Toby McLean has made a strong case for a senior recall, after a starring in Thursday’s scratch match against the Gold Coast Suns.
The 24-year-old was the Bulldogs’ best in a largely 18-v-18 contest – with a couple of Suns players rotating through the red, white and blue – as the Suns finished 11 points ahead.
“Toby played mostly as an inside midfielder and was really strong around the contest,” Bulldogs’ development manager Jamie Maddocks said.
“He was important taking the ball forward and helping get ground position, but also his ball use going inside-50 was much improved.
“He didn’t play the whole game, we took him out a little bit early (as an AFL emergency), but he was impressive with what he showed.”
A swirling breeze played havoc with goal-kicking throughout the day.
At one point, the Suns had kicked 0.6 – before the Bulldogs had even hit the scoreboard. The Bulldogs had plenty of opportunities around goal but could only manage 4.15, with Sam Lloyd kicking two of those goals in his second run back from injury.
“Lloydy was back to himself – he was really clean by foot, ran smart patterns to get out and helped younger teammates with his experience,” Maddocks said.
“He was strong around the ball, but really smart forward of the ball in an inexperienced forward line.”
In defence, Jackson Trengove and Lewis Young both made their mark against some big Suns.
“Jackson’s been really important for us with his experience and voice to help young players around him set up and play the way we want to play,” Maddocks said.
“He’s been really impressive and he’s doing a really good job back there for us – and helping the likes of Lewy Young.
“Lewy played a really good game, with ‘Brick’ around him. He was really confident in the air, taking intercept marks and going back with the flight.
“His ball use again was pretty clean, so it was another strong outing for Lewy.”
Western Bulldogs 1.3 2.9 3.12 4.15 (39)
Gold Coast Suns 2.6 3.7 6.7 7.8 (50)
Goals: Lloyd 2, Dickson, Butler