Western Bulldogs lose Morris for finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Western Bulldogs lose Morris for finals

25/08/2010 03:35:47 PM Comments (0)

A cracked bone in Dale Morris' back has ended his AFL season and compounded the late-season woes for the Western Bulldogs.

Morris was originally expected to miss two games with the shoulder injury he suffered late in Saturday night's loss to Sydney.

But his ongoing back soreness prompted another medical assessment and more bad news for the `Dogs.

They have already lost Brownlow Medallist and star midfielder Adam Cooney for the finals with a hamstring injury and their form has tailed off badly with losses to Geelong and the Swans.

Morris is also one of their most important players and his absence from a key defensive role means the `Dogs will not have the freedom to throw Brian Lake forward.

"Dale Morris will miss the rest of the year, he has a fracture in his back, in the vertebrae," said coach Rodney Eade.

"When he (Adam Goodes) landed on him, he's concertinaed him - he had a sore back for a while, so we investigated it.

"He was still sore on Monday, saw the specialist yesterday and he'll be a minimum of six weeks.

"They are the cards we've been dealt, it gives someone else an opportunity and the other players have to step up."

But Eade said Morris will be running again in four weeks and will make a full recovery.

"It's more a cracked rib than anything," Eade said.

Barry Hall (corked thigh) and Lake (illness) also did not train on Wednesday, but Eade expects them to play in Saturday's match against Essendon.

The Bulldogs are also hopeful that Shaun Higgins might resume against the Bombers, while they are more confident about captain Brad Johnson after his Achilles tendon injury against Sydney.

"Are there any new diseases?," Eade joked ruefully.

"Chris Grant (their retired great) is coming back, Teddy Whitten, from the grave, is going to come back."

More seriously, he said Will Minson, Andrejs Everitt, Josh Hill, Dylan Addison and Jordan Roughead would push for senior recalls.

Apart from their growing injury list, the Bulldogs have been well off their best game and Eade will demand much better intensity on Saturday against the lowly Bombers.

The Bulldogs will play minor premiers Collingwood in the opening week of the finals.

"That's the main thing, we've been very good at stoppages and contested ball, some areas where you measure your work rate," Eade said.

"They've been down the last two weeks ... it's been a bit unlike us.

"So they're the things we're looking at - working hard, winning the footy.

"We mightn't play well, but if we can get that effort back, and I suppose that's what we base our game on, that will be a positive going into the next week."

The Bulldogs' problems have dramatically lengthened their premiership odds, but Eade is defiant about next month.

"This game challenges you in so many different ways, whether it's form, win-loss or injuries," Eade said.

"I have great confidence in this group to be able to meet those challenges.

"I have no doubt there's a fair bit of fight left in the group.

"It's no matter who's playing, the players have control of their efforts, it doesn't matter who's out injured.

"There is still a lot of talent in the group, there's still a lot of fight, there's a lot of character."

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