Main content

Dogs declare superstar a certain starter

Big Boy doubt, re-signed Pie, injured Dons Mitch Cleary, Dinny Navaratnam, Riley Beveridge and Jen Phelan bring you the latest news on Footy Feed
Marcus Bontempelli is a certain starter - AFL,Western Bulldogs,Marcus Bontempelli
Marcus Bontempelli is a certain starter

SUPERSTAR Marcus Bontempelli is a definite starter for the injury-ravaged Western Bulldogs in Saturday night's clash with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium despite concerns over his knee injury, says Luke Beveridge.

There were fears the playmaker had torn his ACL when he fell awkwardly during the third quarter of last week's loss to Port Adelaide, but he escaped with a hyperextension of his knee and played out the game.

Bontempelli trained away from the main session on Friday morning, but Beveridge declared the 22-year-old isn't on the club's extensive injury list that has ballooned out to 11 players.

"He'll definitely play," Beveridge said on Friday morning.

"We won't do much (training) today, he's done all his work (this week), and we all got a bit of a shock when we saw him hyperextend his knee over in Adelaide.

"There was talk about black cats, (walking under) ladders and all that sort of stuff, but he's fine and recovered really well."

Star midfielder Toby McLean has overcome a shoulder injury and will face the Kangaroos, while veteran Dale Morris has made a speedy recovery from knee surgery.

Fellow important defenders Marcus Adams (ankle/calf) and Aaron Naughton (ankle) also return to the side, with luckless Adams playing his first senior game for the season.

Forward Josh Dunkley has also been recalled after being dropped following round nine loss to Adelaide.

Defender Matt Suckling was close to resuming from an Achilles complaint, but the veteran is at least another week away.

Beveridge in awe of Morris' recuperative powers after the 35-year-old's "lightening quick" recovery from arthroscopic surgery on the knee he partially tore the ACL on in the pre-season.

"His reputation continues to grow, doesn't it?" Beveridge said.

"It was a bit of a surprise because we thought he might be another week, but his recovery has been astronomical."

While skipper Easton Wood (hamstring), gun midfielder Jack Macrae (hamstring) and utility Lukas Webb (thumb) all sustained injuries against the Power, premiership defender Shane Biggs has been dropped for the third time this season.

It's an ominous sign for the 26-year-old, who is out of contract at season's end.

"'Biggsy' got his challenges and there's some specific things in his game that leave us a little bit vulnerable at times that he's working on that didn't necessarily come to the fore against Port Adelaide," Beveridge said.

"All we can do is try and support him, help him.

"We know what he is capable of, but unfortunately, he hasn't been the player he has been for us historically"

Tom Liberatore is spending time abroad as part of his recovery from the ACL he ruptured in round one, but Beveridge said that was nothing out of the ordinary.

The Bulldogs will ramp up talks on a new deal for the free agent when he returns to Australia next week.

"(Taking leave from the club) is quite common, as we've done that we a number of the boys who have had ACL rehabilitation," Beveridge said.

"He's due back on Sunday night or Monday morning, so he'll be back in the country."