Western Bulldogs tall Jack Redpath is confident the Dogs’ pinch-hitting approach to ruck contests can pay dividends against in-form Adelaide big man Sam Jacobs.
The unheralded former rookie Redpath is currently keeping high-priced recruit Tom Boyd out of the line-up.
But he struggled mightily in tandem with fellow part-time ruckman Jordan Roughead, who stands at 200cm but is more comfortable in defence, against Brisbane’s Stef Martin last week.
Specialist ruckman Will Minson has played just nine games this season and has been unsighted since round 15, making it unlikely Luke Beveridge will waver in his preference for rucks who offer more at ground level.
Jacobs, a traditional ruckman’s size at 202cm, had 52 hitouts in the Crows’ loss to Geelong but Redpath says the Dogs are backing in their system to cope with the increased pressure of a final.
“I think it’s held up (so far) so I can’t see why not,” Redpath said.
“It’s going to be a final and the intensity is going to be up but I think everyone lifts.
“He’s (Jacobs) probably 10cms taller than me, but I’ll just do what I’ve done every week. But I’m not too fussed about that – I’ll just jump in, create a contest and see what happens.
“The ruck’s role is just to create that contest and hopefully they don’t get their hands on the ball too much.”
Minson was among the Bulldogs’ best players in their VFL loss to Box Hill, while fellow ruck options Tom Campbell and Boyd didn’t play due to illness and groin soreness respectively.
Redpath looks to have secured his spot for the finals having played the past 10 games in a row, but Beveridge may have a tough call to make with Roughead reported to have pulled up sore from the loss to the Lions in Brisbane.