AFL Bulldogs skipper backs Scott West - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL Bulldogs skipper backs Scott West

By Sam Lienert 04/06/2008 07:14:14 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs skipper Brad Johnson has backed decorated midfielder Scott West to play on next season, despite the AFL club coping so well without him.

The 33-year-old, seven-time club best and fairest has played just one of the past seven rounds and is expected to miss at least another two games with a nagging knee injury.

Despite missing a player who in past years has been considered virtually indispensable, the `Dogs are flying in third place, with eight wins and a draw from 10 rounds.

West has admitted his age and injury status were likely to prompt questions about his future, but Johnson said there was no doubt the midfielder remained a highly valued player.

"Westy has been and still will be probably the most important player at our footy club," Johnson said.

"Yeah, we've got some fantastic talent coming through, but the way he shows his leadership and the amount he educates the group is enormous.

"Without a doubt he'll be welcomed straight back into the side as soon as he's ready to go."

He expected West - who at 324 games is just 17 short of Chris Grant's club record - to play on in 2009.

"He's got another year left in him easily," Johnson said.

But he said the positive out of West's setback was that young players were able to shoulder the load in his absence.

"Adam Cooney's performance has gone to a new level, Ryan Griffen, Dylan Addison, all the younger players in the side have really started to mature," he said.

Coach Rodney Eade said while it was difficult to determine exactly when West would be ready to return from his bone stress injury, he would definitely still command a place in the side.

"Scott's got a lot to offer and as we head towards the finals I've got no doubt Scott will add something to us," Eade said.

"... Certainly Scott West in form is a vital part of our team."

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