The Western Bulldogs were brave in defeat last Friday night, going down to Geelong by 25 points, and with the final month of the home and away season now upon us, there are as always a number of talking points discussed surrounding the Western Bulldogs
A Shock Return On The Cards
The Dogs could be set for some much-needed good fortunes, with suspended forward Stewart Crameri a possible chance to return for the Doggies' finals campaign. Crameri has missed all of 2016 as part of the 'Essendon 34' that have been suspended for the involvement in Essendon's supplements program back in 2012.
But for the possibility to become a reality, the 34 Essendon players must win the appeal at the Swiss Court, which is set to begin in a matter of weeks. It's reported that Crameri is not just in full-training, but is in super-fit condition and could play a huge part in the Dogs' finals campaign if the appeal is successful.
Beveridge Locked In
Western Bulldogs' senior coach Luke Beveridge has signed a contract extension with the club that will see him remain with the club until 2020. Beveridge joined the club at the tail-end of 2014, after the club had sacked Brendan McCartney. At that point, the club was in turmoil, after finishing at the bottom part of the bottom 10 over the last few years, but in Beveridge's first year, the Dogs went from eight wins in 2014, to 14 wins and finals footy in 2015.
The Injury Report
The two major injuries to come out of Friday night's clash with Geelong are of course, the injuries sustained to Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae. The signs are not good for either man, but the Bulldogs remain optimistic they can play a part of their finals run.
Liberatore has undergone surgery to his left ankle after scans revealed ligament damage after he was tackled late in the second quarter on Friday night, whilst Macrae sustained an upper hamstring injury in the third quarter of the same game, with the club optimistic he will miss only a few weeks.
But in some good news for the Doggies, they look set to welcome back experienced heads Dale Morris, Matthew Boyd and Matthew Suckling for Saturday night's game with North Melbourne. All three missed the game against Geelong, with Boyd and Suckling nursing respective achilles injuries, whilst Morris had been nursing a hamstring complaint.
First-year player Kieran Collins injured his shoulder for Footscray on the weekend and looks likely to miss the rest of the year, as will fellow first-year player Bailey Williams, as he is struggling to recover from a knee injury he sustained midway through the season.
The VFL Report
Footscray Bulldogs: 10.13.73
Box Hill Hawks: 10.8.68
The Footscray Bulldogs have returned to the winner's list on Saturday afternoon, after defeating last year's grand finalists in Box Hill in a come-from-behind nail biter at the Whitten Oval.
In blustery conditions, it was the Hawks who made the fast start with the wind, kicking five goals to one behind in the first quarter, but the 'Scray managed to rally in the second term. Led by Nathan Hrovat and Lukas Webb the Dogs kicked five goals of their own, to trail at half time by only 10 points.
But with the 'Scray kicking into the wind again in the third quarter, they remained goal-less, but they worked remarkably hard to keep the Hawks from scoring with the wind, Box Hill still managed three goals for the term and found themselves ahead by 31 points at the final break.
But despite a slow start to the fourth term, the Dogs piled on goals and points – 5.7 for the term, whilst keeping the Hawks to just a solitary point and took the lead late in the game, when Footscray captain Jordan Russell kicked the go-ahead goal, resulting in a five-point win to the home team.
Nathan Hrovat and Lukas Webb were the two most influential players on the ground for Footscray and they could both be in the senior side this weekend given the injuries to both Macrae and Liberatore. Webb had 37 disposals, eight tackles and a goal, whilst Hrovat had 32 disposals, nine marks and two goals. Bailey Dale also was huge for the 'Scray as he had 27 disposals and a goal, and Toby McLean got through his return from injury unscathed, kicking a goal and recording 18 disposals.
On The Chopping Block
With a few players coming back from injury, there may be a few players who are a bit unlucky here. Joel Hamling, Zaine Cordy and Jed Adcock were all brought in because of injury, and may get the chop here for the three that they replaced: Morris, Matthew Boyd and Suckling. Macrae and Liberatore's injuries might just save Adcock for a week, I wouldn't be surprised to see either Hrovat or Webb in for this weekend either. Webb's been fantastic since he was dropped, and Hrovat has been magnificent since returning from injury.
Bulldogs Centre's Inaugural MVP Award
Bulldogs Centre awards two sets of 5-4-3-2-1 votes at the end of every game. These votes are awarded for great performances and efforts and at the end of the season, the player with the most votes will be awarded as Bulldogs Centre's first-ever Most Valuable Player.
Round 19 Votes
10 Votes – Luke Dahlhaus
8 Votes – Tom Boyd
4 Votes – Lachie Hunter
3 Votes – Jack Macrae
3 Votes – Liam Picken
1 Vote – Tom Liberatore
1 Vote – Jason Johannisen
1st: Lachie Hunter – 83 Votes
2nd: Marcus Bontempelli – 81 Votes
3rd: Luke Dahlhaus – 36 Votes
4th: Jack Macrae – 33 Votes
5th: Matthew Boyd – 32 Votes
6th: Koby Stevens – 28 Votes
6th: Caleb Daniel – 28 Votes
8th: Jake Stringer – 27 Votes
9th: Tom Liberatore – 23 Votes
10th: Dale Morris – 22 Votes
10th: Jason Johannisen – 22 Votes
12th: Mitch Wallis – 19 Votes
13th: Matthew Suckling – 18 Votes
14th: Shane Biggs – 17 Votes
15th: Easton Wood – 14 Votes
16th: Marcus Adams – 12 Votes
17th: Liam Picken – 11 Votes
18th: Robert Murphy – 9 Votes
19th: Tom Boyd – 8 Votes
20th: Toby McLean – 6 Votes
21st: Mitch Honeychurch – 3 Votes
21st: Josh Dunkley – 3 Votes
23rd: Fletcher Roberts – 2 Votes
23rd: Clay Smith – 2 Votes