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Footscray standouts in contention

Press Conference: McCartney on Suns & inclusions (29/05/14) Ahead of Sunday's match against Fremantle, Western Bulldogs Senior Coach Brendan McCartney speaks to the media to discuss the hitout with the Suns and possible inclusions for the Bulldogs round 11 game against the Dockers.
Shaun Higgins of the Western Bulldogs in action during the 2014 AFL round 07 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on May 03, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Shaun Higgins of the Western Bulldogs in action during the 2014 AFL round 07 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on May 03, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)

Wholesale changes aren’t likely this week Senior Coach Brendan McCartney says, opting for a largely settled lineup to take on Fremantle this Sunday.

The Bulldogs however will require at least one forced change after Clay Smith was sidelined through injury last week,  but McCartney said it will be a difficult decision due to some strong form in the VFL.

INJURY LIST: View the full Western Bulldogs injury list ahead of the round 11 clash against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium.

“There will be a couple of changes… there are some boys in the VFL that are just playing some really good football and deserve an opportunity,” McCartney said.

“We factor in our opposition and we factor in how we want to go about things and place people in those positions and get on with it.”

McCartney said those impressing for the Footscray Bulldogs will have one more opportunity at today’s main training session to press for selection before teams were finalised tonight.

One player who hasn’t missed a beat this season is Shaun Higgins who has been a find as an attacking half-back in the first nine games, with his quality ball use and composure.

The 26-year-old has been working closely with McCartney over the pre-season to add a more even balance to his game and become more intuitive with his defensive actions.

“He’s playing there, he’s spent time there over summer, he invested some time into it during his rehab last year,” McCartney said.

“There’s a need for us to play that creative type across half-back at times – he’s had his defensive moments but he’s also given us some really good attacking play too.”

READ the Western Bulldogs opposition analysis ahead of the Fremantle clash, including key statistics and match ups.

McCartney said Higgins complements the hardened defenders currently in the back six.

“Really good teams complement each other and there’s a respect there and one person’s strengths might actually help another person’s weaknesses,” he said.

“We’ve got some strong defenders down that end of the ground, some dour defenders but we need some ball uses around them too.

“There’s a balance… it’s a prerequisite for every player that you defend when you need to and you attack early when you can.”