Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge expects big man Tim English to stand up to St Kilda's two-pronged ruck threat in Saturday's AFL elimination final.
English took a battering at the clearances in the Bulldogs' round-two loss to the Saints in June.
Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall were able to give St Kilda's midfielders first use of the ball with a combined 48 hitouts to English's 11.
Aged just 23, English is one of the AFL's most-promising ruckmen, but Beveridge knows he will face battles in his bid to become one of the league's best talls.
"We don't base Tim's game on who wins and loses based on the hitouts," Beveridge said.
"There's no doubt at times this year Tim hasn't been able to win as many hitouts as will be able to in the future.
"Even outside the stoppages (in round two) he was reasonable.
"He's grown and progressed and over the course of the year we've done different things to support the stoppage to support Tim in his role.
"We expect Tim to challenge their ruck division and onball division. He's in a good space."
The Dogs enter the sudden-death clash after winning their last three games.
But they only have to look back at last year's thumping elimination final loss to Greater Western Sydney to know home-and-away form counts for little once the finals begin.
Beveridge believes his team are better equipped this time around to handle the finals heat.
The Saints' recent form leading into their first final since 2011 has been patchy, but did smash the Giants two weeks ago to seal sixth spot.