Wood ascends to Bulldogs AFL captaincy

The Western Bulldogs insist they don’t have a leadership vacuum in Bob Murphy’s absence as they welcome a new face as the club’s skipper.

Club vice-captain Easton Wood’s return to full health means he will toss the coin in place of the missing All-Australian captain.

Form and fitness permitting, he’ll keep the job through season 2016 and possibly further depending on Murphy’s future plans.

Murphy underwent a knee reconstruction on Thursday – along with young midfielder Josh Prudden – and on Friday morning coach Luke Beveridge reported there were no hiccups from the surgery.

“We just need to give Bob some time … to recover and recuperate and then we’ll make decisions (on his future),” Beveridge said.

“I don’t know if his appetite for coaching is that strong.

“But he was in Monday in our leadership meeting and he’s determined to be as involved as possible for the rest of the year.”

Wood, with 89 games in eight seasons, enters the fray without a similar halo as Murphy but with a ringing endorsement from his coach and peers.

Beveridge said a week watching stand-in skipper Dale Morris take the reins gave him time to soak in the news.

“His teammates voted him in as vice-captain and we think he’s an outstanding individual,” Beveridge said.

“I had a chat to him last week. Although he wasn’t going to play he was ready to embrace it.

“We don’t feel like we want for leadership at our footy club.”

Beveridge has made four changes for the visit of Brisbane, with Wood joining Tory Dickson, Tom Campbell and Bailey Dale in the 22.

Injuries have ended Jason Johannisen (hamstring) and Tom Boyd’s (shoulder) first-team run, while Toby McLean and Joel Hamling have been omitted.

Beveridge said Tom Boyd was likely to miss “at least two” weeks with a similar issue to one suffered in pre-season.

“He came back from that and he was really strong so we anticipate in a few weeks time he’ll be ready to resurface,” he said.

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