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Pagan feature (CH 7)

9:38am  Apr 20, 2018

ET: Expect Bulldog bite

Heath O'Loughlin  June 19, 2017 11:51 AM

North Melbourne can expect a fired up Bulldogs outfit on Saturday night, with the premiers facing a barrage of criticism following a heavy loss on Sunday.

“Fundamentally ... they’ve got a problem and that’s that they’re still playing the same game they played last year,” Tim Watson told SEN.

“Everyone else has caught them. Everyone else has their handball game up and running.

“But those teams are actually sharper now than the Bulldogs were last year. They haven’t moved on in any way. There’s nothing new or different about the way they’re playing.”

The Bulldogs recorded their sixth loss of the year against Melbourne, falling by 57 points.

Watson said the Bulldogs lacked aggression.

“Last year when you watched the Bulldogs, even if they got beat, you would rarely say a side was more aggressive around the contest than them or outworked them around the contest,” Watson said.

“You can say that from almost every game this year, that they’ve been outworked and that sides have been harder and tougher than they have. They benchmarked that last year.

“Maybe it’s too hard to come up a year after that when you play that type of football when you’ve got other teams challenging you the way other teams are right now.”

Garry Lyon agreed saying it was, “hard to find a player who had improved”.

“I reckon the hunger has gone,” he said.

“They weren’t the best or the most talented team, but they were the most desperate and hardest, and when you’ve eaten well then perhaps you aren’t as desperate.”

Tom Boyd is now under the microscope according to Lyon for an underwhelming first half of the season.

“Let’s look at Tom at some stage because Tom had an unbelievable finals series,” Lyon said.

“But he’s got no presence out on the ground at the moment, has he?”

Making matters worse, the Dogs will be without Lin Jong, who has a suspected ACL injury.