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GWS defender Whitfield ready to handle any tag-alongs

3 minute read

Kept quiet by hard tags in his past two games, star defender Lachie Whitfield is going back to basics as GWS chase their first win after two straight losses.

LACHIE WHITFIELD. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Let the next tag come, GWS star Lachie Whitfield is confident he'll be able to beat his man.

The All-Australian defender has been kept quiet in the Giants' past two losses by Sydney's James Jordon and Essendon's Matt Guelfi.

While Whitfield still showed flashes of the damaging half-back he's known to be, his recent performances have been muted compared with his red-hot early-season form.

Before his duels with Jordon and Guelfi, Whitfield boasted an average of 31 disposals, eight marks and 495 metres gained per game.

In his past two matches, the 29-year-old has averaged 19 touches, one mark and 294 metres.

Both Jordon and Guelfi have also hit the scoreboard while playing as a defensive forward, with the latter slotting three majors in the Bombers' 20-point win over the Giants last round.

Expecting the Western Bulldogs to pay him close attention in Saturday's clash at Engie Stadium, Whitfield is getting back to basics.

"It makes life a bit harder, but I just need to learn how to get through those tags that are coming in at the moment," Whitfield told AAP.

"Matt did a great job on the weekend. He was able to shut me down and then hit the scoreboard on the way back, so he played really well.

"I've had them throughout my career and sporadically, so there's been times when I've been able to beat it and times when I haven't.

"I just need to keep learning and keep advancing on trying to beat them when they do come, but also just play my role as part of our back six.

"When it happens, 'Kingers' (coach Adam Kingsley) just says to me he doesn't want me to try any harder or do anything different. He just wants me to play as a defender and make sure I beat my man.

"I wasn't able to do that on the weekend, but I can definitely get better."

It won't be all up to Whitfield to shake off his tag.

Fellow defender Connor Idun acknowledged the GWS backmen fell short of supporting Whitfield against Guelfi and will be aiming to rectify that.

"It's a tough one. Obviously, he's a star player, so he's going to get tagged most weeks," Idun told AAP.

"We do need to be better in helping him out. He generates a lot of ball movement, and the role he plays at the stoppage is really defensive for us.

"We just need to acknowledge it, play better to help them out there.

"We're a good enough backline to be able to help him in that regards, and a lot of that falls on our heads as the other six or seven that are playing down there."

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