Western Bulldogs forward Tom Boyd is set to return from a shoulder injury in the VFL this weekend but coach Luke Beveridge won’t rush his high-priced recruit back into the AFL side.
Boyd hasn’t played since injuring a shoulder against Carlton in round four but has completed an extensive strengthening program on the troublesome joint.
“It’s all about match fitness … he’s had a significant period out now, so it might take him one or two weeks or it might take him a bit longer to really find (fitness),” Beveridge said on Tuesday.
“As soon as he’s up and about, then we’ll consider him.
“It could be one week … it just depends on whether our attrition rate stays at a good level then we won’t need him until he’s cherry ripe.”
A fit and firing Boyd will be a welcome prospect for Beveridge, whose side have hit a rough patch in attack.
The Dogs managed 73 points in their round-nine loss to Greater Western Sydney and the coach admitted his team dodged a bullet when their 74-point total was enough last week to edge past injury-ravaged Collingwood.
“It’s one of those things that can fluctuate,” Beveridge said of the Dogs’ balance between attack and defence.
“You can get it to a point where you feel good about yourselves … but that can go in a week. Some of that’s definitely to do with the opposition and their pressure.
“Hopefully, we’ll be better on Sunday.”
The sixth-placed Bulldogs host West Coast, sitting fifth, at Etihad Stadium this weekend in a tantalising match-up between the top-four hopefuls.
Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy kicked seven goals when the teams met in round 21 last season and it won’t be left to just one Bulldogs defender to make sure there’s no repeat performance.
“It will probably be a multiple-player approach there … our back end help each other out quite a bit,” the coach said.
“And they’ll need to because he’s a strong contested mark, probably the best in the competition, and whoever stands him at different times will need support.”