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Western Bulldogs Header Branding

Lower reaches 50

Lower the leader BulldogsTV caught up with Nick Lower this week and he filled us in how his pre-season turned out, adapting to the Bulldog way and becoming a role model.
Nick Lower of the Bulldogs in action during the 2013 NAB Cup round 01, week 01 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Nick Lower of the Bulldogs in action during the 2013 NAB Cup round 01, week 01 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
There was a period of time where I thought I may never see another game of AFL, so to be in the situation I am now is fantastic and I owe a lot to the Club and I really hope I pay them back.
Nick Lower
In November last year, the footballing future of Nick Lower looked uncertain, but a lifeline from the Western Bulldogs has the reinvigorated 25-year-old poised to play his 50th career game on Saturday.

As Lower prepares to play his first milestone game since his 2006 AFL debut for Port Adelaide, the midfielder is prepared to do whatever it takes to repay the faith to his new Club.

“Over my journey I have learnt a lot and obviously there have been some highs and some lows but I’m really thankful to get there,” Lower said.

“There was a period of time where I thought I may never see another game of AFL, so to be in the situation I am now is fantastic and I owe a lot to the Club and I really hope I pay them back.

“But the bigger picture of things is there’s a big game to be won on the weekend and I am really looking forward to the challenge.”

Lower’s close relationship with Bulldogs’ List Manager Jason McCartney helped the ex-Fremantle recruit leave Western Australia in favour of the Whitten Oval - and ultimately secure his short term future at the Dogs.

“I am very happy I made this decision, having a twin brother living in Melbourne obviously added to the decision making process,” he said.

“I had a great relationship with Jason McCartney and after speaking with him and getting the opportunity to get in front of [Senior Coach Brendan McCartney] and meet the boys, I was pretty certain that coming to the Dogs was the right thing to do.”

Just as confident in his decision six months later, the 25-year-old has not missed a senior game and has stopped a number of quality opponents in the process.

His natural aptitude playing a run with role has seen the defensive midfielder beat a number of the league’s best players this season.
“I feel really comfortable in the midfield and now that I’m here playing a the run with role... I’m really excited by it and every week throws up a new big challenge,” he said.

“It’s a really steep learning curve but I think it is one of those things that you learn on the run.

“Fortunately enough I’ve got a lot of wise heads around me to bounce ideas off and I really look forward to the challenge every week.”

Lower has been drawing upon the first class knowledge of Bulldog great Tony Liberatore and ex-Geelong premiership player Cameron Ling in how to best approach his new responsibility - both physically and mentally.

“Concentration is probably the key to the role, it seems silly to say that I just need to concentrate to play well but at times it’s difficult,” he said.

“There’s a lot that goes on, on a footy field and while I have a role, there’s also a team aspect to it all and at times you have to come off your opponent and do what’s best for the team.

Refusing to shy away from the physical component to being a tagger, Lower said it comes with the territory of playing on the opposition’s best players.

“That’s a side of the game I’ve always enjoyed, growing up with a twin brother it wasn’t easy getting the footy in the backyard, you had to wear a couple of hits,” he said.

“It’s part of the game. Obviously when you are trying to negate their best player they are going to  go out of their way to help him out, as we hope we do for Ryan Griffen and Adam  Cooney and the like.”

Fellow midfielder Liam Picken has also been valuable port of call for Lower, as he adjusts to the intricacies of the new position.

“Picken has been fantastic for me as well, a lot of the guys I have played on, he’s done jobs on as well and done them really well - he’s one of the people I ask for advice on opposition players,” he said.

“He’s one of those guys that when the game gets hard - and there are those moments that my opposition possibly gets a couple of touches – he’s one of the first to pat me on the back and tell me to keep my chin up, which is really great.”

Unwilling to underestimate this week’s opponent, the Gold Coast Suns, Lower said the clash is a great opportunity for the Bulldogs to compare their progress with a side made up of a similar level of experience.

“It’s going to be a fantastic game, they had a great win over Melbourne and a lot of it gets swept under the rug of how well they played,” he said.  

“It will be a good challenge for our young boys to go up against some players of similar age.

“We will go up there with a lot of confidence but at the same time, we know what they are capable of.”

Readying himself for the ultimate task of following Gary Ablett Jr on Saturday, Lower said his main focus is to restrict the quality of the Brownlow medallist’s touches.

“The things he is capable of doing are just amazing… some people suggest that he is untaggable and I think he has shown that he almost is in some games,” he said.