Dogs' new AFL ruck duo pass first test

·2-min read

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has hailed Stefan Martin's immediate impact after the experienced recruit played an important role in the season-opening win over Collingwood.

Martin took the fight to Magpies ruck star Brodie Grundy and worked well in tandem with Tim English at the MCG on Friday night as the Bulldogs' deep midfield unit controlled the contest.

Grundy had tormented the Dogs in their last four meetings - earning 11 of a possible 12 Brownlow Medal votes in the process - and dominated English in three of those.

But former Brisbane ruckman Martin, who was brought in to help nurture emerging tall English, was a crucial contributor as the Dogs turned the tables on the Collingwood star.

"Stefan was huge for us," Beveridge said after his side's 16-point win.

"Brodie has really given them the impetus the last few times we've played and it's been difficult for our team to really recover from his work.

"Tim's ruck work was pretty good too when it was his turn to go in there, so that's a nice result for us.

"From a coaching point of view, it's important that you're at least able to neutralise those situations."

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said Grundy's impact was nullified as the Magpies were soundly beaten around the contest.

"Their big boys tag-teamed him and we probably didn't get Mason (Cox) in the ruck as much as we'd intended, definitely not in the centre bounce," Buckley said.

"I thought Brodie was amongst a midfield that were beaten on the night."

Beveridge has previously turned to midfielders Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Josh Dunkley to assist English in the ruck, but those makeshift moves now appear to be a thing of the past.

Martin and English are set for another huge test in round two when they take on West Coast star Nic Naitanui at Marvel Stadium.

"If we can keep Tim and Stef fit together and playing in tandem as they did tonight, it's obviously really going to help," Beveridge said.