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Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has praised the professionalism of Sam Darcy after handing the father-son pick his AFL debut.
The Western Bulldogs will unveil prized father-son pick Sam Darcy in Saturday's crunch clash with Fremantle, but he won't be taking the place of forward Josh Bruce.
Darcy, the son of Bulldogs great Luke Darcy and the grandson of former Bulldogs swingman David Darcy, was snared with pick No.2 in last year's national draft.
The 19-year-old is seen as a future forward-ruck option, but he's set to be unleashed as a key defender against the Dockers.
"That (finding out his best position) will take a bit of time to work out," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
"Sometimes it depends on needs as well. There's not an overwhelming need for a key forward right at this point in time.
"He might make his debut as a key defender and he could finish his career as a ruck forward. There's a bit of water to go under that bridge."
Bruce has been held goalless in his three games since returning from a knee reconstruction.
He has tallied a total of 14 disposals, four hitouts, six tackles and a single behind across that stretch.
But Beveridge is sticking with Bruce in the belief the 30-year-old will turn around his form.
"He's working hard. He's playing some ruck minutes as well," Beveridge said.
"Sometimes that's a challenge to juggle the forward aspect and the ruck minutes.
"We'll continue on. It will click at some point.
"His timing, his judgement, his craft work as a forward is not quite where he needs and wants it to be.
"But as he's showed us over time he can turn that around and come over the top with his progression pretty quickly."
Darcy stands at 209cm and big things are expected from the 19-year-old.
He tallied 20 disposals and 14 marks in last week's win over Werribee to prove he was ready for an AFL debut.
"He came in with a pretty significant foot injury. He's done a tremendous job with his professionalism," Beveridge said.
"The risk is if you regress and you have hiccup with an injury like that it can be career ending.
"He played two full quarters last week against Werribee and the other two quarters were high enough game time.
"He's at that point where he's feeling pretty healthy. He's fortified himself against the endurance side of the game which is important."
The 10th-placed Bulldogs (10-9) sit a win adrift of eighth spot and are likely to need wins against Fremantle, GWS and Hawthorn in order to sneak into the finals.
The sixth-placed Dockers need to win in order to stay in the hunt for a top-four berth.