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Beveridge expects ruckman to overcome ankle injury

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Tom Campbell of the Bulldogs received medical advice during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on March 12, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge expects ruckman Tom Campbell to be fit for the Dogs' round one clash with Fremantle in a fortnight despite suffering an ankle injury in the club's final NAB Challenge game.

Campbell limped from the field after rolling his right ankle in the second quarter and didn't take any further part in the two-point loss to Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The development leaves the Dogs' ruck department up in the air leading into their season-opener against the Dockers at Etihad Stadium on Sunday March 27.

The Bulldogs face a big-man conundrum, given Jordan Roughead was been sent back to the VFL on Saturday to gain valuable match fitness, while Beveridge also revealed veteran ruckman Will Minson, who strained a hamstring on Thursday, was unlikely to be available for round one.

"We've come out of it really healthy, besides Tom, (but) I think his ankle will be OK," Beveridge said post-match.

The Dogs coach said Roughead was still very much in the selection frame, and praised the efforts of much-hyped key forward Tom Boyd in his support ruck role, describing him as "a very, very good ruckman" and a good, developing forward who would eventually become dominant.

"(Roughead) needs a good hitout, a full game, so he'll get through today and come into calculations if Tom (Campbell) doesn't come up. Or even if Tom does (come up), there's still competition there," Beveridge said.

"We're really pleased with Tommy Boyd and what he did today – his ruckwork and his forward play – and Jack Redpath pinch-hit like he did last year.

"But how we go in (to) round one is still definitely up in the air.

The Bulldogs side that took on the Pies was "pretty close" to the one that would represent the club in round one, Beveridge said. Small forward Tory Dickson would return, while "a handful" of players were pressing their claims in the VFL.

"There might be one or two or three spots (up for grabs), I'm not sure, but the great thing for us is … we'll go into the season with around about 40 players available, as long as we get through the VFL game," Beveridge said.

The Bulldogs mentor was understandably pleased with his team's superb first half, and satisfied with their last quarter, but was disappointed with their performance in the third quarter, when he saw a 40-point lead become an eight-point deficit.

He said the Pies turned the game by winning more centre clearances and upping their pressure, and lamented some of his more skilled players turning the ball over by foot.