In the latest edition of Opposition Watch, Swans Media explores the Western Bulldog’s camp ahead of Thursday night’s clash at the SCG.

Recent form

After a sluggish start to the season, the Bulldogs bounced back emphatically in Round 3 with a big victory over last year’s finals’ nemesis the GWS Giants. In a feisty affair, the Bulldogs led throughout to score a comfortable 24-point victory. 

Ins and outs

The Bulldogs will be forced to make at least one change, with midfielder Josh Dunkley ruled out for Thursday night’s clash. With just seconds remaining in the match against GWS, Dunkley landed awkwardly in a marking contest and will be sidelined for an extended period with a syndesmosis injury.

On Tuesday, the Club confirmed that defender Louis Butler would make his debut on Thursday night against the Swans. The 18-year-old is noted for his speed and decision making in defence.

Key match-up

Despite the loss of Josh Dunkley and continued absence of Lachie Hunter, the Bulldogs engine room still contains many weapons, with the likes of Bontempelli, Macrae, Daniel and Liberatore leading the way.

Last week against the Kangaroos, George Hewitt was given the job of curtailing the dangerous Shaun Higgins and excelled in the role, limiting Higgins’ impact to just 11 disposals.

Despite making a name for himself as more offensive midfielder last year and finishing runner-up in the Bob Skilton Medal, given the strong mix of Bulldogs mids, Hewitt could find himself with another defensive job on his hands. The questions is, who do you target? The most likely candidates would be Macrae or Bontempelli.

Last time they met

It’s been a long time between drinks since the Swans and Bulldogs last met – all the way back in Round 1 of 2019 at Marvel Stadium.

A poor first half showing from the Swans which saw them post just a solitary goal, set up what would be a comfortable victory for the Dogs in the season opener.

Bontempelli was instrumental in the win with his 29 disposals, seven tackles and goal earning him three Brownlow votes.

What they said

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge’s press conference ahead of the Round 4 match against the Swans…

“I think [last week against the GWS Giants] it was a four-quarter output from our players and that’s where we wanted to be.”

“Our focus was a to play a hard, competitive game, also with an eye to make sure we created enough scoring opportunities as we can, to really put the GWS side on the backfoot.

“I think we created enough chances but didn’t take them, so there is a real improvement we can focus on against Sydney…completing our plays. I think it would have been an excellent score line for us [against GWS] if we had of.

“Sydney were impressive last week against the Kangaroos. They’ve started the season with a better, consistent brand than many. If we take our eye of what we need to do, Sydney will get the better of us.”