Johnson wary of wounded Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johnson wary of wounded Eagles

By Justin Chadwick 18/04/2009 10:14:21 AM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs skipper Brad Johnson is bracing himself for a West Coast backlash in Sunday's AFL clash at Subiaco Oval.

St Kilda humiliated the Eagles by 97 points last week but Johnson is wary of a wounded West Coast outfit, especially on their home turf.

"I suppose from past history with myself being part of teams that have been beaten quite easily you come out the next week with a resolve to try to turn things around," Johnson said.

"West Coast will come out trying to compete as hard as they can.

"They've always played at home extremely well and with 40-odd thousand screaming fans, certainly in the past they've lifted in response to that.

"It's going to be a competitive, hard-fought game.

"They've got some premiership players still running around in their side so they've got enormous talent and we are not going there taking them lightly at all.

"They come off a loss last week so they'll be extremely desperate to get another win at home.

"Their last performance there was quite outstanding (in round two) against Port Adelaide."

West Coast have been boosted by the return of sweeping defender David Wirrpanda, while Brent Staker and Will Schofield come into the side.

Defender Ryan Davis, midfielder Brad Ebert and forward Ben McKinley were all dropped.

The Bulldogs replaced star midfielder Adam Cooney with Jarrod Harbrow.

West Coast have had two days extra to prepare for the match and Eagles coach John Worsfold hoped that disparity would give his team an advantage.

"We're at home, we've had the extra rest so we'll be fresher and ready to go, so that gives us something," Worsfold said.

"And if the Bulldogs are rated as an overall better squad than ours, then hopefully that closes that gap a little bit."

The Bulldogs enter the round unbeaten after disposing of Fremantle, North Melbourne and Richmond in the opening three rounds but Johnson said the club was keeping expectations under wraps.

"We are only three games in so we understand there's a long way to go in this season," he said.

"We've started well and we want to try to keep that momentum going.

"The side has certainly matured over the years and they are an extremely driven group, right across the board.

"From the midfield, to defence and up forward we are extremely even and I think that helps.

"You look at the better sides in the competition - Geelong and Hawthorn are extremely even across the board, and they've got a couple of stars at either end but with us we are extremely even and that's probably why we are competing so well.

"It's not about one player and all that sort of stuff."

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