Dogs and Giants ready to add another chapter to great rivalry
WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says the club's burgeoning rivalry with Greater Western Sydney is developing into one of the game's most important ahead of their blockbuster in Canberra on Saturday night.
In what will be the Giants' first Friday night fixture, Beveridge had no doubt his team would feed off the memories of its stunning preliminary final win over GWS last year that propelled the Dogs into the grand final and set up their drought-breaking premiership win.
Asked if the Bulldogs' rivalry with the Giants was now the club's biggest, Beveridge said it wasn't just important for his team, but for the competition.
"I think it has been talked about that publicly, which is healthy for the game and the competition, it obviously means that GWS have made pretty good statements on field and turned into a very, very powerful team," Beveridge said at Melbourne Airport on Thursday morning.
"And obviously we're pretty happy to be talked about in that regard as well. It's an exciting confrontation as well. There is many rivalries, but it's developing as a really important one for the game I reckon."
Beveridge gave little away about the make-up of his side as the Bulldogs departed for Canberra on Thursday morning, but confirmed Bailey Dale, Bailey Williams and Caleb Daniel would be making the trip.
"We've taken a squad of 23 up so we will make some decisions this afternoon finalising the team," Beveridge said.
"But 'Bails' is definitely in the mix to come in, but may not either. We are bringing Bailey Williams and Caleb up as well."
While the Bulldogs have won four out of their first five games, Beveridge said the team still had some work to do to find its best form.
"We are playing well spasmodically - it's not a concern, it's never a concern if you are winning, but at times it's frustrating," he said.
"They haven't put that four quarters of really solid football (together). But at times the opposition haven't let us either.
"I think we have played our best at different times ... but how far off from a four-quarter statement, who knows? I haven't got a crystal ball, but you like to think it's just around the corner."
Beveridge confirmed Mitch Wallis (leg) and Tory Dickson (abdominal) would make their returns in the VFL this weekend.
"Dicko is playing tomorrow at VFL level so he's on his way back," he said.
"(Wallis is) playing tomorrow as well, so that's brilliant. He has worked really hard, a significant injury obviously breaking those two bones in your leg in those circumstances, so Mitch is really excited. He is looking forward to bringing his best performances over the next few weeks and maybe getting back into the AFL team."