WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has reshuffled his side ahead of Sunday's elimination final against Essendon by making two late changes for the cut-throat clash.

Beveridge has decided to go tall for the UTAS Stadium encounter with the Bombers, including Tasmanian defender Ryan Gardner and former No.2 draft pick Josh Schache in a last-ditch effort to save the Dogs' season.

Experienced backman Zaine Cordy drops out of the Dogs' team with illness, while 2016 Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen is a surprise out as Beveridge searches for the right mix for his out-of-form side.

04:36 Mins
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Match Previews Finals W1: Western Bulldogs v Essendon

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown, Matthew Richardson and Matthew Lloyd preview the game between the Bulldogs and Bombers at University of Tasmania Stadium

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There was late drama with the medical substitute selection, with Schache originally named.

But minutes later the Bulldogs changed their selection to bring Schache into the starting 22 and make Johannisen the sub.

Gardner has not featured for the Dogs since he hurt his shoulder against the Eagles in round 15 and most recently missed a match in Tasmania having attended a Tier 2 COVID-19 site.


Schache was the unused sub for the Dogs against Port Adelaide last week, with his last full game coming against the Bombers at Marvel Stadium in round 21.

Highly rated youngster Nik Cox is the medical substitute for the Bombers.

The winner of Sunday’s clash will face Brisbane in the second week of the finals, while the loser drops out of the post-season.

Western Bulldogs v Essendon at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3.20pm AEST

Western Bulldogs:
Zaine Cordy (illness) replaced in selected side by Ryan Gardner, Jason Johannisen (medi-sub) replaced in selected side by Josh Schache
Essendon: Nil

Western Bulldogs: Jason Johannisen
Essendon: Nik Cox