Pies' turbulent summer has Dogs on guard

·3-min read

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has warned his players of the perils of underestimating what he believes is a "galvanised" Collingwood outfit before their blockbuster meeting in the AFL.

Collingwood endured a tumultuous summer off the field, with the club rocked by the leaked Do Better report into racism and further allegations of racist incidents by past players.

It ultimately led to long-time president Eddie McGuire stepping down in February and followed a disastrous trade period for the Magpies, during which star midfielder Adam Treloar was forced out of the club.

Treloar joined the Bulldogs and will line up in the tri-colours for the first time against his former teammates at the MCG on Friday night, adding further spice to an already-intriguing opening round contest.

"When you think about Collingwood and their off-season, all they've been through with the inquiry into some of the prejudicial stuff that's come through and the torment there, they would've galvanised around each other," Beveridge said.

"I'm sure that they, probably more than anyone, have just set their sights on round one and finally being able to play a game in some kind of intensity and anger, and get their season on the right track.

"We need to respect that, we need to trump it and be at our very best to play well against what is essentially still a reasonably experienced Collingwood side."

An emotional Treloar spoke publicly again this week on the "s***storm" around his messy exit from Collingwood in November.

The 28-year-old, who spent five seasons with the Magpies, has overcome a pre-season calf injury and shapes as a strong addition to a deep Bulldogs midfield unit.

"It will be more of a relief after the game to have played and get this one out of the way against his former club," Beveridge said.

"He seems to be managing things wonderfully well.

"He's emotional, but once he plays footy he just lets it all hang out on the ground.

"I don't think it will get in the way of that, and obviously Adam has really strong relationships with his former teammates, so it's not one of those situations where you think they're going to go after him or anything like that.

"That would be fascinating if that happened."

Treloar and fellow experienced recruit Stefan Martin will make their Bulldogs debuts, while young pair Anthony Scott and Lachie McNeil will play their first AFL matches on the big stage.

Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen was left out of the side.

Collingwood will hand an AFL debut to Oliver Henry, who was selected with pick No.17 in last year's national draft.

Star midfielder Steele Sidebottom will miss with a calf injury, but defender Jeremy Howe has been named for his first AFL match since injuring his knee in round four last year.

Up to 50,000 fans will be in attendance at the MCG under current Victorian state government coronavirus restrictions.