‘Dogs will try to put AFL heat on Gibson

The Western Bulldogs will aim to make Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson more accountable after his astonishing AFL match against West Coast.

Gibson was one of the key reasons that the Hawks belted the Eagles in the grand final re-match by 46 points, racking up a career-best 44 disposals.

He also kicked his first goal for Hawthorn and only the third of his career.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said they might bring a taller forward such as Jack Redpath or Tom Campbell into the side for Sunday’s big game at Etihad Stadium.

“He’s such an incredible player and he played a slightly different role (on Sunday),” Beveridge said.

“That’s the beauty of him – he can play on talls and be as courageous in the air as anyone and he can go and play as a high defender, like a Grant Birchall, and accumulate like he did.

“If we go in a bit taller, maybe Josh has to play on one of those boys.”

While the in-form `Dogs might hatch a plan for Gibson, Beveridge has backed his midfield group to curb Sam Mitchell’s influence.

The Hawks star was another huge factor in last Sunday’s win.

Beveridge is resigned to Mitchell having around 30 disposals, but the Bulldogs coach said it is a matter of influencing those possessions and understanding how the Hawks onballer plays.

He also noted his midfielders had done well against strong opposition in their opening wins over Fremantle and St Kilda.

Prominent among those Bulldogs onballers is Lachie Hunter, in stark contrast to a year ago.

Hunter started last season out of the side after he was disciplined for turning up late to a training session during the summer.

He also came under AFL investigation for a betting controversy and was cleared.

But Beveridge revealed on Tuesday that the club has re-contracted Hunter, the son of former Bulldogs star Mark Hunter and Colleen.

“I’m probably not as proud as his parents, but I’m proud of him, his journey from this round last year to now,” Beveridge said.

“He had some battles, some things going on in the background.

“We needed to change a few things in his life, more than anything, and he has.

“He’s a beauty, Lach, and he’s very versatile.”

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