Easton Wood has a simple solution to the imposing prospect of trying to fill Bob Murphy’s boots as Western Bulldogs captain.
Put simply: don’t.
It’s an approach that is serving the defender well as he and the Bulldogs try to build on their strong AFL start.
Murphy’s season-ending knee reconstruction after round three could have been disastrous, but the Bulldogs will take fourth place on the ladder and a 5-2 record into their big clash with Melbourne on Sunday at the MCG.
“I couldn’t agree more, that they couldn’t be filled,” Wood told AAP.
“It’s not actually my job to fill them.
“Bob said to me, it’s my job to be myself and if you can lead, you can only do that by being genuine.
“I couldn’t have had better advice.”
Wood was made a vice-captain for this season and leadership obviously suits him.
He has impressed since filling in as skipper, saying it is a huge honour.
Wood also noted it helps that Murphy is such an influential figure at the club, regardless of his season-ending injury.
“During the week, he’s still the skipper, he’s still the main man,” Wood said.
“He’s such a beacon, guiding us, where we’re going.
“We look to him to align us.”
Likewise, the Bulldogs defence continues to impress despite losing Murphy, Jason Johannisen, Matt Suckling and now Marcus Adams to injury.
“There hasn’t been a specific reorganisation,” Wood said of losing fellow defenders.
“The strength of our team has the ability of guys playing in the VFL to come in and just fill that role.
“Guys have been playing that role in VFL, come in and step up.
“It’s our testament to our system – we’re not reliant on one player.”
Still, the tight win over Adelaide was a mixed bag for the Bulldogs backs.
Adelaide star Eddie Betts was kept scoreless, But Crows key forward Josh Jenkins kicked a career-best eight goals.
It’s an ominous sign given the Demons boast Jesse Hogan, another imposing forward who can take a big mark.
Wood said he was surprised after the Crows match that Jenkins had been so prolific.
“Someone kicking eight, we probably should be able to stop that – we don’t want that to happen every week.”