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Jong wants to add another dimension to his game

Ryan Davidson  March 9, 2016 8:21 PM

AFL's big issue, Eddie-had, Crouch back Nat Edwards and Matt Thompson present your Wednesday Footy Feed
AFL 2016 NAB Challenge - Western Bulldogs v Melbourne

Lin Jong in action against Melbourne in the NAB Challenge

EXPLOSIVE midfielder Lin Jong says he has overcome the injury woes that stymied his 2015 campaign and is ready to add another element to an already imposing Western Bulldogs midfield.

A broken hand hampered him earlier in the season and then a bout of osteitis pubis during the run to the finals robbed the 22-year-old of his trademark speed and power.

With ball magnets Marcus Bomtempelli, Tom Liberatore, Jack Macrae and Mitch Wallis not overly blessed with pace, a fit and firing Jong gives Luke Beveridge the full gamut of midfield weapons.

Twenty-two possessions and a goal in the Dogs' NAB Challenge loss to Melbourne at the weekend sent a message to the match committee that he's ready to face Fremantle at Etihad Stadium in round one.

"Personally, I was happy with how I played," Jong told AFL.com.au.

"I've had an interrupted pre-season (due to groin surgery) and it was my first game back, so it was good to be out there.

"I feel really fit and healthy, so if they pick me I'm ready to play round one."

Standing 188cm tall, Jong has similar physical attributes to Patrick Dangerfield, and he is happy to model his game on the Geelong superstar.

While he admits he has along way to go to match the output of the three-time All Australian, Jong says it's inspiring to watch the former Crow run rampant.

"The way he uses his speed is something I'd really like to do," Jong said.

"The coaches tell me to use my speed as much as I can and break away from packs a bit more.

"Patrick is such a great player and I aspire to be a better player and keep improving, so I like to adapt my game to his."

Dangerfield's ability to push forward and kick goals isn't lost on Jong either and he's eager to add that capability to his game.

"He goes forward and really makes an impact, and that's something I really want to improve on," Jong said.

"I want to be a more complete player offensively, defensively and get my skills right."

With the Bulldogs having only Clay Smith and Roarke Smith on the injury list, Jong says competition for spots has created a friendly rivalry among the club's midfield brigade.

"It's a healthy competition because we have so many mids running around, but that's just a good indication of where we're at as a team," Jong said.

"Last year we made really big strides and we're not satisfied with that, especially the finals loss to Adelaide.

"We're really looking to improve again, take it up another level and go deeper into the finals."