Western Bulldogs key defender Marcus Adams has undergone surgery for a fractured finger, further depleting the best-performed backline this AFL season.
While the Bulldogs do not expect the 22-year-old to be out of action for long, his absence is a blow ahead of Sunday’s match against Melbourne at the MCG.
Adelaide key forward Josh Jenkins kicked a career-best eight goals last Saturday night against the Bulldogs, while Crows captain Taylor Walker also looked threatening.
Now the Bulldogs will have to contend with star Demons forward Jesse Hogan.
“He’s an imposing young forward, Jesse,” Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
“As you saw with the Crows’ big forwards, we didn’t manage them too well last week.
“Whether it’s Jesse, Taylor Walker or Josh Jenkins, it won’t get any easier.
“So whoever has him at any point in time, they’re going to need help in the air – which we’ve been okay at.
“It will be more a communal effort.”
The Bulldogs’ defence is already without captain Bob Murphy for the rest of the season with a knee reconstruction.
Jason Johannisen, who started the season so well, also is recovering from a serious hamstring injury and Matt Suckling (ankle) is another defender on the sidelines.
Beveridge said they would most likely replace Adams with another young defender, nominating Zaine Cordy, Bailey Williams, Kieran Collins and Joel Hamling as the candidates.
While injuries have been an issue, the `Dogs defence has conceded the least number of points after seven rounds.
They were also able to shut down dangerous Crows small forwards Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron, which proved crucial in the Bulldogs’ 15-point win.
“I have been really impressed with the way the boys have adapted and tried to stick to a system they know,” Beveridge said.
At the other end of the ground, the Bulldogs coach rejected a suggestion from retired Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd they should chase Collingwood key forward Travis Cloke.
“We’re pretty happy with our key forward stocks … Trav’s not really on our radar,” Beveridge said.