Off-season recruit Alex Keath will be unleashed in red, white and blue for the first time on Friday night at Marvel Stadium, as the Western Bulldogs take on North Melbourne in their first 2020 Marsh Community Series match.
The Bulldogs have named a strong 26-player team, which features 17 members of last season’s elimination final side.
As part of the team’s preparations for the season proper, the Bulldogs will reduce this to a 24-player team prior to the first bounce.
Keath, who has overcome off-season surgery for the first official warm-up match, will be joined in the line-up by Aaron Naughton, who has also completed his rehabilitation to be fit to play.
Mitch Wallis has also been named on the interchange, as he returns from a leg injury which sidelined him for the back half of 2019.
Reigning Charles Sutton Medallist Marcus Bontempelli will lead the team for the first time since taking on the captaincy, and he will be joined by fellow State of Origin representatives Jason Johannisen and Jack Macrae .
Yet-to-debut big man Jordon Sweet will lead the ruck division, in the absence of Tim English.
The 22-year-old gets his first opportunity at this level, after developing in the VFL with Footscray last season.
English, key forward Josh Bruce and utility Matt Suckling were all ruled out this week, but are expected to be fit for the Bulldogs’ second Marsh Community Series match in a fortnight
MARSH COMMUNITY SERIES
Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne
Friday 21 February, 7.10pm
B: Alex Keath, Zaine Cordy, Bailey Williams
HB: Hayden Crozier, Jason Johannisen, Caleb Daniel
C: Roarke Smith, Marcus Bontempelli, Lachie Hunter
HF: Pat Lipinski, Josh Schache, Aaron Naughton
F: Tory Dickson, Sam Lloyd, Bailey Dale
R: Jordon Sweet, Josh Dunkley, Jack Macrae
Int: Mitch Wallis, Bailey Smith, Toby McLean, Ed Richards, Ben Cavarra, Callum Porter, Will Hayes, Ryan Gardner
Emer: Lewis Young, Rhylee West, Cody Weightman, Louis Butler