Weather, injuries could alter Dogs' plan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Weather, injuries could alter Dogs' plan

By Sam Lienert 01/09/2010 02:16:14 PM Comments (0)

Weather will add to the selection intrigue over the injury-plagued Western Bulldogs, who will consider fielding only one ruckman in Saturday night's AFL qualifying final against Collingwood.

Coach Rodney Eade has forecast possible late changes, with midfielder Ryan Griffen certain to be named on Thursday night despite being rated only a "50-50 chance" to overcome a knee injury.

Eade said a decision on Griffen, who did not train on Wednesday, would be made 90 minutes before gametime, while captain Brad Johnson (Achilles) and youngster Easton Wood (hamstring) are others in the balance.

The Dogs are confident half-forward Shaun Higgins will return from a calf injury after playing in the VFL last week.

Ruckman Will Minson, slated as a replacement for the injured Jordan Roughead, is another whose place in the side might go down to the wire, with weather the key factor.

Rain prevented the Dogs training at the MCG on Wednesday and is also forecast for Saturday, which Eade said might mean Ben Hudson is the lone recognised ruckman picked.

"There could be some thought of that, yeah, there's no doubt," Eade said on Wednesday.

"Obviously (Collingwood) have got some talls, so they may make a change as well with the weather the way it is.

"We'll just have to wait and see with the conditions.

"The three emergencies that are chosen are going to be vital for both teams."

While Minson has played just one AFL game since round 14, with Roughead preferred, Eade said his VFL form was solid.

"We've been pleased with that, Will knows what's required for us as a team and he's certainly shown in the past he's got the talent to be able to do that," he said.

"So I think he'll be fired up for a good performance."

The Bulldogs are rated clear outsiders, given the Magpies' impressive season, while the Dogs are missing injured stars Adam Cooney, Dale Morris and possibly Griffen and Johnson.

Collingwood's loss to Hawthorn last round and a close shave against Adelaide the previous weekend have given Eade little cause to think the minor premiers might be slipping, given they were already safe in top spot.

But Eade said despite having lost twice to Collingwood this season and not having beaten a fellow top four side, the Bulldogs were confident they could cause an upset.

"For sure, there's no doubt, we go in with confidence," he said.

"We know everyone's written us off and (are saying) we're no chance, but certainly internally we've got a lot of belief and a lot of confidence we can do well."

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