WESTERN Bulldogs' former vice-captain Lachie Hunter remains in the club's Queensland hub despite being ruled out of selection due to personal reasons.

>> SEE THE TEAM CHANGES FOR THE SUNS v DOGS CLASH BELOW

The club announced on Wednesday that the Dogs midfielder and premiership star would be unavailable to play as he deals with personal issues.

There was no timeframe placed on his absence from the Bulldogs side.

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"Western Bulldogs midfielder Lachie Hunter is currently unavailable for selection due to personal reasons," the club's statement said.

"The club will continue to strongly support Lachie as he works through some personal challenges, with his health and well-being to be the priority focus." 

Hunter was last month hit with four charges after his alleged drunken car crash in April. 

The 25-year-old was suspended for four games by the Dogs and fined $20,000 ($15,000 suspended) after the incident, which also saw him receive a $1652 penalty notice for breaking social distancing laws in Victoria due to COVID-19.

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He had returned to the Dogs' line-up in the past two weeks, averaging 26.5 disposals across his two senior appearances back in the midfield, including 26 touches against the Bombers last Friday night. 

In an interview last week with the club, Hunter said relinquishing the vice-captaincy after the incident had had a big impact on him. 

"It hurt a lot, and it still does," he said.

"Even running out on the weekend, I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it once or twice as I was running out. Definitely there's aspirations to get back in that leadership group. That can only come over time."

The Dogs will open round eight on Thursday night when they face Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

ROUNDS 8-12 Check out the full fixture

21yo midfielder Callum Porter comes into the side for his debut match, and Billy Gowers will play his second game of the season, replacing injured forward Bailey Dale.

FULL TEAMS Check 'em out

Gold Coast isn't making any changes to its team that defeated Sydney by 32 points on Saturday.

Thursday, July 23

Gold Coast v Western Bulldogs, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm AEST

GOLD COAST
No change

WESTERN BULLDOGS
In: B.Gowers, C.Porter
Out: B.Dale (ankle), L.Hunter (managed)
New: Callum Porter