The Western Bulldogs are on alert for a rejuvenated Adam Goodes, but will adopt a no-holds-barred approach as they attempt to end their drought against the Sydney Swans on Saturday.
The rising Victorian club have lost their last six to the Swans and have won just one of their last eight at the SCG over the past 11 years.
However they head to Sydney buoyed by a big win over previously unbeaten Adelaide and widespread praise for their fast and aggressive brand of play.
“There’s no doubt we’ve got a little bit of a spring in our step,” Bulldogs’ first-year head coach Luke Beveridge said on Friday.
“So we go into this game with no holds barred and feel pretty good about ourselves and hopefully that all bodes well for a good performance.”
They will tackle a Sydney side boasting an identical 3-1 record, who will have club games-record holder Goodes back in their ranks after two games in their reserves.
“He’s a star, he’s an ornament to our game and we’ve got to be careful with that,” Beveridge said.
“We can’t put him on too much of a pedestal with our defenders.
“He goes up into the midfield occasionally, all our boys will need to be on alert and be at their highest intensity levels to get the better of him.”
Goodes’s younger brother Brett is one of the Bulldogs emergencies for the game, but Beveridge avoided trying to use family connections to get advance information about the Swans selection intentions.
Sydney forward coach Henry Playfair said it was hard to quantify just how much of a boost the other Swans would get from Goodes playing.
“We’re hoping that they are energised by the challenge of trying to beat the Bulldogs and we’re not relying on Goodesy to come in and provide energy to the rest of the group necessarily, although that would be good and that may be the case for some,” Playfair told AAP.
With exciting rookie Isaac Heeney rested this week, Playfair said Goodes would complement Sydney’s power forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett.
“With Sam Reid playing multiple roles around the ground, we don’t become too tall up forward so I think the mix is about right with Goodesy in there,” Playfair said.