DUMPED midfielder Pat Lipinski is a strong chance of earning a recall to help fill the void left by Western Bulldog ball-magnet Josh Dunkley.
The Dogs will take on Sydney without midfield star Dunkley, who picked up a syndesmosis injury late in the game against Greater Western Sydney.
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is hopeful that Dunkley's healing powers will see him return "within the month", despite other players taking much longer to heal.
"We had Libba [Tom Liberatore] come back from a pretty serious one (syndesmosis injury) before the 2016 finals series and that took about five weeks, but he had some surgery," Beveridge said.
COVID CRACKDOWN AFL forces big change to training rules
After collecting 22 disposals in the loss to St Kilda, Lipinski was a surprise omission for the fiery round three clash against GWS. He is a like-for-like replacement for Dunkley.
Thursday night's game against the Swans marks the third match in 12 days for the Dogs, but Beveridge believes the relative youth of his side will help when things really get tough.
"It's the tightest turnaround I think that we've ever had," Beveridge said on Tuesday.
It's far from a complaint from Beveridge, with the prospect of getting sent to a hub in another state looming as a much bigger issue if the cards fall that way.
"I think we've been tested the least when you consider we've been in Melbourne and playing at Marvel," Beveridge said.
"The bigger tests are going to come, whether we get sent interstate in a hub.
"I think the younger groups should cope with the hub situation and the travelling – it's more of an adventure than a burden."
WATCH LEIGH MATTHEWS IN LAST TIME I CRIED
One of the game's hardest, 'Lethal' Leigh, opens up in the latest episode of Last Time I Cried, presented by AIA VitalityWatch Now
With Mitch and Emily Wallis welcoming baby Charlotte Rose to the family this week, the Dogs do have some things to weigh up if they were sent to a hub but perhaps not as much as other teams.
Beveridge also revealed:
- The players who miss out on selection for the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood will play a scratch match on Friday.
- The initial plan was to stage that game on Saturday but the AFL has asked for those games to be staged on the same day as each team's main game.
- Due to concerns over Essendon losing more players to quarantine, the Bulldogs have reconfigured their small groups of players for contact training to be more conservative in case of a potential COVID-19 outbreak.