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Bevo: Free agent Dog duo have to lift

Why the Dees have gone 'fugazi' Mitch Cleary and Dinny Navaratnam present Friday Footy Feed
We're looking a qualitative sheen on his game that we need
Luke Beveridge on Mitch Wallis

WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has put the heat on premiership ruckman Jordan Roughead and midfielder Mitch Wallis to lift their performances in a season where they both will become free agents.

Roughead has battled indifferent form and injuries since the Bulldogs won the flag in 2016, while Wallis has been in and out of the side since he badly broke his leg 18 months ago.

With both spending time in the VFL this year, Beveridge wants Roughead to be more consistent and Wallis to add polish and scoring to complement his strong inside game.

Speaking to the media on Friday morning, Beveridge said both have a future at Whitten Oval, but they will need to find form to make sure 2018 isn't their last season in the red, white and blue.

Roughead, 27, grew up barracking for the Dogs, while Wallis, 25, is the son of Bulldog former club captain Stephen Wallis.

"(Roughead) is a free agent at the end of this year, so we're working with his management at the moment to try and re-sign him because he's definitely a required player," Beveridge said.

"He'll need to perform at his best pretty quickly to establish what his future is beyond this year, and I really believe he can.

"Mitch is working his way back from that leg break, and hasn't exactly got back to his absolute best, but I'm sure he will.

"He'll accumulate and be involved, but we're looking a qualitative sheen on his game that we need, and it is part of our scope to score.

"We want our mids to score and really capitalise on their involvement in the game, and Mitch is trying to grow that.

"Like 'Roughy', Mitch is definitely a required player, and I and other coaches talk to him weekly around what his focus areas are to get back in the team.

"I've got no doubt he will get back into the team."

 

Dale Morris will play his first senior game of the season against Melbourne on Saturday at Etihad Stadium, with the 35-year-old playing two games in the VFL in his return from a pre-season knee injury.

Beveridge hopes the highly-respected veteran's presence will inspire his young side ahead of a clash with arguably the AFL's hottest team.

"Our inconsistency around the real combative side of the game has left us a little bit vulnerable in different games, so he'll definitely pep up the boys in that regard," he said.

"It's just important that everyone not only feeds off it, but brings their own form of attack on the footy and opposition."

Beveridge said versatile defender Zaine Cordy failed a fitness test on a concussion he received in the loss to the Magpies, while impressive draftee Aaron Naughton will have another week off with an injury sustained in round eight.

Marcus Adams' horror run with injury has continued, with the hulking key defender sidelined with a corked thigh received in his second VFL game back from a pre-season ankle injury.

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