Dogs can turn it around: Eade - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs can turn it around: Eade

By Guy Hand 29/08/2010 01:27:20 PM Comments (0)

While the Western Bulldogs have gone from a mid-season swagger to a late season stagger, coach Rodney Eade is confident his team can summon up the cattle to be competitive in the AFL finals.

The Bulldogs limped to the round 22 line with an unconvincing 29-point win over Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

With several key players injured and Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney and Dale Morris effectively sidelined for the season, the Dogs have had the wheels fall off their premiership campaign at exactly the wrong time.

Big defeats by Geelong and Sydney came along with the losses of Cooney, Morris and skipper Brad Johnson to injury.

But Eade believes Johnson, midfielder Shaun Higgins and utility Easton Wood could all be fit for the Dogs' tough qualifying final assignment against Collingwood at the MCG next Saturday night.

Higgins, who has had a calf injury and thyroid gland problem, played in the reserves at the weekend and emerged unscathed.

Eade is looking for those lower down the Bulldogs pecking order to step up against the Magpies - and believes they can.

"What happens is everyone else underneath has got to step up, has got to be able to play their role and increase the output," Eade said.

"I think our depths pretty good. That's certainly not going to be an excuse for next week.

Eade is also confident that speedy midfielder Ryan Griffen will be fit to play after he received a kick on the knee in the 17.5 (107) to 11.12 (78) victory over the Bombers.

He sat out the match from early in the third term as a precaution.

The Dogs also have concerns over defender Tom Williams, who had an opponent fall across his knee but still played out the match.

Back-up ruckman Jordan Roughead also battled on despite his shoulder popping out during the match.

Eade expects both will line up against the Pies.

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