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Veteran Dog gets chance for final bow-wow

Bucks' desire, goodbye game, Jack hysteria The Footy Feed team with all the latest news
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Matthew Boyd of the Bulldogs in action during the 2017 AFL round 04 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on April 14, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Matthew Boyd will play his last game for the Bulldogs on Friday night
I don't usually leverage milestone games or sentiment around individuals
Luke Beveridge

MATTHEW Boyd will return for Friday night's clash with Hawthorn in what is likely to be a farewell game for the Western Bulldogs great.

With the reigning premiers needing several results to go their way to qualify for an unlikely finals spot, Boyd will join skipper Robert Murphy in saying good bye to Bulldog faithful.

While the two veterans are set to bow out, draftee Patrick Lipinski will make his debut for the Dogs.

Coach Luke Beveridge says with the Dogs highly unlikely to venture past the home and away season, it gave the club a chance to send Boyd off in style.

Boyd, 35 on Sunday, hasn't played at senior level since the round 16 loss to Adelaide due to an Achilles injury and indifferent form.

"(Boyd is) playing, but whether that's a farewell game or not we don't know,' Beveridge said on Thursday.

"It's going to be pretty emotional night, because in the real world it's a very, very slim chance we can make the finals now.

"I don't usually leverage milestone games or sentiment around individuals.

"This week I think there's room to build that emotion around Bob and Matty Boyd.

"We go out there every week to win a game of football, and I think there's a little bit of stimulus there because there's romance around both boys."

While the Bulldogs are likely to become the first premier since Hawthorn in 2008 not to qualify for the finals the following year, Beveridge says he doesn't expect a massive overhaul of the club's football operations in a bid to return to premiership contention. 

"I think you review your year regardless of whether or not you don't quite get to where you thought you might, or whether you've had a successful year," he said.

"We'll keep level heads, we've got an exciting young group of players, some of whom have improved and come on this year.

"Maybe some have stagnated, so we'll look at ways to stimulate our players and our club to continue on and make more a fist of it next year."

One of the young players to have shown huge improvement is Lipinski, with the Northern Knights product displaying impressive form across half-forward in the VFL after overcoming a broken collarbone.

Taken with pick 28 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, the 19-year-old wins his own football, uses it well and is strong overhead.

Beveridge said it was a proud moment for the youngster when former Bulldog Stephen 'Super' McPherson presented him with his number 27 guernsey prior to training on Thursday morning.

"Paddy has got most things you need from that type of player," Beveridge said.

"He covers the ground well and his skills are quite good."