Dogs expect nervous Hall to keep cool - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs expect nervous Hall to keep cool

25/02/2010 06:25:25 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade says prize recruit Barry Hall is nervous ahead of his AFL debut for the club, but there is little danger he will fly off the handle.

Friday night's NAB Cup quarter-final against Hawthorn will be the volatile former Sydney captain's first AFL appearance in eight months.

He parted ways with the Swans midway through last season, after one suspension too many, for punching Adelaide's Ben Rutten in what proved his final game.

Hall is likely to line up on Hawks recruit Josh Gibson, also playing his first game for a new club, after being traded from North Melbourne.

Eade quipped it would take a "brave" opponent to test the spearhead's resolve to change his on-field ways by needling him about his past bouts of anger.

But he was confident that if it did occur, Hall would keep cool.

"That happens to every player at some stage, I think Barry will handle that okay, I don't think that's an issue with him," Eade said.

The Bulldogs coach - who insists Hall will be just one more cog in the Dogs' attack rather than the central figure - said he was expected to do little more than gain match fitness against the Hawks.

But Eade said the three-time All Australian would have his own expectations.

"I think he is a bit anxious because it is his first game, he obviously wants to feel part of the group and be able to contribute to the team, so just his first game he's a bit toey," Eade said.

Hall will play about half the match, with regular spells on the bench.

Jason Akermanis, Nathan Eagleton and Ryan Hargrave will also play after missing the club's opening game of the pre-season, but captain Brad Johnson is not expected back in the side until the final pre-season match.

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said for Gibson the most important aspect would be learning to adapt to a new team's structures, but he was likely to cross paths with Hall.

"I imagine if (Hall's) up forward and Josh is down back for us, they'd match up on each other at some point," he said.

"That will all depend on how much the Western Bulldogs are going to play Barry and how much we're going to play Josh.

"They'll be amongst each other's company at various stages."

Clarkson was keen to gauge his side's form against strong opposition, after waltzing past an inexperienced Richmond in the opening round.

"They're a very, very talented side and have been for some time, so we're looking forward to testing ourselves against what's been a pretty formidable line-up," he said.

"We have a few young blokes running around for us on Friday night, which is going to be great for us to see how they go."

Hawthorn are still without Shaun Burgoyne, Chance Bateman and Cyril Rioli, but hope all will play at least one of their final two pre-season games.

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