Bulldogs hopeful Welsh can add goals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs hopeful Welsh can add goals

By Adam Cooper 11/12/2007 07:23:04 PM Comments (0)

The Western Bulldogs will unveil a restructured forward line in 2008 which coach Rodney Eade expects to be more multi-dimensional following the recruitment of former Adelaide spearhead Scott Welsh.

Welsh officially joined his third AFL club after stints at the Kangaroos and Crows when the Bulldogs chose the 165-game veteran with pick No.4 in the pre-season draft.

As a member of the Kangaroos' 1999 premiership side and a four-time leading goal-kicker with Adelaide, Welsh was easily the most accomplished player among the eight picks in the pre-season draft and 62 in the rookie draft.

And Eade expects Welsh to have an instant impact with the Bulldogs, who finished a disappointing 13th in 2007, as either a strong-marking key forward in the goalsquare or a leading target to complement Brad Johnson and Robert Murphy.

Welsh, who booted 49 goals for the Crows in 2007, could also find himself playing alongside Ben Hudson, who was part of the exodus to leave Adelaide this off-season.

"I think it's difficult to say who will be the centrepiece (in attack)," Eade said.

"If you are looking height-wise, I think we will play a taller player down there as well like Will Minson or maybe Hudson can rest down there so they will be the tall player with Welsh, Murphy and Johnson around them.

"He (Welsh) is not just a one position player because he can play out of the square and he can play up the ground as well, so I think his style will fit in well with Brad and other guys."

The Bulldogs were the only one of seven clubs who punted on experience over youth in the pre-season draft, although Carlton used No.2 on another ex-Crow, midfielder Darren Pfeiffer, a first-round national draft pick in 2005 who never played a senior game.

Wooden spooner Richmond used their No.1 pick on David Gourdis, 18, a tall, athletic forward from WAFL club Subiaco.

Gourdis was highly rated in speed and leap at this year's draft camp but was overlooked in last month's national draft because of concerns over his kicking ability.

But Richmond director of football Greg Miller said Gourdis had proved during a fortnight of training with the club he was prepared to work hard on his skills.

"We talked to him about some of his skill deficiencies and he's prepared to work on them, and his attitude's right and he'll get better in those areas," Miller said.

The Tigers also had the No.1 pick in the rookie draft and used that on former Fremantle small forward Clayton Collard, and then chose former Essendon ruckman Tristan Cartledge and re-drafted the speedy Cam Howat.

Andrew McQualter, Ryley Dunn and Ryan Willits, re-drafted as rookies by St Kilda, Fremantle and Port Adelaide respectively, were the others to have played at the highest level selected on Tuesday.

Collard played one game for Fremantle in 2007 but was delisted amid concerns over his motivation and attitude, and Miller was hopeful the Tigers could benefit from the "life lessons" the teenager had learned during a difficult year.

Richmond had also been keen on recruiting a ruckman with AFL experience following the chronic shortage of fit big men they endured in 2007.

They had considered ex-Collingwood followers Guy Richards and David Fanning but given both were over 22 - the cut-off age for rookies - the Tigers went for Cartledge, who played seven games in 2005-06.

Former Eagle Ashley Sampi was also overlooked despite training with Melbourne.

The four clubs which have had success with Irish recruits - Sydney, Carlton, Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions - again recruited from the Emerald Isle in the rookie draft.

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