Big Dog ‘really ill’ with flu, likely to miss another week

RUCKMAN Tim English is set to miss another game with illness next week as the Western Bulldogs look to get on a winning run after their strong victory over Collingwood on Friday night.

The Dogs were too strong for the Magpies at Marvel Stadium, running out 48-point winners to take their season to 4-5 after last year’s Grand Final performance.

They will push to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since the finals last year with their clash against Gold Coast next week in Ballarat but are expecting to again be without their first-choice big man, who has been hit hard by the flu over the past week.

MAGPIES v BULLDOGS Full match details and stats

Coach Luke Beveridge praised the performance of big man Jordon Sweet, who had 26 hit-outs and 13 disposals against the Pies, and said he would again shoulder the ruck duties against the Suns.

“I don’t think Tim will come back this week. I mentioned he’d been really ill and I mean really ill and so I don’t think he’ll be ready to play next week so ‘Sweety’ is likely to continue on,” Beveridge said post-game.

“Jarrod Witts got the 10 coaches votes last week and was really influential in the game against the Swans having studied them in the lead-up, so he’ll be a big challenge for Sweety but it’s likely to be a similar (ruck) set up as it was tonight.

“(English) just has a really, really bad bout of this flu. It’s just really knocked him around. Nothing sinister, we think he’ll be OK, but he’s probably dropped a little bit of weight and it will take a while to get his bearings again.”

The Dogs were well led by their star-studded midfield, including brilliant performances from Bailey Smith, Adam Treloar and Josh Dunkley, but youngsters such as Sweet, Buku Khamis, Rhylee West and debutant Luke Cleary were also contributors in the win.

“A night like tonight just gives us a little bit of belief and stability and probably [shows] some depth as well. We played 41 players last year and were able to continue to win games, and this year with the injury toll we just haven’t been able to cover it. Out of some hardship comes opportunity so that’s really pleasing for me and for all of us working with the boys,” Beveridge said.

Magpies counterpart Craig McRae was left frustrated by his side’s slow start to the contest, giving up a six-goal-to-one opening term. He pointed to some game-play method that was off and lamented his side’s missed opportunity on the big stage.

“I don’t want to sit here and make excuses for our effort because I thought we were poor. I think anyone watching at home would say the same and [would] be disappointed in the way we went about it,” McRae said.

“You’ve got to give credit to them, they were up and about and a different level to what we were and I don’t want to take away from that but I just want to be better than that. I want to put a display on. Friday night lights are bright and they were shining on us and we were disappointing.”

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