'Dogs keeping a lid on great AFL start - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Dogs keeping a lid on great AFL start

16/04/2008 05:19:54 PM Comments (0)

A win against Richmond on Sunday would give the Western Bulldogs their best start to a VFL/AFL season in 62 years.

The Bulldogs are undefeated after four matches this year, along with reigning premiers Geelong and the much-hyped Hawthorn.

Two years ago, the Dogs' win-loss ledger read 4-0 but in 1946, the then Footscray went 9-0 before going on to lose in the semi-final to Melbourne.

Coach Rodney Eade said the team was not getting carried away with their great early season form and could understand why the club was not being considered a premiership threat.

"The jury's still out, we haven't proved anything yet," Eade said.

"Geelong have and Hawthorn made the finals last year and have a good young squad.

"We've got a lot of work to do, a lot of improvement left in this squad but whether people are talking about us or not talking about us doesn't worry us too much."

Eade said the great start has meant the players have gained confidence and set a good foundation for the remainder of the year.

He also said the pressure was now off the club from making a last-ditch run in the season to make the finals.

On the injury front, veteran Jason Akermanis sent a scare through the `Dogs camp, appearing to injure his thigh at training.

Eade dismissed concerns over his fitness for Sunday's clash with the Tigers but he revealed captain Brad Johnson has been playing injured and will be only 80-90 per cent fit for the game.

"After the Adelaide game (round one) he got a bit of a hip complaint which is affecting his groin a bit and he got a corked (thigh) in another game so probably in last three weeks he's battled to get to the line (because) we had six-day breaks," Eade said.

"It's probably lucky we got a nine-day break this week, probably if (we were playing) Friday he wouldn't have played, but we're fairly confident he'll be able to play this weekend.

"He certainly won't be 100 per cent.

"I think you can see his performance in the last few weeks and it's probably surprising he made the state squad to be honest."

Eade said Scott West (knee) is still another week away.

Eade said the Dogs have a healthy respect for the Tigers' ability.

"I think the Tigers have got a good squad," Eade said.

"The two games they've lost have been to top four teams from last year so I think people have jumped on them too quickly so I certainly think they'll be a tough opposition on the weekend.

"They've got really good talent in the forward line who can kick goals and their youngsters through the midfield and down back are starting to get some good pace."

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