Ex-Bulldog Dunkley offers blueprint to contain Cripps
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge couldn't help but feel wistful when watching his former charge Josh Dunkley provide a blueprint for how to handle Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps.
Dunkley, who moved north to Queensland over the off-season, limited the Brownlow medallist to just 17 touches while racking up 33 disposals and 13 tackles in the Brisbane Lions' 26-point win over the Blues last Friday.
Ahead of the Bulldogs' clash Saturday clash with Carlton at Marvel Stadium, Beveridge was asked whether he would draw inspiration from Dunkley's efforts.
"He played a terrific game," Beveridge said.
"We've watched every stoppage basically. We saw that Cripps went to Lachie Neale a lot out of the contest and so there was some freedom to Josh's game as well as the accountability, which he really capitalised on and was influential in their win.
"Josh is a very, very good player. That's why we didn't want to lose him.
"Each time Fages (Brisbane coach Chris Fagan) says, 'Our recruiters have done a great job', it's just another sort of dagger to the heart.
"We know they've got a good one and so hopefully our troops will play really influential games but also quell the influence of their midfield because it's not just Patrick.
"We know they've got a number of very, very capable and match-winning mids in there, so that's going to be a real battle within the battle."
The Bulldogs will be desperate to free up small forward Cody Weightman, who has been important defensively but kicked just one goal in his past two games and is likely to face another lockdown small forward in Nic Newman.
"Cody will get his rewards at some point around score assists and his own scores," Beveridge said.
"But we do need to make sure that ... he's not a sitting duck. Because he's getting sat on for a reason, because he can be a very influential player.
"We need to make sure that we give him the tools and make sure he's got even a multi-role approach to his game to help him through the difficult parts."
Ex-cricketer James O'Donnell will debut just 35 days after signing on as a category B rookie with the Bulldogs.
The son of former Australia cricketer and ex-St Kilda player Simon O'Donnell, 20-year-old James has impressed in the VFL.
"It surprised us that everything we threw at him, he was able to manage," Beveridge said.
"We've been able to school him in a couple of roles.
"That's the beauty of him, he's pretty versatile. So we'll put him in the mix somewhere."