Dogs to swing axe for Saints AFL clash

The Western Bulldogs have had three months to stew on their round-one disaster and coach Luke Beveridge has promised to wield the axe for Sunday night’s AFL clash with St Kilda.

Up to six changes are planned for the side that succumbed to Collingwood by 52 points in March, with premiership midfielder Tom Liberatore in line to return from a knee injury.

Beveridge said the Bulldogs have 42 fit players with only Roarke Smith, Taylor Duryea and Riley Garcia unavailable through injury.

Star onballer Lachie Hunter is serving a four-match club suspension for an alleged drink-driving car crash in April.

“We’ll have an influx of maybe four to six players come into the team,” Beveridge told reporters.

“We’re going to base and reward training performance as much as anything.

“There’s some real competition for spots, and that’s a good thing if you’re playing well, but when you’re not, you’ve got to reward what you see in front of you.”

After going into the year buoyed by an electric end to the 2019 regular season, the Dogs were blown away by the Magpies.

Their midfield was embarrassed, managing just 22 inside-50s for five goals during what Beveridge described as a “distasteful performance”.

“It hasn’t been ideal for that to fester (during the break) and having to constantly process what you’re not comfortable with,” he said.

“It was a hell ride if you were playing in the Bulldogs forward line in round one so you almost rule a line through it if you were playing as a forward.”

The Dogs haven’t organised a reserves scratch match this weekend, but a hitout against North Melbourne’s fringe players will take place before their round-three game against GWS.

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