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New Bulldog Keath on track for AFL pre-season

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Keath, who went under the knife in October, has ramped up his training load in recent weeks.

New captain Marcus Bontempelli was hopeful the 28-year-old would be available to play a role when the Bulldogs take on North Melbourne in their February 21 pre-season opener at Marvel Stadium.

“Keathy’s done everything right from a rehab point of view and he’s obviously now on track to play in the Marsh [pre-season] games,” Bontempelli told reporters on Monday.

“It’s a really good sign and good for us to sort of build some chemistry with him and Joshy. They’re going well.”

Keath is expected to slot into a key defensive post alongside a combination of Zaine Cordy, Jackson Trengove and Easton Wood, while Bruce will add firepower to a tall forward line with Aaron Naughton and Josh Schache.

“They’ve fitted in almost seamlessly,” Bontempelli said.

“They’re such quality people and professionals and that makes it easy to have them come into the group and have an impact straight away.

Josh Bruce (left) in a contest with Patrick Lipinski at Bulldogs training on Monday.

Josh Bruce (left) in a contest with Patrick Lipinski at Bulldogs training on Monday.Credit:AAP

“I guess as a group that’s what you want them to feel; you want them to feel comfortable straight away so they can feel like it’s home pretty quickly.”

Bontempelli was buoyed by the maturity Keath and Bruce had brought to a relatively inexperienced playing group.

“We’re quite a young team still, young in experience and age as well, so to add two blokes who have both been around a little while – and we obviously know how they can play – was a big win for us,” Bontempelli said.

AAP

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