Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge urged Dogs fans to be patient with Tom Boyd after he dropped the high-priced recruit ahead of Sunday’s clash against Collingwood.
The former No.1 draft pick arrived from Greater Western Sydney at the end of last season carrying high expectations along with his seven-year, multi-million dollar deal.
Beveridge is satisfied that Boyd has largely lived up to those expectations but felt the young forward’s development would be enhanced by a spell in the VFL.
“He’s 19 years old, he’s missed one game with a slight medial strain and he’s been enormous for us,” Beveridge said on Saturday.
“So we’re rapt with his progress … if it wasn’t for the price tag no one would be talking about it.
“We’re just looking at the player and the young man. He’s a great asset for our football club and we’re salivating over what sort of player he’ll be in the future.
“With all of our young guys we’re playing a long game and he’ll just continue to improve week to week.”
Just one game separates the Bulldogs in sixth spot and the ninth-placed Magpies going into the clash at Etihad Stadium, which Beveridge agreed was a big game in terms of each club’s finals aspirations.
Will Minson missed last week’s loss to Geelong with a shoulder injury but was unable to force his way back into the side, with Tom Campbell set to lead the ruck against Collingwood duo Brodie Grundy and Jarrod Witts.
“It’s a big challenge … he’s played one game back and we’re backing him in,” Beveridge said. “Tom will put his best foot forward and we believe that’s going to be good enough up against Witts and Grundy.
“It’s going to be a big challenge but we’re backing him all the way.
“Will’s had a little shoulder issue so he didn’t play last week, he was going okay but Tom is going really well at VFL level and it’s his time to shine and his chance to get a run at it.”
Both sides made further changes to the teams named on Thursday, with the Dogs replacing Jordan Roughead with Michael Talia and the Pies bringing in Darcy Moore in place of Paul Seedsman.