Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is backing big money recruit Tom Boyd to handle Richmond’s All Australian defender Alex Rance in their AFL clash on Saturday.
Boyd came under scrutiny for his performance in the Dogs’ 10-point win over West Coast to open their season.
But he won praise where it counts with Beveridge saying he’d done his job and felt his pressure allowed others to shine.
The coach said he was tired of questions about the 19-year-old million dollar player’s effectiveness.
“To be honest, the Boydy questions are getting a bit tired,” Beveridge said on Friday.
“Every time I get asked I keep mentioning what we want is a contest from him. If you saw the game, that’s what he gave us.
“Our forward pressure and everything that we achieved in our front half can be attributed a hell of a lot to Tom Boyd.
“He took one contested mark but he created opportunities for his teammates. If we get that again this week, that’s going to be a real positive for us.”
Rance was integral in the Tigers’ round one triumph over Carlton but Beveridge felt Boyd’s size could help the young Bulldog in the MCG encounter.
“That’ll be challenging because Alex is a very good player and it’s another learning opportunity for Tom,” Beveridge said.
“There’s no doubt his teammates will need to help him.
“But he’s a big man, Boydy, and he’s a handful, so Alex will need to be on his game.”
Another big man that the new coach is expecting to perform well is Ayce Cordy, who gets a chance ahead of Jack Redpath.
Beveridge said that the ruckman/forward deserved his opportunity and felt he still had a big future, despite an inconsistent playing history.
“He deserves to come in and I expect him to play well in the ruck and forward and really start to build his 2015,” Beveridge said.
“If you think of the way he’s performing at VFL level and consider that he’s had some issues with his body over the journey, there’s no reason why his career can’t start to blossom.”
Meanwhile Matt McDonough has replaced David Astbury as one of Richmond’s emergency players, with the defender is still recovering from his encounter with a sting-ray last month.