Does interchange limit favour Dogs deep midfield?
Eyebrows were raised when the Western Bulldogs added gun midfielder Adam Treloar to the mix of one of the deepest midfields in the AFL.
At the time, the only reasoning for the Bulldogs to trade in Treloar, who was getting squeezed out of Collingwood for salary cap reasons, was to provide a replacement for Josh Dunkley, who had requested a trade to Essendon.
The Bulldogs were only going to entertain a Dunkley trade in the event of an offer from the Bombers that was too good to refuse.
Both the potential Dunkley deal to Essendon and Treloar’s move to the kennel went down to the wire.
Dunkley never became a Bomber as Essendon could not satisfy Bulldogs list manager Sam Power in a trade.
Power held all the aces because Dunkley had only signed a contract extension through to the end of 2022 last year.Embed from Getty Images
It was widely being reported on draft night that Treloar’s move to the Bulldogs would be dependent on Dunkley exiting the club, but the Bulldogs made no secret in the days leading up to the climax of the trade period that the Dunkley situation had little bearing on the Treloar negotiations.
As the clock ticked down to the trade deadline, the paperwork on a trade deal between Collingwood and the Bulldogs finally came in, with a minute to spare. Treloar was finally a Bulldogs.
With Treloar going in and Dunkley staying put, it has given the Bulldogs one of the deepest midfields in the competition.
One of Dunkley’s concerns – time, or lack thereof, allocated to him in the heart of the midfield – remains an issue for Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge to sort out before the 2021 season.
If Beveridge can gets all the ingredients right, the Bulldogs have a midfield that can take them deep into the finals. If one or two of the parts are not happy, there could be some disharmony in the team. ‘Bevo’ might need to be more manager than coach at times next season.
Could the Bulldogs bloated midfield be a blessing in disguise?Embed from Getty Images
Last week, the AFL announced a few new rules, with one in particular favouring teams with deep midfields like the Bulldogs.
The interchange cap of 75 per game could work in the Bulldogs favour.
Their need to rotate between positions on the ground – as opposed to through the interchange bench – could satisfy all the Bulldogs midfielders with more time on the ground, which could make them more accepting of the resting forward or in defence.
Now that the Bulldogs deep midfield is here to stay, it is up to Beveridge to best utilise the new interchange rule to his advantage.