Coach – Luke Beveridge
Points For – 10th
Points Against – 6th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
1 – The Bont
2 – Tom Liberatore
3 – Ed Richards
4 – Caleb Daniel
5 – Liam Jones
2023 Rising Star Noms
Ins – Lachie Bramble, Nick Coffield, Jordan Croft, Joel Freijah, James Harmes, Aiden O’Driscoll, Ryley Sanders, Lachlan Smith
Outs – Josh Bruce, Hayden Crozier, Mitch Hannan, Robbie McComb, Toby McLKean, Tom O’Brien, Cody Raak, Roarke Smith, Jordon Sweet
The Bulldogs were dreadful to watch last year. The question marks around the recruitment of Lobb were founded as he turned out to be entirely surplus to their needs. On the upside, the stubbornness of the coach in trying to find a way to squeeze Lobb into the team made them a much less effective team.
The backline improved last year. They looked better with Liam Jones back there who gave them a genuine stopper and someone who could mark and rebound. Richards had a career best season amongst the chaos and they will hope Coffield will some from St Kilda and give them abut more run as well. The Sam Darcy/Aaron Naughton forward or back conversation should also be a thing as they are too stacked up forward for talls.
The midfield reads nicely on paper but they aren’t as effective as you would hope. The Bont is still the most impactful player in the AFL but he needs support. It will be interesting to see if Smith can get back in the midfield as they need him. Libba has been stellar over the past few seasons and is probably their second most important player after the Bont. Treloar is boring and feels like he doesn’t impact games nearly as much as he should. Macrae and Harmes will keep them batting deep.
The forward line reads as good as any. JUH started to dominate games in patches last year and you would think in his final year before moving to Essendon, they will be hoping for some bags from him. Naughton does everything you want a key forward to do. He flies, he makes a contest and often takes marks and kicks goals. Caleb Daniel and Weightman give them solid crumbing options whilst Lobb gives their fans something to talk about.
Tim English is as good a young ruck as you could hope to have. He keeps getting better and his impact around the ground is improving. Darcy and Lobb will give them some depth. The coach is right under the pump. He is due a good year, missing the finals this year would probably cost him his job. He would be a fun one to watch melt down if things start to go badly.
The Bulldogs should not have missed the finals last year. They have too much talent across their list and should have been closer to the top four than where they ended up. It was unimaginative coaching and a disinterested playing group that got them to ninth. It will be interesting to see how they turn things around this year. They could easily be a top four team and they could miss finals again. I am going to split the different and predict 7-10.