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

“Brodie’s been awesome but together, the two of them, they’ll actually improve each other and benefit from playing with each other,” Brayshaw said.

Gawn was named as the starting ruck in Melbourne’s team on Thurday night for Monday night’s match.


Bulldogs welcome back Keath; Bulldog Lobb urged to embrace boos

The Western Bulldogs will welcome back Alex Keath from concussion on Friday night, with the big man to replace Josh Bruce, wo suffered breaks to multiple ribs in the side’s loss to the Power.

The Dogs head to Optus Stadium to take on Fremantle, who made no change apart from the loss of Sam Switkowski with a calf injury.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has urged Rory Lobb to embrace the inevitable boos when the key forward confronts his former club.

Lobb’s messy exit from the Dockers at the end of last season means he will be enemy No.1 at Optus Stadium.

The 30-year-old has endured a tough start to his time at the Bulldogs, booting just three goals in four appearances.

Alex Keath.

Alex Keath.Credit: Getty Images

Fremantle have also struggled without Lobb, with the Dockers opening the season with a 2-3 record amidst some forward-line struggles.

Freo fans are tipped to give Lobb a frosty reception, but Beveridge doesn’t think the 207-centimetre spearhead will be put off his game.

“Rory’s expecting it, and we’ll help him deal with it and we’ll help him play as well as he can,” Beveridge told reporters on Thursday.

“I don’t think the booing of Rory Lobb tomorrow night is going to be an issue.

“It’s definitely topical when it comes to other players at different times, but we just need to welcome it and (welcome) the hostile environment we’re going to walk into tomorrow night.”

Brodie Grundy battles with Rory Lobb.

Brodie Grundy battles with Rory Lobb.Credit: Getty Images

Last week, Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley took issue at people booing 19-year-old recruit Jason Horne-Francis, saying people should be embarrassed heckling such a young player.

Sydney champion Adam Goodes was driven out of the game by booing that had racist undertones.

Beveridge doesn’t have an issue with booing, as long as it’s done in the right context.

“Booing is ingrained in our game … it’s quite a natural phenomenon as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

“From when we were all kids, at the footy, spectators have always tried to get the upper hand and help their team by booing opposition players.

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

Fremantle made just one change, slotting last week’s sub Will Brodie into the 22 to replace Sam Switkowski (calf).


Last week’s Bulldogs sub Toby McLean has replaced Mitch Hannan in the 22.

Two of the side’s most traumatic recent big-game losses have come at Optus Stadium.

They lost the 2021 grand final to Melbourne by 74 points, and coughed up a 41-point lead in last year’s 13-point elimination-final defeat to Fremantle.

But there have also been happy memories, most notably a 101-point win over West Coast last year.

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

“It’s not an issue. You’ve got to move on from episodes like that,” he said.

“We’ve had a similarly traumatic ending to a year the year before that, on the same oval.

“But we’ve had some really good wins out here and the boys enjoy playing here.”

Meanwhile, premiership ruckman Scott Lycett won’t play against his old side West Coast after being axed by Port Adelaide at the selection table.

Lycett, Dylan Williams and Jackson Mead have all been dropped, while Charlie Dixon will miss with a knee injury in a blow for the Power, who will hand a debut to Ollie Lord and bring in Tom Jonas and Brynn Teakle.

Eagles captain Luke Shuey has overcome a hamstring injury to help bolster the Eagles’ stocks, but Elliot Yeo (adductor), Brady Hough and Noah Long are all out injured after the Eagles’ loss to Geelong.

Jack Gunston returns for the Lions against the Giants, with Darcy Fort omitted, while Brent Daniels and Harry Perryman are back for Greater Western Sydney, who have dropped Adam Kennedy, and lost Tom Green (suspension) and Cooper Hamilton (injured).

Gary Rohan and Jonathan Ceglar will play for the Cats against the Swans, who have brought in Aaron Francis to top up their tall stocks. Ryan Clarke has also been named for Sydney in the grand final rematch. Buddy Franklin has not been named.

Hawthorn and Adelaide have named extended squads, as have Carlton and St Kilda. Mitch McGovern is certain to start for the Blues, as is Tim Membrey for the Saints.

Alex Cinotta is a chance to make his debut for Carlton after being named in an eight-man bench.

And Gold Coast will be bolstered by Jarrod Witts’ return to the ruck. The Suns and Roos have also named extended squads.

– With AAP

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