Demons get insight from ex-Bulldogs star - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons get insight from ex-Bulldogs star

By Adam Cooper 15/05/2009 07:31:55 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne coach Dean Bailey hopes a decent insight into how the Western Bulldogs use the ball will help his side in Saturday's AFL game at the MCG.

Former Bulldogs star Scott West has proved an invaluable resource this week as the Demons try to work out how best to curb the influence of the Doggies' fleet of skilled midfielders and mobile forwards.

Bailey said West, now a development coach with Melbourne, had provided his new club with an understanding of how Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade would direct his players to move and use the ball.

"It's been more of their ball movement, how Rocket (Eade) likes them to move the footy, so we've highlighted that to our guys this week," Bailey said on Friday.

"When you play a smaller forward line (like the Bulldogs do) you've really got to pressure them through the middle of the ground, you can't give them too much space to work within.

"We've got to try to close them down in the middle of the ground and hopefully get them to miss their targets inside 50.

"They were very good in the third quarter against the Crows."

The Bulldogs' eight-goal burst in the third term against Adelaide last week showed how quickly Eade's side can turn games when the likes of Adam Cooney, Ryan Griffen and Daniel Cross find targets in attack.

That win snapped a three-game losing streak and has the Bulldogs third on the ladder, whereas Melbourne remain anchored at the bottom.

Bailey's side has also been on the end of a Bulldogs blitz in recent times, as they were powerless to stop nine goals being slammed through in the third quarter of the round-two demolition last year.

But Bailey was optimistic his side had come a long way since that 95-point drubbing.

"Last year was a poor performance but a different team and a different attitude, so hopefully we've got a new attitude and a new direction this week," he said.

Melbourne will enter the game having again been beset by injury, as key defender Jared Rivers' ankle injury took the gloss off an encouraging performance in the narrow loss to West Coast.

But Bailey found reason to be cheerful in the return of tough back pocket Matthew Whelan, who is set to play his first game of the season, after recovering from a hip injury.

"We hope it's the start of a long patch where he's going to play consecutive games for us because he adds a bit of experience and he adds that hardness and that real competitive edge," he said.

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