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'Contact hours up' but Boyd still a way off

Dinny Navaratnam (AFL Media)  July 15, 2017 2:07 PM

Bevo talks Blues, Young debut and more Watch Senior Coach Luke Beveridge's press conference on Saturday morning, ahead of the Bulldogs' Sunday afternoon clash at the MCG against Carlton.
AFL 2017 Training - Western Bulldogs 110717

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Tom Boyd of the Bulldogs, back after being away from the club with clinical depression, looks upfield during a Western Bulldogs AFL training session at Whitten Oval on July 11, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images/AFL Media)

Western Bulldogs forward Tom Boyd remains some way from returning to the senior team as he deals with clinical depression, coach Luke Beveridge says.

Boyd, 21, took a leave of absence earlier this month to deal with mental health issues but trained last Tuesday as he works his way back into the club. 

Beveridge said at Victoria University Whitten Oval on Saturday he was unsure when he would be available to play. 

"The contact hours are scaling up but he's probably a fair way off now because he's missed a bit of footy and he missed some training," Beveridge said.

"As far as my personal contact, it's mainly when he's here at the club. He needs his space at the moment and time to figure out his journey in life as much as in footy.

"The medium-term forecast around footy is a bit uncertain. I couldn't tell you whether he's going to play at VFL level next week (or) the week after. We've just got to work through Tom's situation with him over the ensuing weeks."

Boyd has played 11 matches this season and booted seven goals, while also spending time in the ruck.

Meanwhile, his namesake Matthew Boyd is out of the side to face Carlton at the MCG on Sunday afternoon with an Achilles complaint. The veteran is also likely to miss next week's clash against Gold Coast.  

"It's just crept up and fired up on him after a heavy deck over in Adelaide," Beveridge said of Boyd's injury.

Easton Wood will miss through suspension while Clay Smith and Fletcher Roberts have been omitted.

Skipper Robert Murphy returns from a hamstring injury while Shane Biggs is back after a calf complaint. Bailey Williams returns to the side and Lewis Young will make his debut.

Young is a key defender who stands 197cm. At 18 years and 207 days, he is the youngest player in the competition. 

"He's got great courage and covers the ground pretty well for a big bloke. Seems to be a very even temperament and he's a great listener and wants to learn and improve really, really quickly," Beveridge said. 

"His self-awareness around his own performance has been unbelievably impressive. To hear the way he talks about what he feels like he needs to improve on and what he feels like he's doing well, he breaks down his game like an experienced player." 

Drafted with pick No.49 last year, he has done plenty of work with assistant coaches Rohan Smith, Jordan Russell and Steve Grace and adds height to the Dogs' backline.