On paper, the 2021 Western Bulldogs’ midfield group is pretty impressive.
Marcus Bontempelli, Bailey Smith, Josh Dunkley, Jack Macrae, Tom Liberatore, Lachie Hunter – the list goes on.
Throw in off-season recruit Adam Treloar and more than a handful of emerging players, and there’s an overwhelming pool of talent to choose from.
Senior coach Luke Beveridge says while traditionally those players have been labelled midfielders, they’ll need to be adaptable in where they play ahead of season 2021.
“Everyone’s putting the midfield label on them, because that’s where they’ve all played historically,” Beveridge told former skipper Bob Murphy for westernbulldogs.com.au.
“Ultimately I just think about the quality of the player, and they’re going to need to adapt.
“They all can’t play inside mid, and some of them will need to play a little bit on the wing, and a little bit up forward, and maybe even half-back at times if we are going to fit them all into the team.
“The pressure will be there for spots, there’s no doubt about that - regardless of their persuasion from a reputational point of view.”
Beveridge praised the pre-season efforts of small forward Laitham Vandermeer and rookie draftee Lachie McNeil, and the development of number one draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.
“Lachie is showing some real promise, and Laitham is looking like he’ll really establish himself as a player that will embed himself in the team,” Beveridge said.
“(Jamarra) seems to have settled in alright – his challenge as a key forward type will be when he is conditioned to play at the level.
“We’ve got to build his engine up to compete with key defenders these days – we’ve got to set him up to succeed.”
The Western Bulldogs will host Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Monday 8 March for the 2021 AAMI Community Series match.
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