‘Dogs happy to have Stevens back in AFL

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge hopes better luck flows Koby Stevens’ way this AFL season after showing promising signs in his return to senior football.

The midfielder starred in his side’s cruisy 31-point win over Greater Western Sydney in Thursday’s NAB Challenge match, with 29 possessions, five marks and a goal.

It was his first game at that level since suffering a stress fracture in his foot and bruised lung in round 15 last year.

“He was impressive,” said Beveridge.

“We missed him when he went out of the side last year.

“He was playing probably the best footy of his career and we’re happy to have him back if he can have a bit of good fortune with his body.”

Beveridge said Stevens, 24, had a pretty rounded game and was good both in the air and at ground level.

“He’s quite versatile,” he added.

“He adds to our mix and our ability to adapt during games.

“Hopefully we have some good fortune with him and he can string (some games) together.”

The coach was also pleased with Jake Stringer, who kicked three goals, debutants Kieran Collins and Marcus Adams, as well as new recruit Matt Suckling.

Former Hawthorn premiership defender Suckling, who’s also had his fair share of bad luck with injury, was a key contributor with 17 possessions and a goal.

“He’s very very good,” said Beveridge.

“You saw what he’s going to offer us.

“He ran hard, he’s quick, he used his leg and he’s a great acquisition for us.

“I’m really happy with his first-up performance for the club.”

The Bulldogs play Melbourne and Collingwood in their next two NAB matches, ahead of a round-one clash with Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on March 27.

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