Western Bulldogs forwards coach Ash Hansen says he’s looking forward to seeing recruit Josh Bruce in action against Port Adelaide in their second Marsh Community Series Match this weekend.
Hansen said Bruce, who joined the Dogs from St Kilda during last year’s trade period, is ready for some game-time following a stint with injury concerns.
“Josh is fit, and he’s recovered from his back spasms, so we’re looking forward to getting him into the team, getting to know his teammates, and getting some match practice under his belt,” Hansen said.
“We’re going to try and field a really strong side – with only two official practice matches, it’s really important we get that chemistry and connection between the guys.”
Hansen said emerging tall Aaron Naughton is also progressing well with his rehab, following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
The 20-year-old is back running, and is scheduled to return to skills training next week.
“We’re really happy with how ‘Naughts’ came out of surgery – we weren’t sure what was going to happen going in,” he said.
“He’s progressing to outside (training) pretty soon, and is on track for round one which is pretty exciting.
“(This year) will be a natural progression for him – you don’t want to put a ceiling on a player for his ability to where he can take his game – but we’re going to support him and understand that he’s only had one year as a forward.
“He’s a young man in a hurry – he wants to get better really quickly, which is reflected in his work rate and how he’s applied himself over the summer, barring a few hiccups with his knee, but where he goes this year will be really exciting.”
The Bulldogs will face Port Adelaide at South Australia’s Bennett Oval, Whyalla on Saturday, March 7 before their season-opener against Collingwood in a fortnight’s time.