WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says critics of power forward Tom Boyd need to ignore his big-money contract and treat him like any other young player.
Boyd arrived at the Dogs at the end of 2014 with a massive contract after a monster trade that saw Ryan Griffen and the No.6 draft pick exchanged to Greater Western Sydney.
The former No.1 pick played 14 games in his first year at the Kennel but managed just 16 goals and wasn't seen at senior level after round 16, with his mobility not suited to the team's high-paced brand of footy.
Beveridge told radio SEN that he was happy with Boyd's progression despite his poor second half of 2015.
"We changed the way we went into games with our personnel towards that back third of the year, and Tom (Boyd) had done a good job for us in providing contests in getting his first real look at AFL footy," Beveridge said.
"What people don't realise is that Tom went back to VFL level and didn't miss a beat, he actually won three games off his own boot within few minutes of those games.
"Those experiences at VFL level are going to be very important.
"Tom, like all our young players, is on a journey and if you disregard remuneration and agreements, we just like to think of Tom as a player that’s got a long-term future at our football club, and he's a work in progress like all our young guys.
"I expect him to improve again this year and have a really positive impact on our club, and he's had a really good pre-season and things are shaping up well for him."