Laidley dubs Bulldogs 'most improved' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Laidley dubs Bulldogs 'most improved'

02/04/2009 06:08:50 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne's Dean Laidley is playing down his side's strong AFL record against the Western Bulldogs after what he has seen in the last few months.

Laidley rates the Bulldogs as the most improved side of last year's top four.

The Bulldogs were arguably the best-performed side in round one, kicking 25 goals to brush aside Fremantle at Subiaco by 63 points.

North will play the `Dogs this Sunday at the MCG and have beaten them in their last five matches.

They have not beaten the Kangaroos since 2005, Rodney Eade's first season as Bulldogs coach.

But Laidley was dismissive when asked if that record meant anything.

"I wouldn't have thought so - if you have at all the teams from the top four who made the preliminary finals, and we've watched them reasonably closely over the pre-season and last weekend, I think the Bulldogs have improved the most," he said.

"Just their maturity, their strength around the football, the maturity of their run and carry players - they're a much-improved side and they're going to be thereabouts, that's for sure.

"It's going to be a huge task for us this weekend, given where we've been over the last couple of years ... it's going to be a great test for us, where we are right now."

Eade predictably was not talking up his own side too much, noting that some pundits thought pre-season that the Bulldogs might had lost some bite.

"We had a great start to the year last year and then everybody criticised our last seven weeks," he said.

"Over the pre-season, people were questioning us and had doubts on us.

"So one game changes that, does it? Yeah, I don't know."

Bulldogs defender Lindsay Gilbee said the team had struggled with North's physical game style.

But Laidley noted that if North tried to lock down the Bulldogs this Sunday, they ran the risk of "(chasing) your tail".

"Their shutdown style of play has really gotten to us in the last few years, we like to move the ball along quickly," Gilbee said.

"But they certainly have had the wood over us."

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