow up the club’s impressive round-one win over Sydney by naming his first unchanged side since their 2016 AFL grand final triumph.

The sole question mark for Thursday’s team naming is Matt Suckling, who suffered an ankle injury on a slice of dodgy Marvel Stadium pitch on Saturday.

The Bulldogs will put the rebounding defender through his paces on Thursday but expect him to come up for the clash with his old side Hawthorn at the MCG.

Article continues after this ad

“We think he’ll be okay,” Beveridge said.

“We’ve been discussing whether Piglet, whether Suckers comes up or not, there may be an adjustment if we need to.

“When the side comes out this afternoon I imagine Matt will be in it and we’ll give him a little bit of time if he’s a little bit ginger.

“He settled down pretty quickly and will train. We expect him to play on Sunday.”

The Bulldogs’ extraordinary streak of unsettled sides has been one cause of their inconsistency since hoisting the 2016 premiership cup.

Article continues after this ad

Since then, they’ve been one of the most rotated AFL sides, averaging more than 2.5 changes per week – many of which due to injuries.

And if it’s been a long time since the Bulldogs went in unchanged, they haven’t returned to the MCG often either.

The Bulldogs haven’t played Hawthorn at the home of football since knocking the three-time reigning premiers out of the finals in 2016, with just four MCG appearances in total since winning the grand final.

Most of the Dogs – with the exception of ex-Hawks Suckling and Taylor Duryea – have just single-digit appearances at the MCG, with Tim English and Bailey Smith to make their stadium debuts.

Beveridge’s advice to his newbies would be to relish the occasion.

Article continues after this ad

“It can’t be something that you tiptoe into with any trepidation. You’ve got to enjoy the Colosseum and the bigger crowd that can turn up,” he said.

Against Sydney, the Bulldogs were sharp and ferocious, winning the clearances and the contested ball to run out 17-point winners.

Beveridge said the mood at Whitten Oval was bright, but there’d be plenty of work to do against another impressive round-one victor in Hawthorn.

“You’d imagine they’re really buoyant and pretty pleased with themselves. Albeit we faded. Sydney really came at us,” he said.

“There’s something to address this week in terms of playing four quarters. But yeah, there’s some really encouraging signs.”

Article continues after this ad

© AAP 2019


Keep up to date

Sign up for our newsletter