Western Bulldogs ruckman Tim English has given himself a timely confidence boost before a possible AFL finals appearance, playing a starring role in Sunday's narrow victory over West Coast.
Still developing, English has had mixed results this season,but coach Luke Beveridge has persisted with the 23-year-old as his No.1 ruckman.
It paid dividends as English took full advantage of Eagles superstar Nic Naitanui's absence to help steer the Bulldogs to a two-point win at Metricon Stadium.
His two marks late in the final quarter were vital to a result that could go a long way towards securing the Bulldogs a top-eight berth.
"Tim had some critical moments in the game, particularly in that last quarter, whether it was getting in the way behind the ball or providing something forward of the ball," Beveridge said.
"He's growing all the time but it's an important one for him tonight.
"He was a key contributor in the win."
Naitanui was a late withdrawal with a back injury, replaced in the West Coast side by Tom Hickey.
Beveridge said it forced the Bulldogs to alter their stoppage set-up, but he was pleased with the response.
"The boys worked pretty well together," he said.
"Occasionally with the interchange you probably get caught in between what you want to achieve at different times.
"We even threw Naughts (Aaron Naughton) in there briefly in the last quarter and that set shot for goal that he had was off playing in the ruck.
"So there was some good variation but I thought Tim competed extremely well."
English, now in his fourth AFL season, has played 44 games since being selected as a first-round draft pick by the Bulldogs.
He faces another big test against more experienced Hawthorn ruckman Jon Ceglar on Sunday, with the Bulldogs needing another win to press their claims for a finals spot.