The way the Western Bulldogs choose to fill their key position and tall stocks for their make-or-break final-round match against Port Adelaide looms as one of this weekend’s most interesting selection decisions, with Luke Beveridge saying Stefan Martin will likely be available but not certain to be picked.
Martin has not played since round 12 but is set to be available this week following a groin injury, and given the Bulldogs’ stuttering form it seems likely the ex-Lion will return.
A misfiring midfield has been part of the Dogs’ concerns, with the team now a chance to miss the top four, although their destiny is in their own hands. It would be a staggering missed opportunity, given the Dogs had been cemented in the top two on the ladder since round three before dropping to fourth this week.
“We think he [Martin] is going to be available,” Beveridge told reporters on Wednesday.
“His magnet and the prospect of him coming into the team will be talked about. Whether we go there [select him] we will just have to wait and see.
“The confidence level in a player that’s been out for as long as Stef, regardless of how experienced he is, you couldn’t say you were convinced, not yet. You’d like to see [returns] in games in the middle of the year when everything isn’t necessarily on the line in comparison to this week.
“We will just work through it.”
Josh Bruce is missing for the rest of the season because of an ACL injury and Martin’s inclusion would, in theory, allow Tim English to spend more time forward alongside Aaron Naughton.