Hardened McInerney's primed for Dogs

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Back-to-back ruck assignments against the AFL's two best tall men have primed Oscar McInerney for whatever the Western Bulldogs throw his way in Saturday's semi-final.

The 205cm-tall McInerney has duelled Nic Naitanui and Max Gawn in the last fortnight, with the West Coast ruckman named on the All-Australian bench behind the Demons captain last week.

Throw in a date with Collingwood's Brodie Grundy two weeks earlier and McInerney reckons he's got all the bases covered.

"There's nothing better than having a crack against the best," he said.

"Nic Nat is such a powerful beast, Max is so long and strong, his footy IQ is incredible and Brodie a couple of weeks before who covers the ground so well and follows up like a midfielder.

"They're all weapons that every ruckman tries to have and hopefully we can lean on them."

The Bulldogs have been funky with their ruck selections this season, with coach Luke Beveridge rotating the help through the middle in a tap battle they generally surrender.

A mentor to McInerney at Brisbane last season, Stef Martin had seemingly plugged that gap but injury has kept him out of AFL action since round seven and won't play in for a sudden-death final.

Their talls have still proved dangerous though, Tim English kicking three goals and taking nine marks despite windy conditions in the Bulldogs' defeat of Brisbane in April.

"They are such a powerful midfield unit led by Marcus (Bontempelli) and (Jackson) McRae," McInerney said.

"Whatever look they give it it'll be an exciting match-up and such an important battle there."

Brisbane had some decisions of their own to make with tall forward Daniel McStay (concussion) unavailable.

Ryan Lester and Callum Ah Chee have been named as emergencies after missing last week's loss through injury, while Devon Robertson has been recalled alongside tall defender Jack Payne.

Jaxon Prior has been omitted, Payne's addition hinting Brisbane could throw him or other tall defenders forward to plug the gap left by McStay.

"(I'm happy with) whatever role Fages comes and taps me on the shoulder with; I'm a simple man, just create a contest, get it to ground and happy days from there," McInerney said.

The winner at the Gabba will then play Port Adelaide in a preliminary final in Adelaide next Saturday.

It's Brisbane's third-straight finals series after back-to-back second place finishes but they're yet to reach a grand final.

"We're all dreamers; you can say you don't go to be thinking what could be or might be (but you'd be lying)," McInerney said.

"But we can pull ourselves into line ... and we know if we get to work that'll hold us in good stead rather than dreaming and crossing your fingers."

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