Bulldogs can cause AFL upset: Griffen - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs can cause AFL upset: Griffen

Sam Lienert 30/04/2011 11:56:25 AM Comments (0)

Midfield star Ryan Griffen is treating Sunday's AFL clash with Collingwood like a final, which is good news for the Western Bulldogs.

The 24-year-old has been an outstanding big-game player since starring in his first final - at age 20 - a commanding elimination final win over the Magpies in 2006.

Since then, the line-breaking, goal-scoring midfielder has been a regular amongst the Dogs' best in his 11 career playoff matches.

That includes a heroic performance in a qualifying final loss to Collingwood last season, when despite being in doubt with a knee injury, Griffen shone with 34 touches and two goals.

As in that match, when the Bulldogs were missing stars Adam Cooney and Dale Morris, they will enter Sunday's MCG clash injury-depleted and as rank underdogs.

This time, Barry Hall, Daniel Giansiracusa, Ben Hudson and Shaun Higgins are unavailable.

But reigning club best and fairest Griffen said they were still confident of an upset.

He said they were buoyed by Monday night's performance against Fremantle in Perth, despite giving up a seven-point lead deep in the final quarter to lose by seven points.

"Even though we didn't end up getting the four points, I truly believe that we are taking massive steps forward," Griffen said.

"In that last quarter, they kicked the first three goals.

"To show courage and spirit to be able to fight back, get us in front and just to compete and really take on the game and get back to our running game, just the spirit the boys showed was the main thing."

Griffen said getting on top of Collingwood's deep and star-studded midfield would be the key.

The Bulldogs have improved their own depth of players capable of midfield stints since their last meeting, with the addition of first-year players Tom Liberatore and Mitch Wallis and ex-Brisbane recruit Justin Sherman.

Griffen said he took a lot personally out of his finals performance against the Magpies last year.

"I do put a lot of pressure on myself to perform," he said.

"I was very pleased with the way I attacked it and it did give me a fair bit of confidence.

"I get really excited when there's a big game and I do really want to perform in those games.

"To date I think I have performed and hopefully I can keep performing."

He classed Sunday's match firmly in the big-game category.

"I'll be going into that game just like I'd be going into any finals game," Griffen said.

"It would be a massive win for us.

"It's going to be tough, we know that, but if we stick to our structures and get that right, if we can get this win, it will give us a lot of confidence going into the next game and through the season."

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