WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has played down concerns over Marcus Bontempelli's knee, declaring the club is not taking any risks by playing their captain in their preliminary final.
The Bulldogs were sweating on the fitness of the 25-year-old ahead of Saturday night's clash with Port Adelaide.
The Brownlow Medal fancy hobbled off the Gabba in the dying stages of last Saturday night's thrilling one-point semi-final win against the Brisbane Lions.
But Bontempelli has been named to lead the Bulldogs out onto the Adelaide Oval as they look to book their first Grand Final berth since winning the premiership in 2016.
"He might have a little bit of an ache, or a dull pain in there going into the game," Beveridge said.
If there was any risk at all that he could re-injure it without anything happening then we definitely wouldn't be playing him.
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"His health and his long-term future is the No.1 priority, regardless of how big a final it is.
"He'll move around like nothing has happened."
Beveridge joked there could be some "retribution" if Port players try to target Bontempelli.
"Marcus comes from really strong Irish-Italian heritage and it's a pretty formidable combination of mum and dad," Beveridge said.
But the Bulldogs have been forced into one change, bringing in premiership defender Zaine Cordy for injured tall Alex Keath.
"It's the other hamstring to the one (Keath) did six weeks ago," Beveridge said.
"You can take players into the game with superficial stuff or joint stuff that you can get through but when it's soft-tissue just that prospect of losing a player early in the game ... we just couldn't take that risk."
The Bulldogs have recalled veteran ruckman Stef Martin for his first match since round 12, with Lewis Young making way.
They were badly exposed in their round 23 clash with the Power, as Port ruckman Scott Lycett dominated in the middle to help condemn the Bulldogs to a third-straight defeat.
But the Bulldogs have in the last two finals returned to the sort of form that saw them spend the majority of the season in the top-two on the ladder.
"Our boys have been in a good spot all year, other than a few weeks before finals, and it's come together well," Beveridge said.