Dogs clear AFL trio for grand final

The Western Bulldogs have seen enough on the training track for in-doubt trio Matt Suckling, Dale Morris and Lin Jong to be considered for the AFL grand final.

But Jordan Roughead, who suffered bleeding in the eye in last Saturday’s preliminary final, could yet need medical clearance to take his place in the Bulldogs line-up.

Roughead is likely to be named in the club’s 22 to face Sydney, but assistant coach Joel Corey said consideration will be given to expert opinion before he lines up.

“He’s got to check off with the eye specialist tomorrow but he moved pretty well out there,” Corey said on Thursday.

“The welfare of our players is really important to us and blood in the eye is not a minor thing. It could have complications.

“What (the doctor) says will certainly hold a lot of weight.”

The Bulldogs hosted a rapturous open training session at Whitten Oval on Thursday morning, which was attended by up to 10,000 Bulldogs fans.

Injured captain Bob Murphy was able to take his part in minor drills, delighting the club’s success-starved fans.

Bulldogs coaches will bunker down on Thursday afternoon for their most agonising team selection meeting in 55 years.

Top of the agenda will be whether Suckling (achilles) and Jong (shoulder) return to the side despite missing the preliminary final success over Greater Western Sydney.

Jong showed his fitness with his best afield showing in Footscray’s VFL grand final win.

“Lin performed at a really high level on Sunday. He’s done a lot to come back to come back from injury in a short time. He’s put his foot forward,” Corey said.

Suckling and Morris, who has a mystery complaint, barely trained on Thursday but Corey said the pair enjoyed strong hit-outs earlier in the week.

“We’ve seen enough,” he said.

Corey said the lighter training efforts on Thursday meant nothing.

“(Suckling) trained heavily on Tuesday and has a different program for a few weeks now so I wouldn’t read much into that,” he said.

Dale trained Wednesday and Corey reported “he trained well and feels fine”.

Corey is no stranger to grand final week, playing in four during a decorated career with Geelong.

But he said he was taken aback by the scenes at Whitten Oval on Thursday.

“I can’t say I’ve been involved in such a great turnout for a training session,” he said.

“The supporters really feel like they belong to the football club … and they are a real part.”

Corey rubbished the suggestion that the young playing group was too inexperienced to compete on the sport’s biggest stage.

“This group is unique … but they’re as focused as any group that I’ve been involved with,” he said.

“They’re looking forward to Saturday.”

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