Season 2023 - West Bulldogs

Western Bulldogs

Coach – Luke Beveridge

2022 –

Points For – 5th

Points Against – 11th

Top 5 Best and Fairest

1 – Josh Dunkley

2 – Tom Liberatore

3 – Aaron Naughton

4 – Marcus Bontempelli

5 – Jackson Macrae

2022 Rising Star Noms

JUH (Round 19)

Ins – Rory Lobb, Liam Jones, Jedd Busslinger, Charlie Clarke, Harvey Gallagher

Outs – Zaine Cordy, Josh Schache, Lachie Hunter, Josh Dunkley, Stefan Martin, Mitch Wallis, Louis Butler, Charlie Parker

My Prediction

Last year must have been disappointing for Dogs fans, they would have gone into the season with genuine premiership challenging aspirations. In the end they were lucky to scrape into the finals, then they went and lost their best player and quite a bit of their depth. The pressure on the coach started last season and without a good season this year, it will only get stronger.

The backline was a nightmare last year for a team that wanted to go deep. It is a sad state of affairs when you bring in Liam Jones to solve any problem you may have but that’s what they have done and it just may work. He will support Gardner and Keath. The run from defence will also be interesting with Richards looking better last year. If Dale and Williams stay fit, they should improve on last season.

The midfield reads on paper like it is something special but the chemistry on the field just doesn’t work. Essentially everything relies on the Bont and will do even more so with Dunkley heading North. They need Smith to keep his nose clean and Macrae to become more damaging. Probably wouldn’t hurt if Treloar at least earned the portion of his wage that the Bulldogs need to pay let alone the folding stuff coming from Collingwood.

They went out of their way to recruit Lobb, who will probably need to play ruck because he doesn’t fit in their forward line. Naughton and JUH will be the targets this year if they stay fit. Something clicked for JUH late last year and I think he will just get better. Then you have Sam Darcy who is a ridiculous talent, every chance Lobb props up their VFL team. Small forwards are West and Weightman who was down last year once his knee drops stopped being rewarded. It’s a very good forward line.

The ruck will be English who couldn’t look any less like a footballer but is a quality ruck and damages around the ground. Lobb may support him but I doubt it. They seem more likely to go one out and rely on the depth in their forward line to give him a chop out. Beveridge has carried the benefit of coaching them to a premiership for six disappointing years. Their game plan is boring and they have been middle of the road with the exception of getting on a roll and snagging a flag since he got there. They have a lot of talent on their list but they constantly underachieve.

I think their list is shallower than last year but the recruitment of Jones could help them down back. He is however old and can spud it up at a level few others are capable of. They will miss Dunkley enormously. The forward line is still young and should be better than last year. The midfield is weaker and relies on individual brilliance. I think they probably finish around the same spot. 7-9 for mine.


Good summary. Been a big shift in the Dogs over the last 12 months. Gone from having a stacked midfield and a suspect spine of the team, to now having one of the best arrays of young key position prospects in the AFL, led by Naughton, Ugle-Hasan and Darcy, and assisted by some older heads in Alex Keath, the returning Liam Jones, Rory Lobb recruited from Freo and will interchange with Tim English in a ruck/forward role, but a midfield now weaker by the departure of Dunkley and to a lesser extent Lachie Hunter. They remind me a lot of Essendon between the 1993 and 2000 flags. A list with lots of talent that has underperformed after winning a premiership ahead of time with a young group. I had them as premiers this time last year but to me they appear to be back in the pack now. Somewhere in the bottom half of the 8 for me.

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Fold and die


No mention of heart throb Bailey Smith? He is an A grade player and provides plenty of pace and drive on his wing. Also no mention of the forgotten Bulldog Josh Bruce, actually the less said about Bruce the Spud the better, although with the forward line looking settled and the arrival of Lobb who might also squeeze into a FP, Bruce will need to turn himself into a KPD quick smart if he is to continue playing. That is a role now made made vacant by the delisting of the even bigger spud, Schache so Bruce could get lucky there.

The loss of Dunkley is huge for them and it means more falls on Macrae and Bont’s forays forward will be lessened, as he will be needed more and more to dive the midfield.

They will finish no higher than 6th.

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Fox Footy best 22

B: Ed Richards, Alex Keath, Ryan Gardner
HB: Caleb Daniel, Liam Jones, Bailey Dale
C: Bailey Smith, Tom Liberatore, Adam Treloar
HF: Laitham Vandermeer, Aaron Naughton, Rhylee West
F: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Rory Lobb, Cody Weightman
Foll: Tim English, Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae
I/C: Sam Darcy, Bailey Williams, Taylor Duryea, Jason Johannisen

Losing their B&F winner has got to hurt a bit. Also lost their ruckman who retired.
Lobb and Jones are good acquisitions though and somewhat help their balance.

They still have lots of class with The Bont, Naughton, Macrae & Bailey Smith.
Plus young talent with a couple of early draft picks Darcy and Ugle-hagan.

I think they will improve with a better balance.
Lobb up forward with naughton could form a good duo and expect Ugle-Hagan to play a fair bit too as the third tall stretching opposition defences.
Lobb better than the ex Dees/Lions ruck becuase he can play a traditional forward/ruck meaning that English can get the majority of the ruck duties, but have Lobb up your sleeve, with 2 good targets in Ugle-Hagan and Naughton holding down the fort when English is off the ground for a spell

Jones solidifys the backline.

Prediction 5th - 11th
Could finish close to the pointy end of finals, or miss them completely.

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Umpire’s darlings.

Hope they finish bottom four.


Still haven’t addressed their key tall issues, way too many mids, Bailey Smith is the most overrated player in the league. Going nowhere and won’t be under Beveridge who fluked a flag (and good on him) but is out of ideas if he ever had any to begin with.

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Some pretty salty appraisals above. They will be good this year. Liberatore not even mentioned - just about their most important mid.

How many times will this claim get trotted out this season? Plenty. Smith is in no way overrated.

Top 4, got a great list and Lobb will make a huge difference if he stays fit.

He gets talked up as if he’s the best player in the league. Remove the mullet, and he’s just another pretty decent mid. I’d take Mitch Duncan over him any day who gets nowhere near the fanfare and does all the hard work Bailey doesnt do. If only he had a blonde mullet.

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Im interested in what JUH has to offer this season TBH. I dont entirely rate him, but the talent is there and he showed some signs last year.

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Yeah. He really started to come good in the last 6-8 weeks of the season. If he is that generational talent he could break out and have a 50-60 goal season.

This team has failed to make the top 4 after the H&A season for the entire decade. I don’t think they’ll do it this year. Despite some improvements, the loss of Dunkley hurts, and I think others improved more.


Their defense is bereft of talls and their mids all run one way bar Libba who is an animal m. The hype around their forward line with the addition of Lobb is bizarre + they’re coached by a moron. They may struggle to make the 8.


They very nearly missed it last season too and then dropped a 40 point lead in their final.

I have no idea where they are, but you don’t want Liberatore coming second in your b&f.

Smith is a very ordinary kick - Watch games instead of being caught in the hype.

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I see what you did there


I don’t reckon Dunkley is any huge loss for them FWIW.

They are a bit short on outside class and creativity, and they’re a bit slow (which is why they have been known to get opened up by hard working midfields), but have plenty of good ball winners.