A strong block of uninterrupted training was the catalyst for Bulldogs ruckman Stefan Martin’s return to the senior side for the Preliminary Final.

Martin has endured a frustrating season through injury setbacks, after starting the season in fine form.

His ruck partnership with Tim English was a key reason for the Dogs’ fast start to the campaign, and his return will give the team a timely boost, with a chance to play in the Grand Final at stake.

“In the last couple of weeks he's been able to put back-to-back sessions in, he trained again yesterday and trained strongly, and what you want from your players is just that desire to play in big occasions, and he's expressed that,” coach Luke Beveridge told the media on Friday.


“If we can get any combination going that looks a little bit familiar to the first six rounds that's going to really help us, because Port hasn't seen that yet and it's probably a point of difference going into the game tomorrow night.”

Beveridge and the coaching staff have realistic expectations on Martin’s expected output, given his recent limited game time at the highest level.

“By no means will he be at the peak of his performance powers, so our expectations are to really stabilise that stoppage area and help our group to play it on our terms, which we haven't been able to against Port Adelaide in particular,” coach Luke Beveridge said.

“He will need to manage his game time based on how he's progressing. He'll do his bit for the team-on-team defence and whether he gets caught up in any possession chains it'll just be circumstantial.”

The Bulldogs arrived in South Australia on Friday evening in preparation for the clash at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.