Dogs to swing axe for Saints AFL clash

Oliver Caffrey and Jason Phelan
Luke Beveridge is planning to make six changes to the Bulldogs line-up to take on St Kilda

The Western Bulldogs have had three months to stew on their round-one disaster and coach Luke Beveridge is set to follow through on his promise to wield the axe for Sunday night's AFL clash with St Kilda.

Up to six changes are planned for the side that succumbed to Collingwood by 52 points in March, with injured former skipper Easton Wood, Lachie Hunter (club suspension) and Lewis Young (omitted) certain not to take part.

The trio was left out of an extended 26-man squad at selection on Thursday that will be trimmed to the final 22 on Friday afternoon.

Ed Richards, Billy Gowers, Pat Lipinski, Will Hayes, Jordon Sweet and Lin Jong were included, while Beveridge confirmed Laitham Vandermeer will make his AFL debut at Marvel Stadium.

Wood (quad) pulled up sore after Thursday's main training session.

Hunter is serving a four-match club suspension for an alleged drink-driving car crash in April.

"We'll have an influx of maybe four to six players come into the team," Beveridge told reporters.

"We're going to base and reward training performance as much as anything.

"There's some real competition for spots, and that's a good thing if you're playing well, but when you're not, you've got to reward what you see in front of you."

After going into the year buoyed by an electric end to the 2019 regular season, the Dogs were blown away by the Magpies.

Their midfield was embarrassed, managing just 22 inside-50s for five goals during what Beveridge described as a "distasteful performance".

"It hasn't been ideal for that to fester (during the break) and having to constantly process what you're not comfortable with," he said.

"It was a hell ride if you were playing in the Bulldogs forward line in round one so you almost rule a line through it if you were playing as a forward."

The Dogs haven't organised a reserves scratch match this weekend, but a hitout against North Melbourne's fringe players will take place before their round-three game against GWS.