Bulldogs at ease for pre-season final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs at ease for pre-season final

By Roger Vaughan 08/03/2010 07:36:53 PM Comments (0)

The Western Bulldogs will take a pragmatic attitude into Saturday's AFL NAB Cup grand final, stressing there are much bigger fish to fry.

The pre-season decider against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium means a rare piece of silverware is on offer for the Bulldogs, who have not won any premiership since the 1970 night competition.

But assistant coach Leon Cameron said round one of the premiership season remained their main focus.

"Obviously it's going to be a little bit of a different buildup, because ... the history probably hasn't been the greatest in terms of day and night grand finals," Cameron told SEN.

"But in saying that, I suppose it's our job to realise it's four practice matches in before the season even starts.

"This will be our final preparation for the start of the season ... what that serves up, if it's a win, it's a win.

"But obviously there are bigger things to look forward to down the track as well."

The Bulldogs' strong pre-season form, coupled with Barry Hall's great debut, are heightening expectations that this could finally be their year.

Their only day premiership came in 1954 and there has been plenty of heartbreak since.

Still, Cameron said the Bulldogs' only priority was following the program they had taken into the pre-season.

"We've stuck to a plan in terms of our rotation of players and we were always going to have a full-scale hitout in the last game before the week off," he said.

"So we'll have a full-scale hitout in terms of who's available.

"But in terms of hiding things, it's probably gone beyond that - you just go out there, have a crack."

Like his new team, Hall is keeping his head down and doing what he can to stay of out of the limelight.

Cameron acknowledges it is impossible for the key forward to have a low profile.

"You can't dodge away from it, because of who he is and being a premiership player at Sydney and obviously being one of the big names of the game over the last 10 years, it's going to come anyway," Cameron said.

"He wouldn't go out there to deliberately stay low, but in saying that since he's been at our footy club, he just goes about his business.

"He's quiet, he works hard, we all know he trains really hard and he's been great for our group."

Hall took a big mark late in Friday night's semi-final against Port Adelaide and then raised eyebrows by handballing to Brian Lake, who kicked the winning goal.

"Big Bazza - he probably caught Lakey by surprise, I think we were a little bit surprised at the time - that's what footy serves up sometimes," Cameron said of the unexpected "give".

"He does go beyond the call to bring his team-mates into the game."

At the other end of the ground, injury-plagued key defender Tom Williams has also started the year well.

If he can cement his place in the team, Williams' presence will mean Dale Morris can have more flexibility and creativity.

"Having two genuine talls, Lake and Williams, in the side obviously helps structure us up a little better and hopefully Tommy can string some games together," Cameron said.

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