Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has dominated out utilizing main goal-kicker Aaron Naughton to strengthen an injury-hit defence after his aspect’s AFL bye.
Naughton was shifted again for the second half of Sunday’s 21-point win – 15.15 (105) to 13.6 (84) – over North Melbourne, with Liam Jones (fractured arm) and Tim O’Brien (hamstring) out of the sport.
However Beveridge will preserve Naughton because the spearhead in assault when the Canine host Fremantle in spherical 16, as a substitute calling on his reserves to step up in defence.
“If we did not have anybody else on our listing who might probably play there then, yeah, you’d have to contemplate it, completely,” Beveridge stated.
“However even yesterday James O’Donnell, Josh Bruce and Ryan Gardner had been all fairly strong in Footscray’s (VFL) win over Williamstown.
“There are some boys there that may are available and play these essential roles.
“As a lot as they weren’t essentially at their finest the week earlier than, they’re nonetheless there, and Aaron’s actually essential for us ahead.”
Earlier this month, Beveridge bristled at a suggestion from Fox Footy analyst David King that Naughton needs to be switched completely to defence to spice up the Bulldogs’ premiership credentials.
The 195cm goal, who was drafted as a key defender, has kicked 26 targets in 14 video games this season after main the Canine’ goal-kicking final yr.
Wingman Bailey Williams was additionally used to plug a gap on the again towards North Melbourne after Jones and O’Brien sustained accidents through the first half.
Jones was harm within the opening phases when he acquired an unintended kick from the Kangaroos’ Paul Curtis whereas making an attempt to assemble a unfastened ball.
He was taken to hospital, the place scans confirmed a fractured radius in his left forearm.
“He’ll have it plated … and I do not know the way lengthy he is out, however he’ll be out for some time,” Beveridge stated.
Jones and O’Brien be part of fellow backmen Jason Johannisen and Ed Richards (each hamstring) on the harm listing, whereas versatile younger tall Sam Darcy (jaw) can be out of motion.
The Bulldogs’ win snapped a three-match shedding skid and improved their report to 8-6, making certain they may stay inside the highest eight by way of the final of the bye rounds.
Beveridge conceded his aspect is “only a margin off” the perfect groups within the competitors however has excessive hopes for the enterprise finish of the season.
“You may bridge these gaps,” Beveridge stated.
“You do want just a little bit of excellent fortune along with your personnel and your harm toll, however we have to do issues a bit higher than what we have now constantly to threaten.
“No less than we have given ourselves a glance.
“We’re type of in there in that decrease a part of the eight and it is our goal in our final 9 video games to see if we are able to nip on the heels of the extra established sides on the high finish and see what we are able to do.”
Australian Related Press