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Scott West comeback on hold

11/06/2008 04:28:54 PM Comments (0)

While the Western Bulldogs will welcome Scott West back to the AFL "with open arms", the lack of anxiety about his absence emphasises their improvement.

Coach Rodney Eade said West would not return for a fortnight, meaning he will probably be back after the split round 14.

In the first week of the split round, the Bulldogs will play Port Adelaide in Darwin on June 28 and they would be unlikely to recall their 33-year-old veteran for the long trip north.

West has not played since round six because of a knee injury.

"He seemed to turn the corner on Monday, he's started running now," Eade said.

"He'd be a minimum of two weeks."

Halfway through the season, the Bulldogs are third on nine wins, a loss and a draw.

A feature of this much-improved form has been a noticeable beefing-up in their depth of talent, particularly through the midfield.

This has eased the reliance on West, who has won a club-record seven best-and-fairest awards, to win the clearances.

Eade also pointed out that the Bulldogs are the league's highest-scoring team, but their even spread of forwards means the only player in the top-10 goalkickers is Jason Akermanis, who is 10th.

"For this club to go forward, you need to not rely on one or two players and that's the same with Brad (Johnson) now - we don't rely on Brad to kick goals," Eade said.

"We don't rely on Scott to be a key component of the midfield - but we'll certainly welcome him with open arms when he comes back."

The Bulldogs get forward Robert Murphy back from suspension for Saturday's MCG game against the seventh-placed Brisbane Lions.

Eade is also confident that key defender Brian Lake will be fit after hurting his knee in Sunday's win over St Kilda.

The Lions are another team on the rise this year and Eade said it was important that his side kept beating sides likely to make the finals.

"You need to beat those teams in and around the same position as yourself ... we're in the midst of a fairly solid block of games, including interstate travel," he said.

"We've won all three (interstate games), but we're playing (the teams) who are around-about where we are, so hopefully we can continue that form."

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