Sports

Bont carrying a shoulder issue, Tuohy unfazed by Smith headbutt

THE MID-SEASON bye couldn’t have come at a better time for Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli.

Having spent large portions of the season thus far in attack, coach Luke Beveridge said Bontempelli has been carrying a shoulder issue.

“Marcus has had a minor shoulder-AC thing going on, which the players put up with here and there,” Beveridge said after the Dogs’ 13-point defeat to Geelong on Friday night.

“Ed (Richards) should be fine, I think ‘Gardy’ (Ryan Gardner) hurt his wrist, so we’ll have to have a look at that.

“One or two of the boys were a little ginger coming off a six-day break out of Perth, but that’s where they really steeled themselves and worked themselves into the ground after limited training week. It was great we could come at them, but it was just a shame we couldn’t drag ourselves across the line.”

Geelong got out to a 40-point lead, which the Bulldogs dragged into a five-point margin in the last quarter but ultimately lost by 13.

Dogs star Bailey Smith was reported for a headbutt on Zach Tuohy in a three-quarter time scuffle.

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“I’m not aware he’s reported, and I haven’t spoken to him. I’m aware something’s happened, but I have no detail on it and I haven’t seen it,” Beveridge said.

“If there’s something that’s happened, I’ll be briefed on it soon, but hopefully there’s nothing in it, whatever it was.”

Geelong coach Chris Scott had a slightly different take on the matter.

“I made some gag about Irishmen and headbutts, but they made me swear I wouldn’t say it (in the press conference), but it’s too late now,” Scott said.

“I spoke to ‘Reg’ (Tuohy) really, really briefly and he wasn’t worried about it. I don’t like talking about those things in relation to the quality of the person or the player but he’s a star, and Reg doesn’t have a problem with it.”

Geelong also have the bye next week, and Scott is looking forward to welcoming back a host of players, having fielded just one pure key defender in Sam De Koning after Jake Kolodjashnij’s late withdrawal (health and safety protocols).

“Dangerfield will come back after the break, that’ll make a big difference, but the guys in there (the midfield) were up for the challenge. I don’t like to individualise, but Tom Atkins going in there has really given us a lift. It’s often the case when you are a little undermanned you find out some things you wouldn’t otherwise, like Tom Stewart going down (last year) helps Jack Henry.

“When Kolodjashnij went out, we didn’t have an option to bring in a key defender, we don’t have one. The bye’s come at a good time, we’ll get half a dozen back after the bye.

“When we get Henry back, Stewart back, Mitch Duncan’s playing in defence a little bit, we’re optimistic around the improvement that’s still left in that group.”

 

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