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Dogs upbeat despite winless AFL pre-season

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is upbeat heading into the AFL premiership season despite failing to win either of his side's pre-season matches.

Dogs upbeat despite winless AFL pre-season

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is upbeat heading into the AFL premiership season despite failing to win either of his side's pre-season matches.

Bulldogs coach LUKE BEVERIDGE talk to players during the AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs at The Gabba in Brisbane, Australia.
Bulldogs coach LUKE BEVERIDGE talk to players during the AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs at The Gabba in Brisbane, Australia. Picture:Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

The Western Bulldogs will go into their AFL round-one clash with Sydney without a pre-season win, but coach Luke Beveridge will consider the preparation a raging success if Aaron Naughton thrives as a key forward.

The exciting defender was redeployed to the attacking 50 against St Kilda on Sunday in Ballarat and returned three goals in an eye-catching display in the 14.9 (93) to 12.7 (79) loss in front of 4384 fans at Mars Stadium.


"If you're trying to forecast or crystal ball what sort of player Aaron Naughton might be 12 or 24 months from now as a key forward, he could be anything," Beveridge said.

"Without letting Sydney know what we're going to do, that's what we're going to do.

"Aaron's got all of the attributes that some of the best key forwards have got ... the difference is that he hasn't played there a lot.

"As much as we wanted to win the game, all of these games are dress rehearsals for round one.

"We'll just focus on the good stuff ... hopefully, the good signs will endure for a bit longer in the game.

"Hopefully, we can test some teams out."

The match was overshadowed by health scares for Saints pair Paddy McCartin (concussion) and Dylan Roberton (illness).

Most teams have completed their slate of pre-season matches, with Collingwood to host Carlton in the final game on Monday in Morwell.

Melbourne emerged with some injury and disciplinary concerns from a 16.8 (104) to 15.7 (97) loss to Brisbane on Saturday at Casey Fields.

James Harmes (finger fracture), Joel Smith (groin), Bayley Fritsch (hip) and Jay Kennedy Harris (knee) were casualties. And, boom recruit Steven May will come under scrutiny for a high bump.

Port Adelaide ruckman Paddy Ryder suffered a fractured cheekbone in Saturday afternoon's 19.9 (123) to 16.6 (102) victory over North Melbourne at Alberton Oval.

Richmond trailed Hawthorn by 40 points at halftime in Launceston but came roaring home on Saturday night in a 14.11 (95) to 13.9 (87) victory.

Sydney kicked seven-straight goals either side of halftime at Oakes Oval in Lismore on Sunday on their way to a 19.9 (123) to 11.15 (81) win over Gold Coast.

Geelong kicked off the round on Thursday night with a 15.11 (101) to 11.7 (73) win over Essendon at GMHBA Stadium. Adelaide scored their second pre-season win with a 10.15 (75) to 7.15 (57) victory on Friday night over GWS in Canberra.

And, on Sunday night in Mandurah, defending premiers West Coast thumped Fremantle 16.13 (109) to 8.10 (58).

AAP


AAP




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