Shepparton News

Dogs have no straight swap for Weightman

LIVEWIRE SET TO MISS PRELIMINAR­Y FINAL CLASH WITH PORT DUE TO HEAD KNOCK

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Melbourne: Luke Beveridge concedes the Western Bulldogs won’t find a like-for-like replacemen­t for Cody Weightman if the livewire forward is ruled out of their preliminar­y final against Port Adelaide.

Weightman is likely to miss the clash under the league’s concussion protocols, having been substitute­d out of the thrilling one-point semi-final win over Brisbane after a head knock.

The second-year forward, who has kicked 26 goals in a breakout season, was replaced by medical substitute Jason Johannisen against the Lions.

Johannisen is a possible inclusion in the 22 at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night, with Mitch Wallis, Anthony Scott and No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan also in the mix.

“We’re not going to get another Cody Weightman,” Bulldogs coach Beveridge said after the Brisbane victory.

“Cody’s sort of moving into that area where he’s very difficult to defend because he got an air and a ground game.

“But I suppose this is what happens and we’ve needed most of our list to play some AFL footy this year and our boys have done an outstandin­g job.”

The Bulldogs have used 41 players this season – more than any other club.

“We’ve had critical role players contribute to really important victories and we’ll need to call on a handful of those boys to play in a preliminar­y final,” Beveridge said.

“The great thing is that they’ve come into the team and (felt) like they’ve contribute­d in the past.

“We’ll have a different player to replace Cody who’ll bring a different skill set, but there are some lads there waiting in the wings that’ll come in and be an important part of our make-up.”

Johannisen has been the Bulldogs’ substitute in three of his 23 games this season, including both finals to date.

The 2016 Norm Smith medallist was unused in the eliminatio­n final victory over Essendon before replacing Weightman against Brisbane.

Wallis was the Bulldogs’ leading goalkicker in 2020 after being reinvented as a mid-sized forward but has been a peripheral figure this season, featuring in just six games.

Scott had played 20 games this season but was the unused substitute twice late in the campaign and is yet to feature during the finals.

Ugle-Hagan has kicked seven goals in five games this year but his slender frame is some concern matching up against opposition key defenders, making him unlikely to be used as a prime target in attack in the absence of injured teammate Josh Bruce.

Aaron Naughton, Josh Schache and ruckman Tim English provided most of the aerial presence in attack against Brisbane.

The Bulldogs may also need to find a replacemen­t for skipper Marcus Bontempell­i, who was due to have scans on an injured right knee on arrival in Perth yesterday.

The 25-year-old felt “ginger” but told Channel Seven after the game that initial tests were “pretty good”.

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? Joy and heartbreak: Lions skipper Dayne Zorko (left) looks on as Bulldogs players celebrate after Saturday night’s thrilling one-point semi-final win.
Picture: AAP Joy and heartbreak: Lions skipper Dayne Zorko (left) looks on as Bulldogs players celebrate after Saturday night’s thrilling one-point semi-final win.

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