The Western Bulldogs are a “wild card chance” to beat Melbourne in their second grand final and keep their slim finals hopes alive.
However, according to Fox Footy’s David King, Demons boss Max Gaugh should stay away.
King said if the Dogs want to take the four points and meet the top eight, just like in Round 1, the Dogs will have to look sideways and pick the short.
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“This is a must win if you want to play in the finals. “I think they’re going to find Melbourne in a big place, at a good time,” he said on AFL 360.
“They were one of the first teams to go the long way to the underdog.
“They changed the ball and when they were able to get the ball at 45 degrees in the lane they were able to score.
“Put it to the max! Look for a shorter target, look for a side target.
“If (star forward Aaron Naughton) can come back from a busy week and the midfield can provide enough, then they’re a big chance.
King highlighted the work of the Dogs’ midfield when the sides last met in Round 1 – a 26-point win in Melbourne.
On that occasion, Naughton “led (Demons defender) Steven May in a dance of joy for 25 minutes,” King said, when boss Marcus Bontempelli was able to find space.
“In the second season, they scored three goals, one from midfield,” he praised.
“It was 18-9 from the middle for the game.
“If they are and they’re ready to be involved, you can get them. They’re going to win this and make the finals.”
King also cited Tom Liberatore’s “all-Australian form” as key to the Dogs’ victory.
AFL360 contributor Leigh Montagna agreed the Dogs should be on top if they win in the middle, with Melbourne having been “beaten” in the middle in recent weeks.
“In the last two weeks, they have been sitting on the last point,” he said.
Montagna said the Demons will have to reconsider their plan to knock Salem Christian out of the playoffs given the danger the Dogs pose.
Champion Data reports that the Western Bulldogs are the number one scoring team in the standings.
“If it’s Bailey Smith or Josh Dunkley, Bontempelli at half-forward[who was left as a spare in the Salem move]we know the damage the Bulldogs can do.
“(Melbourne) are not defending like last year.”
The Dogs are currently outside the top eight percentile.
But they have one of the toughest runs home against Geelong with potential games against Geelong, Fremantle, GSS and Hawthorn.