Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is backing the Bulldogs’ pack mentality to curb the influence of rampant Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield.
Beveridge won’t assign a tagger to run with the prolific Cats midfielder at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night despite his career-best 48-disposal return against North Melbourne last week.
The Dogs haven’t generally been a side that’s opted to tag the opposition’s best onballer and Beveridge sees no reason to change that now.
“When you look at the spread of contributors through our midfield … we’ve established a formidable group who have had the upper hand most weeks and we’ll be looking to do the same,” Beveridge said.
“Patrick’s an exceptional player and he’ll be one of their mids that we’ll look to overcome with our method.
“If we need to make any adjustments throughout the course of the night we will but the plan is to not be in that position.”
And why would Beveridge meddle with a winning formula?
The fourth-placed Bulldogs have impressed on their way to a 9-3 record and are behind the Cats, currently second, on percentage only.
The Bulldogs regained key defender Marcus Adams, who looks a likely opponent for Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins, and recalled midfielder Lin Jong for the tantalising encounter.
Hawkins is back after serving his contentious one-match ban for striking Greater Western Sydney’s Phil Davis, with Darcy Lang omitted.
The Dogs will be trying to snap a run of losses against the Cats, having failed to come away with the points in their past eight attempts – their last win coming in round 21, 2009.
“I try to talk about more recent history, things that the core of our group have been involved in, so we haven’t spoken about that,” Beveridge said.
“It doesn’t really matter to us too much … the one that does is probably when they beat us last year.
“We recognise and understand how good the Cats are … how experienced they are and how they’ve beaten some very good sides this year. Their best is as good as anyone’s so we’ll have to be at our best.”