Easton Wood heads a list of Western Bulldogs players pushing for recalls as the club’s AFL injury crisis eases.
Coach Luke Beveridge said Wood (hamstring) would definitely come into the side for Saturday’s big match against Sydney at the SCG.
Jason Johannisen, who suffered a major hamstring tear in round four against Carlton, is also pushing for an immediate return to the senior team.
Tom Boyd (shoulder) and Koby Stevens (abdominal) must convince the Bulldogs they are 100 per cent ready for the AFL, but they are in the selection mix this week.
Beveridge also volunteered forgotten ruckman Will Minson, who has not played a senior game this season, as another potential inclusion for the Swans match.
The coach had previously said Johannisen would have to return through the VFL, but is no longer so sure the speedy defender needs to be eased back.
“The more we think about it, he’s done everything conceivably possible,” Beveridge said.
“He’s a chance to come straight in.”
While Boyd has played games in the VFL in the last few weeks, Beveridge puts him in the same category as Stevens, given their injury history.
“We’re sort of once-bitten a little bit,” Beveridge said of Stevens.
“We’ll need to make sure we’re totally sure with Tommy as well.”
Minson has not played in the senior team since last year’s elimination final loss to Adelaide.
Beveridge said the ruckman had impressed in the VFL and was also showing good signs as a forward.
“As soon as we feel like he deserves a spot in front of someone, we’ll play him,” Beveridge said.
“To his credit, you can always teach an old dog new tricks and he’s learning a few.
“He’ll come in very soon, if it’s not this week.”
Before last weekend’s bye, the Bulldogs lost to Geelong and Beveridge expects their midfield to rally from that match.
“We were comprehensively beaten against the Cats, inside and out,” he said.
“We’ll look to establish an arm wrestle there early in the game against a very experienced and established Sydney midfield.
“At different times, I’ve really applauded the contributions of our midfield, but they hurt about after the Geelong game.
“So they know they’re coming up against a very formidable group again and they’re looking to apply themselves in the best way they can.”