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Ruck trio gives Beveridge welcome headache

Adam Curley  February 25, 2016 11:43 PM

Some positives but 'room for improvement' Luke Beveridge on the Dogs victory over the Giants
AFL 2016 NAB Challenge - GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs

Will Minson locks horns with Dawson Simpson on Thursday night

WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge admits he is no closer to finalising his first-choice ruck combination for 2016, and his players seem determined to make it a tough decision.

Beveridge played three ruckmen in the Bulldogs' NAB Challenge clash with Greater Western Sydney in Canberra, and Will Minson, Tom Campbell and Jordan Roughead all had an influence in the 31-point win.

Click here for full match coverage and statistics

The experienced Minson gathered 16 possessions and had 13 hit-outs opposed to GWS pair Dawson Simpson and Rory Lobb, and moved well around the ground, while Roughead had a quieter night but still showed his value to the Dogs.

Campbell kicked the game's only supergoal, a booming set shot in the final quarter, and added two more goals to show outstanding versatility.

Beveridge has made it well known that his ruckmen will have to fight for the right to play in the regular season, and said that hasn't changed.

"It still is up in the air, the round one situation, but they'll keep working towards that and try and win those spots," he said.

"I thought all three of them got better as the game went on, Tommy was a little bit fumbly early but ended up kicking three goals and competed well in the ruck.

"I thought Will really gave us something around the contest, his ruck work was on, and Roughy had a bit of a mixed bag.

"At times he got himself into great spots he just couldn’t capitalise, but I loved the way he jumped in the ruck.

"Between the three of them, they did what we asked of them."

The Giants have a selection dilemma of their own with a host of tall forwards jostling for a position in their best 22, and Lobb impressed coach Leon Cameron with his athletic display against the Dogs.

Lobb played nine games as a ruckman/forward in the second half of last year with Shane Mumford out injured and showed glimpses of ability, but stood out with his strength in the air in the NAB Challenge opener.

The raw West Australian took five contested marks, finished with two goals, and probably should have finished with four to give GWS a mobile target inside 50.

"He's one of those young kids that’s coming into his third year, he's starting to develop, and he actually came back (to training) midway through October to try and get a jump on all the boys," Cameron said.

"You can clearly see that he wants to make a statement this year.

"He's taking some really strong marks, and his kicking has improved.

"He knows he's got a long way to go in some other areas of his game, but if he continues on with that sort of presence out there, then he's clearly looking to (put his) stamp on one of those 22 spots for round one.

"As he gets older and we get more kilos on him then he'll be more aggressive in the ruck, but we're really rapt by the way he's progressing."