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Which way will Bevo go?

May 17, 2017 3:23 PM

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

Luke Beveridge and his match committee have some welcome selection headaches on their hands this week with a host of key players available for selection ahead of Friday night’s trip to Geelong to face the Cats.

But how much preparation is enough preparation will be a question the Bulldogs coach will be asking himself this week.

Dale Morris, Tory Dickson, Travis Cloke and ruckman Jordan Roughead are all set to return if they get through training this week, although none have played senior football within the last month.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Beveridge said there was always a trade-off when bringing players in after a long lay-off.  

“The boys coming back; have they got the match fitness, reacclimatising to the level, especially players who have been out for quite a while, like Dale (Morris), he said.

“So we need to make studious and informed decisions around that to make sure we go in fit and healthy and ready to be our best.”

But recent history suggests Beveridge needn’t worry, with returning Bulldogs historically performing well in their first game back from injury. Jack Redpath’s performance in Perth last weekend immediately comes to mind.  

The big forward kicked three goals in his first appearance at senior level since late last season, after helping himself to a bag of six in the VFL the previous week.

Going back to last season, Tom Liberatore was among the Dogs best in the Elimination Final after missing a month with an ankle injury, and Lin Jong won the Norm Goss Medal for best afield in the 2016 VFL Grand Final two weeks after fracturing his collarbone.

And when the Dogs last took on the Cats in Geelong, Luke Dahlhaus was a standout in his first game back from a medial ligament injury six weeks previous.

“It’s a big positive and you put that down to quite a few things, Beveridge said of his player’ ability to perform after a stint on the sidelines.

“Probably the two most important things are the player and their willingness to [focus] their attention in their rebab program and conditioning.

“And the second one is our staff.  The conditioning staff; Nick Stone, Shane O’Sullivan, Chris Bell, Matty Inness, Calvin Philp… there’s so many guys and girls who contribute to that.

“They really support them in their comeback, so that’s a concerted effort by everyone, but in particular the players.”

The Bulldogs face Geelong at Simonds Stadium at 7:50pm on Friday night.