Hope For The Dogs?

May 29, 2006

Most Bulldogs fans are understandably feeling a little down at the moment. In the minds of most fans, Robert Murphy’s knee injury represents the end of hope for the Western Bulldogs’ forward line. However, consider the tall timber we have playing at Werribee, or out due to short-term injury:

  • Will Minson
  • Travis Baird
  • Cam Wight
  • Tom Davidson
  • Kieran McGuiness

Travis Baird is, by all accounts, quite a talented forward option with strong marking ability. He was a chance for selection against Port Adelaide before he injured his shoulder, and probably would’ve been selected ahead of Kieran McGuiness in Sydney.

I think Baird will be making his debut for the Dogs very shortly, almost as a direct replacement for Bob Murphy. He’ll get the opposition’s second best defender (assuming Grant’s playing forward), who will probably be able to keep Travis quiet. At best, he’ll be able to create a few spillages to the advantage of our multitude of talented, small, creative types — Johnno, Robbo, Cooney, and so on. The important thing is that Travis is keeping the defender from manning someone else.

Will’s return will not only be a huge boost for our ruck department, but also our forward line. He has history playing forward in the SANFL, and Eade has been working with him to improve that part of his game.

When Minson isn’t rucking, I imagine he’ll be ‘rested’ deep in the square, taking another tall opposition defender, doing his best to create opportunities for those small players.

With the opposition’s best two or three defenders on those players, the small, quick, leading forwards suddenly have a chance in hell of getting their hands on the ball and perhaps kicking a winning score.

Let’s take a look at what lies ahead for the Dogs:

  • Hawthorn at Telstra Dome
  • Fremantle at Telstra Dome
  • Brisbane at the Gabba
  • West Coast at Subiaco
  • North Melbourne at the MCG
  • Carlton at Telstra Dome
  • Geelong at Telstra Dome
  • Melbourne at the MCG
  • Richmond at the MCG
  • Adelaide at the MCG
  • St. Kilda at the Telstra Dome
  • Essendon at the Telstra Dome

Looking through that list, there are at least five games that are very winnable — Hawthorn, Fremantle, North Melbourne, Carlton and Essendon. After last year, we’ll play Brisbane at the Gabba with confidence. We’re a chance against Geelong (especially if their horrible form continues), as we are in the games against Richmond and St. Kilda. The only game on that list I’d put a black line through is West Coast at Subiaco.

Our last eight are all in Melbourne, so travelling won’t be an issue as we (hopefully) storm into the finals.

To make the finals comfortably, we need a total of twelve wins. We already have five, and I’ve pencilled in another five. We’ve only got two more games against any of the current top four sides. All we need to do is pull of an ‘upset’ in two of the remaining seven matches, and we’ll be in the finals. In such an even season, it’s possible that 11 wins will be good enough, too.

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2 Responses to “Hope For The Dogs?”

  1. neilmoog said

    All good points Craggles, but being the ultimate pessimist, I don’t think we’ll make the finals. It’s a great opportunity to blood some fresh punks though, and maybe Rocket will give Davo a go soon too.
    I guess we have to look at this year as another “live and learn” year, and hopefully we’ll give it a crack next year.

  2. […] Since the last time I thought about the progress of the Dogs' season (which was just after our round nine loss to Collingwood in which we lost Bob Murphy to the Dogs' knee curse), things have gone a lot better than I had imagined. We've racked up wins against Hawthorn, Fremantle and Brisbane, despite Grant being our only regular tall option up forward. The wins weren't always convincing, but we've shown enough to score the four points, which is all that matters in the end. […]

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