Dale Morris in AFL return for Dogs

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is hoping to lay the ghost of St Kilda to rest when the teams meet on Saturday night.


Just seven weeks ago the Saints rallied from a 55-point deficit to inflict a morale-sapping defeat on the Bulldogs, a rare downer in what has otherwise been a standout first year with Beveridge at the helm.

“It is always in the back of your mind, but we haven’t really discussed it,” the coach said on Friday.

“We have actually got a third of our team that is different from last time, and the Saints have got four or five different players. So that probably counts for something as far as the performance goes.

“We have tried to move on. Week to week we are all about continuos improvement, but having said that, that was a difficult day and the Saints were very good.”

In a quirk of the draw, the Bulldogs face St Kilda for the second time in just seven weeks, when there are six other clubs they are yet to face in 2015, which Beveridge thought was a good thing given the need to atone for the previous loss.

Beveridge doesn’t believe his players will get nervous if leading against the Saints on Saturday night.

“Week to week as a coach, whether it’s the fact the Saints came back last time or whoever you are playing, you are always mindful that there are going to be momentum shifts and it is our job to stay on top of it,” he said.

The Dogs will be strengthened by the return of veteran defender Dale Morris, who comes back into the side for the first time since injuring a pectoral muscle against Hawthorn in round three.

But Beveridge suggested that with so many of his defenders, including the likes of skipper Bob Murphy, former captain Matthew Boyd and Jason Johannisen in good form, Morris might spend some time up forward.

“He allows our defence to do different things at different times,” he said.

“They actually played him forward briefly at VFL level last week and he finished off the game really well there.

“He is a great leader, he is strong, his contest is as good as anyone in the competition and he is one of those teammates who helps our players walk taller.”