THE WESTERN Bulldogs look likely to regain defender Easton Wood for a crucial round 18 clash against Fremantle.
A win will get the Bulldogs through to the finals, but the Dogs could use a boost in defence against the Dockers' key forward trio of Matt Taberner, Rory Lobb and Jesse Hogan.
Wood has battled a hamstring injury in recent weeks but got through Friday's training session and is "definitely available" for selection.
LADDER PREDICTOR Can your team make the eight?
"We've always thought he's a better player when he's sort of in the middle of everything and doesn't have to play in a key defensive post," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said of Wood.
"We feel like he'll be able to provide us with some strong defensive run as well, that's if we pick him of course."
Versatile midfielder Toby McLean had negated the likes of Andrew Gaff and Lachie Whitfield this season weeks, but Beveridge may be forced to shuffle the deck when it comes to finding a replacement following McLean's ACL rupture.
"The roles Toby has played have been important to us, he's played in every line and shut down some prime movers from the opposition," Beveridge said.
"Now do you put a Toby McLean clone in to play a similar role, or with our spread and depth of our midfielders do we trust something else?"
Patrick Lipinski was a travelling emergency for the Bulldogs last week and sat with McLean in the rooms after his devastating injury.
Lipinski has struggled to establish his spot as a best 22 player, but looms as the likely replacement if Beveridge wants to go with an additional midfielder.