JACKSON Trengove could have expected to be taking on All Australian ruckman Max Gawn in Saturday's clash with Melbourne, but the likelihood of standing an in-form Jesse Hogan will be just as ominous.
While Trengove resumed through the VFL in early May following a shoulder injury, Luke Beveridge said the free agent signing needed to force his way back into the seniors by performing a ruck/forward role for the side.
However, recalled for the round nine clash with Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval, the familiar surroundings and a customary spot in defence have seen the former Port Adelaide utility hit the best form of his short time at Whitten Oval.
Another impressive performance down back in last week's loss to Collingwood earned the 27-year-old a coaches' vote and reinforced the belief he can contribute wherever his versatility-demanding mentor plays him.
"To be able to go down back, fit in nicely and to be able to play the way 'Bevo' wants me to play was pleasing," Trengove told AFL.com.au.
"I've played a lot of footy down back, and I'm very comfortable in that position, but it's great to give the football club that option of playing me in all three areas of the ground.
"I did a lot of work in the pre-season in that ruck-forward role, and I think at some stage I'll end up moving back into that.
"But the last few weeks I've been able to string some form together, and hopefully that continues."
Lured to the Dogs on a three-year free-agency deal, it surprised many when the Victorian returned through the VFL following a cracked shoulder blade in round two.
But Trengove said a state league stint was part of a recovery process that didn't quiet go to plan.
"The injury was a little bit annoying, and I thought it was only going to keep me out for a couple of weeks, but it was a bit longer than that," he said.
"Getting the strength and power back in my arm took a little bit longer than expected.
"I probably came back a little bit too early, but then the last game (at VFL level) I played I felt a lot stronger, moved around and did my thing.
"It was a frustrating thing because when you're new to a club, you want to be able perform straight away, but I've only been able to do that the last couple of weeks."
The widely held belief was the Bulldogs would bounce back from their underwhelming premiership defence last year and make a return to September action, but with that looking unlikely, Trengove believes becoming a more consistent side will see the Dogs be contenders once again.
"I think our performance last week in the first half against Collingwood, who are a really good team, we were playing some really good footy," he said.
"It's just about getting that consistency now because I think in patches this season we've shown we can match it with some good teams, but we've had some patches where we weren't able to compete.
"We're a really young group, but we don't want use that as an excuse."