Ball magnet Jack Macrae says the Western Bulldogs’ midfield group has embraced a selfless approach to give them the best chance of team success in 2021.
The Bulldogs added Adam Treloar to an already deep on-ball brigade over the off-season – plus experienced ruckman Stefan Martin – and retained premiership player Josh Dunkley.
Led by experienced stars in Macrae, skipper Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore, Lachie Hunter – and with emerging players such as Tim English, Bailey Smith and Pat Lipinski making their mark – the Bulldogs have a fair share of options to call upon.
But how they work together in the same side will be critical to the Bulldogs rising up the ladder this season.
"We're going to have to adapt a bit and be flexible and also a bit selfless at times as well," Macrae said.
"Winning is the ultimate priority and we're all going to have to lean on each other throughout the year.
"If we're all on the same page it's going to work really well.
"We all offer different strengths that really complement each other.
"It worked really well in the past. Back in 2016 it was our model where we would all share the load a bit more and look to play well as a team rather than just individually."
The Bulldogs will be confronted by a big challenge on Friday night at the MCG.
Not just Collingwood, but their superstar ruckman Brodie Grundy – who has collected the three Brownlow votes in the past three meetings between these teams.
Macrae is confident the addition of Martin and the improvement of English will hold the Bulldogs in good stead this time around.
“Stef’s obviously been tremendous since he’s come in, but also Tim’s matured quite a bit as well,” he said.
“It’s been a big mantle for Tim the last couple of years, playing 100 per cent of the ruck.
“Their chemistry has been working really well so far and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes Friday night.
“(Brodie’s) a tremendous player and he’s played very well against us in the past. It’s a big part of the game, as the whole midfield battle will be.”