Bulldogs Lobb a wing and a prayer in quest for top four
The Western Bulldogs have their sights set on a rare top-four finish, and it could come with Rory Lobb causing headaches on the wing.
The Bulldogs have won six of their past seven games to rocket to sixth on the AFL ladder.
Their hot streak will be put to the test on Saturday when they host the resurgent Crows in Ballarat.
The Bulldogs haven't finished the regular season in the top four since 2010, with their remarkable 2016 flag coming from a seventh-placed finish.
Collingwood, Melbourne, Brisbane and Port Adelaide currently sit in the top four, with the Bulldogs a win and percentage adrift of fourth spot.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge wants to aim high without getting carried away this early in the season.
"It is only round nine, so I don't want to start talking about the pointy end of the season," Beveridge told reporters on Tuesday.
"Going into every year we've got designs on finishing top four, so nothing changes for us.
"We've got designs on it. Whether we can get there is another thing.
"We'll give it our all to get there."
Lobb has endured a slow start to his life at the Bulldogs, booting just 10 goals across his first eight matches.
The former Fremantle and GWS spearhead spent time on the wing in last week's 20-point win over Carlton, and finished with two goals, seven hitouts, four marks and eight disposals.
Beveridge is keen to unleash Lobb on the wing again at stages this year.
"It's something we've been planning to do for a little while," Beveridge said.
"He's obviously one of the tallest wingers to ever go around.
"History shows that it can cause opposition teams some headaches if the player can play the role according to plan, and the game can play out a certain way in his favour and in our favour.
"We'll definitely keep it there in our player role kit."
Josh Bruce is a chance to play this week after recovering from rib damage he suffered in round five, but Beveridge said it was unlikely to be at AFL level.
Midfielder Adam Treloar is about two weeks away, while Sam Darcy is making slow progress from a hole in his lung.
"It's just going to be gradual," Beveridge said of Darcy.
"He's still on a low-level training program not doing a lot, so it's going to take some time."
Beveridge said last week's debutant James O'Donnell would likely hold his spot for the game against Adelaide, who upset St Kilda by 52 points last week.