Bulldogs out to get jump on Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs out to get jump on Cats

By Sam Lienert 18/08/2009 08:07:16 PM Comments (0)

It is the slow start rather than the heartbreaking finish Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade wants to correct from his side's last meeting with Geelong.

The Dogs and Cats meet at Etihad Stadium on Friday night for the first time since Bulldogs skipper Brad Johnson's after-the-siren miss left his side two points short in round nine.

The Bulldogs are driven by the need to win to shore up a top four spot and ensure they hit the finals in form rather than a desire to make up for that near miss.

But one thing that does stick in Eade's memory from that meeting is the Cats' storming start, when they kicked six of the first eight goals to open up a 26-point lead during the first term.

"The pleasing thing about that night was we kept persevering, we kept persisting and chances were able to come our way," Eade said.

"(But) we've got to look at the start as well, I think they got a good start, which in certain games we've let teams get away from us, so that's an area we need to really focus on the weekend."

Poor first quarters have proved the `Dogs' downfall too often this season.

In the 10 matches where they have led or matched the opposition at quarter time they have gone on to win.

But they are 3-7 when trailing at the first change.

The Geelong loss is not the only time they have fallen just short chasing down a big early deficit.

Their one-point loss to Collingwood in round 15 and five-point defeat to West Coast in round 19 are more recent examples of their failure to clinch a result from big comebacks.

The Bulldogs - who need to win at least one of the Cats clash or their final-round meeting with Collingwood to sew up a double chance - will be missing several important players through injury.

Key defender Tom Williams (broken foot) will join Ryan Griffen (hamstring), Daniel Cross (ankle) and Daniel Giansiracusa (knee) on the sidelines, although Giansiracusa is expected to play in the VFL.

Shaun Higgins will return from a hamstring injury to play the Cats.

Johnson and fellow forward Robert Murphy should both play, despite sustaining corked thighs against Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Eade said the side's ability to overcome injuries and beat the Lions had reinforced the message that an even contribution mattered more than which stars were available.

"The media have paid more attention to some flashy efforts at times and maybe some great bits of play and great goals from individuals, but I think our side is really built on evenness," he said.

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