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Best 22 and draft needs: Western Bulldogs


The Western Bulldogs finished 13th on the ladder, winning eight games and sitting a tier below the teams competing for finals in 2018.

Significant injury issues across the board left them struggling to get any continuity, but it has allowed them to discover some players, which should give them some considerable depth and a few selection headaches.

Their midfield is stacked with talent. Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Lachie Hunter, Tom Liberatore, Caleb Daniel, Toby McLean, Mitch Wallis, Ed Richards and Josh Dunkley combine for one of the deepest groups in the competition.

However, the question mark remains about their key position players at both ends of the ground.

If they hold up, this could be a top eight team in 2019, especially when you inject whoever they take with pick seven and father-son prospect Rhylee West into the mix.

Here’s what their best 22 looks like pre-draft:

FB: Easton Wood, Zaine Cordy, Dale Morris
HB: Hayden Crozier, Aaron Naughton, Jason Johannisen
C: Lachie Hunter, Tom Liberatore, Toby McLean
HF: Caleb Daniel, Josh Schache, Ed Richards
FF: Billy Gowers, Tom Boyd, Liam Picken
Fol: Jack Trengove, Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae
Int: Mitch Wallis, Josh Dunkley, Patrick Lipinski, Bailey Williams

Long term needs

The Bulldogs should be looking to grab a key defender to offset the losses of Jordan Roughead and Marcus Adams.

Dale Morris probably only has another year left (or another five, who knows) and adding depth at the position will be very important for them.

Tom Boyd and Josh Schache haven’t worked as key forward pillars just yet, but both probably get one more season to prove they can get it done.

At both ends of the ground, they need warm bodies as the majority have proved unreliable injury-wise.

Short term needs

In a similar sense, the Dogs need to add key position depth, preferably down back if they want to be a top eight team next year.

If Tim English isn’t ready to take the full-time ruck mantle and Jack Trengove struggles in the role, the Dogs could potentially look to add a mature age ruckman.

Overall, the Dogs’ list build seems quite sound on paper.

Draft picks: 7, 27, 32, 45, 63, 75, 82

Who could they target?

The Dogs have committed to father-son prospect West who draft guru Callum Twomey rates as the 20th best prospect in the country.

They’ll likely take the ball-winning midfielder with their second-round pick, which will give them some additional midfield depth to go with what is already one of the strongest in the league.

With pick seven, Sandringham key position player Ben King seems to make perfect sense - should he still be available.

King played as a key defender for many years before swinging forward this year. He seems as though he can play both roles and coach Luke Beveridge can shape him however he likes.

Adding two of the best 20 players in the National Draft to this list could see the Dogs climbing high in 2019.

The Dogs have all the raw ingredients to be a finalist in 2019 and the cherry on top could be there at pick seven for them next week in Ben King.

best 22 and draft needs Western Bulldogs

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