‘Dogs make one late AFL change

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge insists young gun Marcus Bontempelli will play in Sunday’s AFL match against Hawthorn.

But their former captain Matthew Boyd is a late withdrawal from the Launceston game because of soreness.

There was speculation that Bontempelli might drop out of the side because of a calf problem.

Koby Stevens will take Boyd’s place in the side.

“Yeah he (Bontempelli) will play,” Beveridge said on Saturday before the flight to Launceston.

“We just had a couple of boys come out of last week with general soreness so we lightened their week and Bontempelli is on track to play on Sunday.

“If he was in any doubt we wouldn’t play him.

“We thought (Boyd) was going to come up as well, but we made the decision today to be smart about it and not second guess ourselves and forge ahead with Koby in the side.

Hawthorn speedster Bradley Hill was not sighted at the airport, but it is unclear whether he will be another late withdrawal.

All three Hawks emergencies travelled with the team.

One man definitely playing on Sunday is defender Brendan Whitecross.

He is back after his second knee reconstruction.

The two major surgeries meant Whitecross missed out on the 2012 grand final and Hawthorn’s back-to-back premierships.

Underlining how popular Whitecross is at the club, Clarkson made a big deal of his return to the senior side for the first time in two seasons.

“It wasn’t something I wanted to share with him one-on-one,” Clarkson said.

“I wanted 50 or 60 others around our football club, and staff as well, coaches they’ve all shared in the trauma of his injury, so it was a shared moment on Thursday morning.

“We announced it to the whole squad and support staff and there was a fair amount of excitement in the room I might add.”

Sunday will also be notable because Beveridge will coach against Clarkson for the first time.

Beveridge was an assistant at the Hawks for the past three seasons.

He had mixed feelings about whether there might be any inside knowledge he can pass to his new team.

“It can be a disadvantage if I talk too much about it with the players – its important we do focus on ourselves.”

The ‘Dogs have made a great start to the season with two wins, while the Hawks belted Geelong and then had a tight loss to Essendon.

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