Overlooked Bulldogs gun may wait even longer for return

Anna Harrington |

Jack Macrae may face more time on the sidelines despire the Bulldogs’ heavy loss to Melbourne.
Jack Macrae may face more time on the sidelines despire the Bulldogs’ heavy loss to Melbourne.

Coach Luke Beveridge says it’s too early to tell whether Jack Macrae will be called on to face Gold Coast after the experienced midfielder was left out of the Western Bulldogs’ opening loss to Melbourne.

Three-time All-Australian Macrae was omitted from Sunday’s 45-point defeat at the MCG after an interrupted pre-season, despite playing two VFL practice matches.

Fellow senior Bulldog Caleb Daniel was named substitute.

“With Jacko, he had a stress-related, through his femur, concern over the pre-season – he worked really hard over his off-season,” Beveridge said.

“And then he had that hamstring that he went down with and he missed quite a bit of training and running and his capacity to cover the ground needs to be there.

“I felt like their (Melbourne’s) midfield were able to do that better than us today.

“So we’ll just wait until Jack’s totally ready to perform at his absolute best with the ground cover. So he’s not far away.”

When asked if Macrae, who has dropped down the midfield pecking order in recent years, could feature in Ballarat against the Suns next Sunday, Beveridge said: “Too early – we’ll work through that during the week.”

Daniel was overlooked for a starting role behind recruits James Harmes, Nick Coffield and debutant Harvey Gallagher.

The 27-year-old replaced Ryley Sanders late in the third quarter and had 12 disposals – more than eight other Bulldogs.

Beveridge said Daniel typically played his “roles and reponsibilities … pretty well”, but he had been omitted in light of the strong pre-seasons of several teammates, although many of those will have been “frustrated” with their performances on Sunday.

When asked whether Daniel could start against the Suns, Beveridge said: “Too early. We’ll process that during the week.”

No.6 draft pick Sanders had been a revelation during the week and had collected 15 touches before being hooked.

“He’s fine. At that point in time he was one of a handful that could have come off for experience and stability in the team,” Beveridge said.

“Ryley’s going really well. He’s going to be a tremendous player for the club and he’s still learning. But he was the one.”

“We’ll look after him and make sure he heads into next week with a positive mindset.”

Sanders’ substitution came after consecutive turnovers, but Beveridge insisted that was purely a coincidence.