Jack Macrae in action during the Western Bulldogs' clash against Geelong in round 12, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

WESTERN Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae is a strong chance to return to the senior side for next week's clash against West Coast, coach Luke Beveridge has said.

Macrae was overlooked for the Bulldogs' win over Gold Coast on Sunday after a hamstring injury interrupted his pre-season.

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The three-time All-Australian responded with a standout performance in the VFL, finishing with 46 disposals and 16 clearances.

And Macrae is set for a return to the senior team when the Dogs host the Eagles at Marvel Stadium in round three.

"It's not that we didn't consider Jack this week," Beveridge said.


"But I think what the important things are is you back your preparation in and the temptation was there, but for Harvey (Gallagher) and Ryley Sanders to play as the supporting act, they've really earned it, they've done extremely well.

"As I've said, Jack has still got to build and today at VFL level is probably enough evidence that he's pretty ready to step u. So there's no doubt he'll be considered and he'll be a big chance to come in.

"We'll work out what the shuffle is. Because of the five inside mids who play through there, none of them did anything wrong, so it becomes a bit of a team balance type decision as well."


The Bulldogs are set to be without defenders Nick Coffield (shoulder) and Ed Richards (concussion) for the game with the Eagles, while James Harmes is available again after his one-game suspension.

Cody Weightman inspired Beveridge's side to their first win of 2024, booting six goals at Mars Stadium to earn the praise of his coach.

"He was outstanding. We thought going in maybe they'd be a bit challenged with their height," Beveridge said.


"We didn't anticipate (Jack) Lukosius was going to play back so they didn't have too many concerns there. But you're always searching for evidence and what the team you're playing is thinking around match-ups and whether it's system-based or role-based. I think Cody is a handful for any small-to-medium defender and he played a really important role for us today."

Richards' concussion occurred after he received high contact from Suns veteran David Swallow.


But Suns coach Damien Hardwick believes the 31-year-old has nothing to worry about when the Match Review findings come in on Monday.

"Just two guys winning the ball. I just don't understand what the free kick was there for," he said.


"I understand accidents happen and we want to protect the head, but guys have got to be able to play the game. It's a real challenging game to umpire, but I don't think we've probably got anything to worry about from that one.

"I just hope the Bulldogs player is OK. I think Ed went off. At the end of the day it's one of those ones."