Lake surprise call-up for tough AFL job - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lake surprise call-up for tough AFL job

Sam Lienert 28/05/2011 12:50:31 PM Comments (0)

A late selection reprieve will have Western Bulldogs fullback Brian Lake handed one of the AFL's toughest jobs as he and his club seek a huge form reversal against Hawthorn on Sunday.

The key defender will spend at least part of his day on in-form Hawks gun forward Lance Franklin, after Lake and fellow out-of-favour Dogs' star Lindsay Gilbee were called into the 22 on Saturday.

Neither had even been listed as emergencies when the side was originally named on Friday night.

Gilbee was dropped for a limp showing in last round's 123-point drubbing by West Coast, while All-Australian fullback Lake, who had several pre-season operations, had missed the Dogs' past three games to find form and fitness in the VFL.

But injuries to Ryan Hargrave and Brodie Moles have opened the door.

Coach Rodney Eade was confident Lake's return was not premature and that Gilbee would still get the wake-up call he needed from his initial axing.

"I said to Brian when we put him back (to the VFL), it was never going to be a form issue, it was going to be more about him proving to us that he was confident enough, that he trained well enough," Eade said.

"... This week he's trained pretty well, so on Thursday we trained and had (another) bit of a session (on Friday) and Brian actually knocked on the door and said 'Listen, I'm right, I think I'm confident enough.'"

Eade said given Gilbee believed he had been demoted before his reprieve, that should still be the "cattle prod" he needed to break a trend of alternating good and bad games.

The Bulldogs have made six changes in all, including the return of key forward Barry Hall, a debut for Christian Howard and the first senior game of the season for Sam Reid, who has had an injury-blighted six game career over three previous years at the club.

Ben Hudson, who started the season as the Dogs' No.1 ruckman, is out, with Eade saying he, like Gilbee, needed a "circuit-breaker" after inconsistent form.

Along with selection statements, Eade went "back to old times" this week, ordering an early morning beach session and some tough, competitive training in response to the embarrassing fade-out against the Eagles.

"It was a bit about cleansing the soul," he said.

While it will be a huge challenge to down the in-form Hawks, who named an unchanged side after their win over Sydney, Eade said the minimum requirement was a full game of maximum effort.

"That's got to be the basis on the weekend and the result will look after itself."

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