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The Dangerwood question

May 17, 2017 3:08 PM

Beveridge previews Cats clash Luke Beveridge spoke to the media ahead of Friday night's round nine match against Geelong

The dark arts of football, the tagger, has returned to AFL grounds this season, and is again having an impact in shutting down some of the League’s prime movers.

It’s not a tactic the Dogs deploy often, but as Luke Beveridge prepares for Friday night’s blockbuster at the Cattery, it’ll at least be on the whiteboard as an option.

Bulldogs fans will remember Round 19 last season when Beveridge sent Tom Liberatore to Patrick Dangerfield, and Jack Macrae to Cats captain Joel Selwood in a tactic that almost swung the match, if not for injuries to the Dogs’ pair.

Whatever Liberatore’s instructions were on the night, he performed more than just a blanketing role, pocketing 17 disposals in one half of football before injuring his ankle.

But perhaps more importantly, in the 15 minutes he spent on Dangerfield, he held the eventual Brownlow Medallist to just three touches. 

Indeed, In Champion Data stats cited in the Herald Sun this week, Dangerfield has faced a direct opponent for at least 15 minutes on 237 occasions across his career and none had performed as well as Liberatore did in that stretch.

It was a herculean performance.

Similarly, the Macrae v Selwood battle; where the Geelong skipper was held to five touches in 35 minutes of football before Macrae succumbed to a late game hamstring injury and the Cats kicked away to 25-point win.

But match-ups on Friday night are one of many talking points in what is shaping as a crucial contest for both sides.

With the Cats staring down the barrel of four straight losses, and the Dogs a chance to drop out of the top eight for the first time since Round 12, 2015, there’s plenty at stake.