Dogs to make late call on Brad Johnson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs to make late call on Brad Johnson

24/03/2010 08:35:58 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs midfielder Daniel Cross says the team will take great inspiration if captain Brad Johnson returns from injury for Sunday's big AFL clash with Collingwood.

Coach Rodney Eade said Johnson was likely to be named on Friday night, but the club would wait until Saturday to make a final decision.

The skipper trained strongly on Wednesday to suggest he has overcome an Achilles/calf injury which has sidelined him during the pre-season.

But Eade said the issue was whether he would be better off building his fitness on the training track before resuming.

"I can't say definitively which way we're going to go, but he's a chance to play, there's no doubt about that," Eade said.

If he plays, he will become the first Bulldog to reach 350 games and Cross said that would be an added spur in what already shapes as an Etihad Stadium blockbuster between two premiership contenders.

"It would be huge, for some reason you always lift for those milestone games," Cross said.

"And 350, I'm not sure how many there have been play that many, but he's a phenomenal player and leader and he's inspirational to all his teammates.

"You should go out each week wanting to do the best you can and play your role, but it gives you that little bit more incentive, to play well for a guy like Johnno for sure."

Two other Dogs are also under injury clouds.

Forward Mitch Hahn, who fractured an eye socket in the NAB Cup grand final, has undergone mental testing to assess his recovery from concussion, but Eade said he was not yet a certainty to play.

Youngster Callan Ward, working his way back from a groin injury, missed training.

But Eade said that was because of a minor case of the flu and he was still a good chance to play against the Magpies.

Cross said starting the season against Collingwood, who have made no secret of their premiership aspirations, was an ideal way to ensure the competitive juices were flowing.

"It's great for us, you're not rolling into a season coming up against Collingwood, we're going to have a fight on our hands and that's great," he said.

"We'll be up and going early in the season and that's what you always get against Collingwood, so it's a great test for us first up."

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