WESTERN Bulldogs ruckman Tim English is ready to enter the next phase of his career after the ruckman's "dominant" performance in the Dogs' win over Sydney on Thursday night, according to coach Luke Beveridge.
English was best afield against the Swans with 24 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances, 28 hitouts and a game-high 12 score involvements in the Bulldogs' first win of the season.
The Dogs have had battles in the ruck at different stages during Beveridge's coaching tenure at the club but English has identified a desire to play largely in the position without being thrown forward and the Bulldogs reaped the rewards of that shift against the Swans.
"He's had some games where he's had some tremendous influence but I thought he was dominant tonight and that's important for him and us," Beveridge said post-game.
DOGS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats
"As I said in the pre-match presser, he's searching for his presence around the source and he gave us stability. He won the hitout count which is terrific for him and for us. He had a big influence on the game."
English's night included a big mark over Lance Franklin and also a heavy bump on Swans defender Nick Blakey that is likely to be assessed by the Match Review Officer.
But Beveridge said the out-of-contract 24-year-old's presence throughout the game was an important factor in the victory against the previously unbeaten Swans and that the performance showed English was ready to take his game to the next level.
"We've got faith and trust that Tim's emerging and evolving as a player. He's still learning a little bit even though he's heading towards the mid-20s," he said.
"There's some influential ruckmen in the game and not all of them play the turnover game that well, they don't all use the ball that well, they're not as highly skilled as him so the more he can be dour and physical – and he got a lot of clearances off his own bat tonight – the more it's going to help us.
"We've yearned for that over a period of time.
"He's got this desire to be a ruckman and not necessarily a forward so we've got to continually work with him on that. Week to week we'll process it and analyse it but it was a really good night for Tim."
The Dogs will lose defender Zaine Cordy to concussion next week but expect Marcus Bontempelli to be fine after his shoulder knock through the game.
The Swans lost English's ruck opponent Tom Hickey to a knee injury midway through the third term and he was substituted out of the game. Swans coach John Longmire said post-match Hickey had suffered a suspected medial ligament injury.
Longmire said the Swans' start – they booted just one goal in the opening half having entered the game as the highest-scoring side of the season so far – proved critical.
"We were just right off. We fumbled a lot, missed tackles, all those things you need to be strong in the contest and the Doggies were the opposite end of that and that's what it looked like for a fair bit of the game. To their credit they were really hard and hungry and we didn't go with that," Longmire said.
He was unsure if the Swans had an emotional letdown following the euphoria of Lance Franklin's historic 1000th-goal game last week.
"Who knows? How do you know? We've got a young team and you talk about it and try to get yourself [up] but it's hard to put a finger on it. It looked like we were off the pace," he said.
The Swans lost the free kick count 31-14 but Longmire wouldn't be drawn on their impact and didn't say whether he would seek any clarification from AFL headquarters on any decisions.