Bulldogs wary of decimated Essendon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs wary of decimated Essendon

By Guy Hand 21/08/2008 06:21:32 PM Comments (0)

The Western Bulldogs expect nothing less than a top-class Essendon performance at Telstra Dome on Friday night despite the Bombers' decimation by injury.

Essendon have only 24 fit players to choose from, with five more added to the injury list, headed by key defender Dustin Fletcher and ruckman David Hille, as they bowed out of the finals race with a loss to Adelaide last weekend.

Jason Laycock, Leroy Jetta and Courtenay Dempsey are also on the sidelines.

The Dogs are hoping to play themselves back into form against the weakened Bombers - having won just one of their past five matches and heading towards September in the most dismal form in memory for a top four side.

"Essendon is decimated, I suppose, but I can guarantee that Essendon will put out 22 players on the field and they'll be having a red-hot go," Bulldogs assistant coach Peter Dean said.

"We do need to win. We would probably go into the game as favourites, but we're going to go into it with an underdog attitude.

"We've got the confidence in our players and we think with just a few minor tweaks and adjustments in their attitude, we can get the results we had earlier in the year."

The Bulldogs are already guaranteed at least third place for the finals, regardless of the result of their two remaining regular season games.

But they have slumped to be unrecognisable from the side which was matching stride with premiers Geelong for the first 15 rounds.

There is good news on the horizon, with veteran star Scott West and youngster Tom Williams likely to see action for the Bulldogs prior to the finals as they battle back from injury.

Despite their form slump, the Dogs will give midfielder West one more week in the reserves before his long-awaited comeback - while Williams is also likely to be one week away after overcoming a shoulder and leg injury which have sidelined him for the past two months.

"Tommy won't play this week, he'll play the following week barring any setbacks," Dean said of Williams.

"He'll be out there next week and we've got our fingers crossed that he'll be well."

The Bulldogs named an unchanged side, while the Bombers were forced to throw youngster Tom Bellchambers into the ruck in what will be his second AFL match, while handing Cale Hooker his debut.

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