AFL's Dogs bracing for Ward's GWS exit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL's Dogs bracing for Ward's GWS exit

Sam Lienert 03/09/2011 07:31:03 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs young gun Callan Ward is expected to confirm within days that he is headed for Greater Western Sydney.

There was speculation on Saturday that the 21-year-old had already told Dogs' teammates of his intention to take up a contract with the Giants worth close to $4 million over five years.

Several teammates were seen hugging the midfielder after a meeting of Bulldogs players following Saturday's season-ending 46-point win over Fremantle at Etihad Stadium.

Caretaker coach Paul Williams told reporters club officials expected Ward to tell them his plans next week.

Ward's expected departure adds to the loss of retired leading goal-kicker Barry Hall and ruckman Ben Hudson, along with rookie-listed veteran Mitch Hahn.

But Williams, who is vying to become the Dogs' fulltime coach, was confident that regardless of whether or not it was him in the job, whoever coached the club next season would have a strong squad to work with.

While the club was sorely disappointed with their season, after three straight top-four finishes, Williams said with the club having fielded 10 debutants this season there were reasons for optimism.

He said the longer pre-season missing finals would allow for, along with some planned changes to the club's playing style, would also help.

"We can bounce (up the ladder), because we need to do some things internally which we've spoken about," Williams said.

"That's going to give us an opportunity without any additions to our list, if we have a really good summer, with the way we want to change our style a little bit, it will be really beneficial for us."

Williams said his three-game stint in charge, which yielded two wins, had firmly entrenched his desire for the top job.

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