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Four things to watch: Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans

Press Conference | Luke Beveridge (Rd4) Luke Beveridge spoke to the media ahead of round 4 his weekend, where the Dogs will take on the Swans

1. Swan Dive

There’s not a lot of genuine living, breathing rivalries left in football at the moment, but there was a period over the 2015-16 seasons when Bulldogs v Swans clashes were appointment viewing.

The Bulldogs’ incredible R5 2015 win over the Sydney at a soggy SCG was in many eyes the  making of the modern Dogs, and the two sides backed up again in R15 with another four point thriller. Then of course there was October, 2016.

But since then the spark has gone out of the clashes a bit, but with plenty on the line on Saturday, we’re tipping another nail-biter.  Strap yourselves in, Dogs fans.

2. Bonti’s winning week

Marcus Bontempelli was uncharacteristically quiet the last time these two sides met.  That’s if you can call 18 touches and eleven tackles quiet, although we saw last week the kind of impact he can have on a game with even less touches.

Despite playing over 90% of this time forward against the Bombers and collecting just the 16 disposals, you could could aruge that he was the most influential Bulldogs player on the ground, and you can be sure he’ll be keen to have an even bigger impact this weekend.

For what it’s worth, he’s had a good week so far, winning the Trainer’s Meat Raffle on Thursday. 

3. Biggsy’s back

Running half-back and Instagram sensation Shane Biggs has fought his way back into the team after spending the last two weeks with Footscray in the VFL.

The 26-year-old had a busy day in the ‘Scray’s season opener, picking up 25 touches, four marks and three tackles, and will be looking forward to being back in the ones against his old side.

And the fans should be happy too, the Bulldogs are a better side when Biggsy is at this best.

4. Gentleman, start your engines

For all the talk of Big Bud and the renaissance of the full forward, this one will be won and lost in the middle.

The Sydney engine room is full of class and power, with Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannerbery, Luke Parker, Kieran Jack et al., as good as any midfield in the competition, but the Dogs middle men were good last week, very good.

Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae and Luke Dahlhaus all had 30 or more touches and that’s before we mention Toby McLean, who has had a super start to the season, and if Bontempelli wanders in at some point, that’s a formidable group.

Even the neutrals should enjoy this one.  Is it Saturday yet?