Jack Macrae celebrates a goal during the Western Bulldogs' clash against Fremantle in round 16, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

WESTERN Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae has returned to full training, just in time to push his case for a spot against Melbourne in round one after injuring his hamstring during the club's pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast. 

The three-time All-Australian sustained a low-grade hamstring injury at the start of the month and missed last Friday's match simulation against Hawthorn.  

But after completing match simulation at the Whitten Oval on Wednesday, Macrae is on track to bank some minutes this weekend. 

Luke Beveridge's side travels to Launceston to face Hawthorn at the University of Tasmania Stadium on Saturday in the final tune-up ahead of the Bulldogs' season-opener on March 17

Footscray hosts Box Hill at the Whitten Oval on Saturday, although the Bulldogs' VFL side won't be stacked with Marcus Bontempelli, Tim English, Adam Treloar, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Bailey Dale, Ed Richards and Cody Weightman, like they were last Friday afternoon. 

The club will make a decision later in the week on whether to play Macrae in the AFL or VFL side after missing most of the February block of pre-season. 


The 29-year-old played 119 games in succession until that streak ended when he entered the AFL's concussion protocols late last August, missing the final game of the 2023 home and away season. 

Scans have cleared Category B rookie James O'Donnell of structural damage after he injured his ankle at the start of last week's scratch match. 

The 21-year-old has trained as a key defender all summer and has looked set for a spot in the Dogs' backline across the summer. 

After training with the main group on Wednesday, the cricket convert is expected to play some minutes this weekend. 

All-Australian ruckman English was assessed for a shoulder issue during last Friday's VFL game but played on after having his shoulder strapped and hasn't reported any issues since.