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Beveridge urges patience with omitted forward Boyd

Tom Boyd of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2015 AFL Round 04 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on April 26, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Tom Boyd was dropped for the Dogs' crucial clash against the Pies
We're just looking at the player and the young man and he's a great asset for our football club, and we're salivating on what sort of player he'll be like in the future
Luke Beveridge on Tom Boyd

LUKE Beveridge has reminded Western Bulldogs supporters to be patient with forward Tom Boyd, as the high-profile recruit prepares to line up in the club's VFL team on Saturday. 

The 19-year-old ex-Giant, who joined the Dogs on a multi million-dollar seven-year contract at the end of last season in a trade for Ryan Griffin, has played all but one game this season. 

He missed round 14 with a slight medial strain in his knee, and has since had quiet outings against his former team and Geelong.

He was omitted this week, and despite being listed as the Dogs' first emergency for Sunday's clash with Collingwood, Beveridge confirmed he would play in the Coburg-Footscray clash on Saturday.

He said the Dogs couldn't fault anything Boyd had or hadn't done this season, and indicated his omission was more to do with team balance than anything else. 

"We're rapt with his progress, and if it wasn't for the price tag, no one would be talking about it," Beveridge said on Saturday. 

"He's 19 years old, he's missed one game, he's been enormous for us. 

"He's been so critical in all of our wins, really, just giving us that contest.

"He's been really durable but there's a balance of getting as much game time into him and the other young guys so they improve and progress, and today presents an opportunity for him to play at VFL level.

"Just this week, with 'Stewy' [Crameri] coming back last week and Jack Redpath going OK, just for the make up of our side, Tom makes way and we've bought another runner [Shane Biggs] in. 

"We're just looking at the player and the young man and he's a great asset for our football club, and we're salivating on what sort of player he'll be like in the future." 

Not helping Boyd's case is the fact the Bulldogs' midfield has been hurt by injury this season, with a heel fracture the latest complaint to remove an in-form component – Koby Stevens – from the engine room.

Stevens is expected to miss between 6-8 weeks with fracture, which all but rules him out for the season unless the Dogs press deep into the finals. 

He joins Tom Liberatore, who is recovering from a knee reconstruction, as a long-term out, although last year's best and fairest winner walked laps before training on Saturday. 

Beveridge said there was an expectation Boyd would grow into his role as the Dogs' young midfield improved.  

"As time goes by, the opportunities that present with the inside 50s for him will continue to unravel and he'll continue to build," he said.

"With all our young guys we're playing a long game and he'll continue to improve week to week." 

Boyd's omission and Will Minson's absence means Tom Campbell will face Collingwood's Jarrod Witts/Brodie Grundy combination as the Dogs' lone ruckman on Sunday. 

Beveridge said Minson will play in the VFL on Saturday, and backed Campbell to stand the Pies' two-pronged ruck attack on his own. 

"It's a big challenge. Tommy played one game back and we're backing him in," he said. 

"Tom will put his best foot forward and we believe that's going to be good enough up against Witts and Grundy. 

"Will's had a little shoulder issue so he didn't play last week, he was going OK but Tom is going really well at VFL level and it's his time to shine and his chance to get a run at it. 

"For our future, it's important Tom plays AFL footy and contributes at the level and it's his turn. 

"Will will play VFL today and if he plays well, there's every chance he might play next week, as I've said all year. He'll be selected on merit."

Jordan Roughead will not take on the Pies either after he was withdrawn from Thursday's selected side and replaced by Michael Talia.

Collingwood also swung a late change on Saturday with Darcy Moore replacing Paul Seedsman in the selected side.