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New Dogs learning old defensive tricks

Fans gather for open training The pack has gathered to show their support during open training in Mooloolaba

The Western Bulldogs are well equipped to cover the hole left by retired club greats Robert Murphy and Matthew Boyd, says key defender Marcus Adams.

While the duo had been important cogs in the Bulldog machine with their playmaking ways across half-back, they were also highly regarded for their leadership in guiding the AFL's sixth youngest list.

Adams, who is fully recovered from a foot injury that prematurely ended his 2017 season, believes a communal approach leadership will assist new skipper Easton Wood and vice-captain Marcus Bontempelli.

In a new-look leadership group, Lachie Hunter, Jason Johannisen and Jack Redpath have been selected for the first time while ruckman Jordan Roughead has been voted back in. 

"(Murphy and Boyd) offered the most amazing leadership but I think in their absence guys have stepped up and everyone has matured as a group," Adams told

"The guys that come into the leadership have been really good but I think everyone has taken ownership.

Murphy and Boyd were renowned for their adherence to coach Luke Beveridge's attacking mantra with their ability to routinely turn defence into a forward foray. 

While he concedes distinguished duo's on-field contributions will be missed, Adams is excited by the replenishment of the club's running defender stocks.

Former Docker Hayden Crozier has been earmarked for a across half-back with his sound decision making and foot skills vital assets in the role.

Draftees Ed Richards and Aaron Naughton have made a good first impression on Adams in their first few months at the Kennel.

Richards is a running defender in the mould of Murphy, while Naughton is a versatile tall defender who has impressed with his competiveness and ability to match it with more seasoned teammates in pre-season skirmishes.

Jackson Trengove will add much-needed experience and height after the Dogs secured the 27-year-old in a trade from Port Adelaide.

"As far as on-field, Hayden Crozier has arrived and young Ed Richards looks like a really good player," Adams said. 

'I don't want to put any pressure on a young player coming in but Ed looks like he has really good skills and a great footy brain.

"Aaron Naughton is another ripping young fella, so the depth in the backline is phenomenal.

"I think we should be able to manage (Murphy and Boyd's) loss as a (defensive) group pretty well."

The Dogs will get the chance to trial it's new-look backline in the JLT Community Series when it hosts Hawthorn at Ballarat's Mars Stadium on March 3 before heading to Moe to face Collingwood on March 10.