Western Bulldogs hopeful on Johnson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Western Bulldogs hopeful on Johnson

07/03/2010 12:16:16 AM Comments (0)

The Western Bulldogs regard reaching the pre-season final as an ideal preparation for the AFL premiership, and are hopeful captain Brad Johnson can play St Kilda next weekend.

The Doggies' three-point win over Port Adelaide on Friday night booked their first berth in a grand final of any kind since 1970, although they will be chasing their fifth knock-out title.

Bulldogs assistant coach Peter Dean, who oversaw the 1.11.17 (92) to 1.12.8 (89) win over the Power, said reaching the final would be exciting for the club's supporters, and "perfect preparation" for the season proper.

"It's going to be a bit chaotic with our supporters and that's great," he said.

"We're happy for them to be happy but they've got to realise we're still on a system ... to be successful towards the end of the home and away season." Johnson has been sidelined this pre-season because of soreness in the achilles tendon in his left leg, but Dean was optimistic the veteran half-forward could play the Saints, who secured their berth in the decider with a 70-point thrashing of Fremantle on Saturday night.

"Johnno hasn't missed a lot of games (through his career) ... and it's come as a bit of a shock to him, but he's handled it really well," Dean said.

"He was a little bit flat early but he's full of beans now ... he's a chance to come and slot in.

"He's probably (a chance of) 60-40, 70-30 (to play)." The Bulldogs were again delighted with the form of recruit Barry Hall, who followed a six-goal debut for his new club with four goals and a hand in three others against Port.

The Bulldogs were down by three points with about two minutes left when they sent Hall on to the ground for one last hurrah, and he responded with a big pack mark, before handpassing to Brian Lake, who kicked the winning goal.

"We were under a little bit of pressure there and we put Hally on ... it was a strong mark going back with the flight of the ball, so he's proving his worth, Hally," Dean said.

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