Jack Macrae is tackled by Liam Duggan during the R23 match between Western Bulldogs and West Coast at Marvel Stadium on August 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

WESTERN Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae will get the chance to make a late push for a round one spot by playing in the VFL again, while former top-10 pick Nick Coffield is on the cusp of playing his first AFL game since 2021. 

Macrae missed almost all of the February training block after suffering a hamstring strain on the club's pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast, but played managed minutes in a VFL practice match against Box Hill last weekend.

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The three-time All-Australian will be one of three AFL-listed Bulldogs to feature in the practice match against North Melbourne at the Whitten Oval, along with James O'Donnell and Riley Garcia.

Macrae played 119 consecutive games, during a period where the Victorian was one of the most consistent midfielders in the AFL, until that streak ended when he entered the AFL's concussion protocols ahead of the final round of 2023. 

But with pick No.6 Ryley Sanders and off-season signing James Harmes set to be injected into Luke Beveridge's midfield to start the new season, Macrae is fighting for a spot. 

Coffield moved from Moorabbin during the Trade Period after enduring a nightmare injury run across the past two years, dating back to the moment he ruptured his ACL during a pre-season session in Ballarat in February 2022. 

Nick Coffield in action during the Western Bulldogs' match simulation clash with Hawthorn on February 23, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The 24-year-old played the last five VFL games of 2023 after overcoming lingering calf injuries and has completed the full pre-season program in Footscray. 

Coffield has now put himself in a position to play his first game in 938 days when the Bulldogs face Melbourne next Sunday at the MCG, after strong showings against the Hawks over the past fortnight.

All-Australian defender Bailey Dale is racing the clock to be fit for round one after missing the AAMI Community Series game against Hawthorn due to hamstring tightness. 

Dale completed most of Friday morning's session at the Whitten Oval before doing a running set with the rehab group that included Jordan Croft (shins), Aiden O'Driscoll (concussion) and Laitham Vandermeer (concussion).

Bailey Dale during the Western Bulldogs' official team photo day at Whitten Oval on February 28, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

With Dale no guarantee to play, Lachie Bramble is another new face in the frame to play in round one after being delisted by the Hawks.

The 25-year-old was added to the rookie list during the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP), weeks after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction in the off-season. 

But after returning to full training in January, Bramble – who is the only player to be recruited twice via the SSP – is understood to be under proper consideration to start the season after featuring in both practice matches.

Lachie Bramble in action during the AAMI Community Series match between Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn at UTAS Stadium on March 2, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Category B rookie O'Donnell will also get a final opportunity to secure a spot in round one after spraining his ankle in the match simulation against Hawthorn late last month. 

The cricket convert has impressed this summer and looked set to lock down a spot in the Bulldogs' backline until the setback a fortnight ago.