Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron has challenged his forwards to prevent the Western Bulldogs speedy backs from carving his side up in Friday’s AFL clash in Canberra.
Meeting for the first time since the Bulldogs won a classic preliminary final showdown in Sydney last year, both teams are off to a 4-1 start.
Cameron said the Bulldogs had found a way to win games despite not playing their best and still rated them the form side in the competition.
He identified contested ball and stoppages as the two areas the Bulldogs clearly beat them in during that finals clash and expected those to be key factors again in his side’s first-ever Friday game.
“That was probably the two big areas that they not just beat us, they gave us a real touch-up,” Cameron said.
“It will be be contested ball, stoppages and who moves the ball better from the half-back line probably wins the game.”
For Cameron that means nullifying the dash of Jason Johannisen, Bob Murphy, Matthew Boyd and Matthew Suckling.
“If we’re not consistently good at stopping the ball rebounding out of our front half this week then they will absolutely carve us up,” Cameron said.
‘They’ve got leg speed, they’ve got ball use, they’ve got decision makers that can do anything and then they can kick a score.
‘Guys like (forwards Jon) Patton, and (Rory) Lobb and (Jeremy) Cameron and (Steve) Johnson and (Toby) Greene and (Sam) Reid have got to make sure that the pressure is right on them.”
Cameron pointed out GWS had some in-form flankers of their own in Zac Williams, Nathan Wilson, Heath Shaw and Adam Kennedy.
Meanwhile, former Bulldog Cameron is looking forward to getting some of his midfielders back over the next couple of weeks.
He expects Stephen Coniglio to return from injury next week, while Lachie Whitfield will be back from suspension the following round.
Off-season recruit Matt de Boer has got the all-clear following a hamstring injury, but is recovering from a poke in the eye he copped in the reserves last week.