Western Bulldogs welcome back Alex Keath, Rory Lobb urged to embrace boos


“Brody is great, but together, the two of them, they’re going to actually improve each other and benefit from each other’s games,” Bradshaw said.

Gaine was named starter for Melbourne on Thursday night for Monday night’s game.

Associated Press

Bulldogs welcome back Keith; Bulldog Lobb urges hugs, boos

The Western Bulldogs will welcome Alex Keath back from a concussion on Friday night, with the big man replacing Josh Bruce, who suffered multiple rib fractures in the team’s loss to Power.

The Dogs travel to the Optus Stadium to take on Freemantle, who are unchanged apart from the loss of Sam Switkowski to a calf injury.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge urged Rory Lobb to accept the inevitable boos as key forwards face his former team.

Loeb’s chaotic exit from the Dockers at the end of last season means he will be enemy number one at the Optus Stadium.

The 30-year-old has endured a difficult start for the Bulldogs, scoring just three goals in four appearances.

Alex Keys.

Alex Keys.Credit: Getty Images

Freemantle also struggled without Loeb, with the Dockers opening the season 2-3 amid some struggles up front.

Freo fans tend to take Lobb coldly, but Beveridge doesn’t think the 207cm spearhead will put him off the game.

“Rory has anticipated it, we’re going to help him deal with it, we’re going to help him play as well as he can,” Beveridge told reporters.

“I don’t think Rory Loeb’s boos will be a problem tomorrow night.

“It’s definitely a hot topic for other players at different times, but we just have to welcome it and (welcome) the hostile environment we’re going to walk into tomorrow night.”

Brodie Grundy fights Rory Lobb.

Brodie Grundy fights Rory Lobb.Credit: Getty Images

Last week, Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinckley took issue with people booing 19-year-old recruit Jason Horn Francis, saying people should be embarrassed to boo such a young player.

Sydney champion Adam Goodes was ejected from the race after being racistly booed.

Beveridge is okay with the booing, as long as it’s done in the right context.

“The booing is so ingrained in our game … it’s a natural thing to do in my opinion,” he said.

“Since we were kids, in football, the spectators always try to get the upper hand and help their team by booing the opposing player.

“But if there’s something sinister and nasty about it, then I don’t think any of us condoned it.”

Freemantle made just one change, placing last week’s replacement Will Brody in their 22-man squad to replace Sam Sweetkowski (calf).


Bulldogs backup Toby McLean replaced No. 22 player Mitch Hannan last week.

The team’s two worst defeats in recent major games have come at the Optus Stadium.

They lost the 2021 Grand Final to Melbourne by 74 points and finished last year’s 13-point knockout final ahead of Freemantle by 41 points.

But there are fond memories, most notably a 101-point victory over West Coast last year.

Beveridge doesn’t think last year’s knockout final loss to the Dockers will continue to haunt his players.

“It’s not a problem. You have to come out of that episode,” he said.

“We had a similarly traumatic ending at the same oval the year before that.

“But we’ve had some really good wins here and the kids love playing here.”

Meanwhile, Premier League star Lackman Scott Leicester will not play against his old club West Coast after being knocked out of the selection list by Port Adelaide.

Lycett, Dylan Williams and Jackson Mead are all out, while Charlie Dixon will miss out with a knee injury, a blow to Power, which will debut for Ollie Lord and bring in Tom Jonas and Brynn Teakle.

Eagles captain Luke Shuey overcame a hamstring injury to help lift the Eagles, but Elliot Yeo (adductor), Brady Hough and Noah Long were all sidelined after the Hawks’ loss to Geelong.

Jack Gunston returns for Lions vs. Giants, Fort Darcy eliminated, while Brent Daniels and Harry Perriman return to Greater Western Sydney, who waive Adam Kennedy and lose Tom Green (suspended) and Cooper Hamilton (injured).

Gary Rohan and Jonathan Ceglar will represent the Cats against the Swans, who have brought in Aaron Francis to complement their high-ranking squad. Ryan Clarke also named Sydney in the Finals rematch. Buddy Franklin’s name has not been announced.

Hawthorn and Adelaide as well as Carlton and St Kilda have all named expansion teams. Mitch McGovern is sure to start for the Blues, as is Tim Memblay for the Saints.

Alex Cinotta has the chance to make his Carlton debut after being named on the eight-man bench.

The Gold Coast will get a boost from the return of Jarrod Witts. The Suns and Rose also designated expansion lineups.

with AAP

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