The Western Bulldogs are confident their decision to recall four players from injury for Thursday night’s elimination final against West Coast won’t come back to bite them.
The Bulldogs have recalled Tom Liberatore (ankle), Easton Wood (ankle), Jordan Roughead (calf), and Jack Macrae (hamstring) for the AFL clash at Domain Stadium.
And forward Jake Stringer was also included in the side after performing solidly since being dropped to the VFL last month.
Liberatore and Macrae haven’t played since round 19, while Wood and Roughead last featured in round 22.
Bringing back so many players from injury all at once carries risks.
But Bulldogs assistant coach Steven King is confident the gamble will pay off.
“We’re really confident with the rehab work the guys have done,” King said.
“We wouldn’t bring anyone over if we didn’t think they were ready to play.
“The five that are pressing for selection are all quality players. I think they’d make any team better.”
West Coast were dealt a huge blow when speedster Lewis Jetta was ruled out with a calf injury.
He has been replaced in the side by pinch-hitting ruckman Mitch Brown.
West Coast enter the finals in hot form after beating GWS, Hawthorn, and Adelaide in consecutive weeks.
The Eagles made it all the way to last year’s grand final under coach Adam Simpson.
And although West Coast only managed a sixth-placed finish on the ladder this year, skipper Shannon Hurn said the expectations of the group remained high.
“We’ve been with Simmo now for three years,” Hurn said.
“Everyone understands how we’re trying to play, how each other plays, and how to help blokes. That’s what makes a good team.
“You want to make the most of the opportunities because you understand they don’t happen every single year and throughout your whole career.”
The Bulldogs have lost their past seven matches in Perth.
Four of those have come against West Coast at an average losing margin of 84 points.