A host of injured Western Bulldogs players are pushing their cases for selection in Thursday night’s AFL elimination final against West Coast.
The Dogs held a closed training session at Whitten Oval on Monday with Tom Liberatore (ankle), Jack Macrae (hamstring), Easton Wood (ankle) and Tom Boyd (ankle) all taking part.
“They trained well, so they’ve put their names up for selection and the coaches will make the decisions now,” said veteran defender Dale Morris.
“I’m pretty sure they did everything, it’s hard to keep across everyone that’s out there but everyone looked really strong, which is nice.”
With the expected inclusion of forward Jake Stringer, coach Luke Beveridge could opt to make as many as five changes as he attempts to avoid successive elimination final losses.
“I think we’ve (made multiple changes) a few times during the year unfortunately, with the injuries that we’ve had and we’ve adapted really well,” Morris added.
“The guys that would be coming back in are experienced guys so they know how to prepare and handle themselves coming into games … we’re confident that if they’re right that they’ll slot straight back in.”
Morris agreed his side stands to benefit more than any other from the AFL’s contentious bye round given their well-documented struggles with injury late in the season.
The Dogs face a tough task against the in-form Eagles on their home ground in Perth – the same venue where Beveridge’s side slumped to a 20-point loss against lowly Fremantle in round 23.
The Bulldogs haven’t won at Domain Stadium in their past seven attempts and are facing a potent forward line led by this year’s Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy.
“He is a gun. He’s very hard man to stop (who’s) playing in a very good team,” Morris said of Kennedy.
“(But) it’s not just him, they’ve got some quality forward up there.
“It’s not going to be up to one player to stop him … it’s going to be the whole team to do their best defensively to stop someone like him kicking goals.”