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  1. #1
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    New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form


    HAYDEN Crozier's move to the Western Bulldogs is paying off, with the former Docker declaring he's in the best form of his career.

    The running defender amassed a career-high 30 possessions in the two-point loss to North Melbourne last weekend, and that impressive performance comes off the back a standout game against Port Adelaide in round 13.

    Lured from Fremantle to add some run and carry off half-back, the 24-year-old Victorian is starting to justify his recruitment with 21 rebound 50s over the past fortnight giving the Dogs' defence a much-needed counterpunch.

    "I think it was my best game (at AFL level), but the last two weeks have been pretty consistent," Crozier told AFL.com.au.

    "We had a few key backs out (injured), and that had forced me to play as a third tall, so it was good to get up the ground and play on instinct.

    "'Bevo' trusts us, so if you think you can get off your man and impact, you impact.

    "He's shown full trust in the backline group and we're working really well at the moment."

    A charm offensive from Luke Beveridge was one of main reasons Crozier made the Whitten Oval his new home, and the premiership coach isn't surprised with the form the former forward has displayed.

    "He did play well against Port Adelaide the week before, but his first half (against North Melbourne) was off the charts," Beveridge said.

    "When we expressed interest in him coming over (from Perth) and playing more as a permanent defender, we could see he had the necessary attributes to put the opposition on edge with his run, great courage and very penetrating kick."

    Crozier has taken time to hit top form after a knee injury in the opening minutes of round one left him sidelined for a month and annoyed for longer, as the momentum he built up over a prosperous summer had come to a grinding halt.

    "My running ability and strength in the gym was the best it has ever been, so it was disappointing my first contest of the season ended in injury," Crozier said.

    "It was hard watching the team get smacked in the first two games, so I wanted to get back in and help the team.

    "Then I was frustrated when I first came back from my knee injury because I wanted to be playing better than I was. I felt my defensive side was OK, it was more the offensive side by trusting myself to run off, impact and create.

    "I feel now I'm coming into my own."

    Two other new faces have also caught the eye with their output in the Bulldogs’ backline this season, with impressive draftees Aaron Naughton and Ed Richards also performing important roles despite being in their teens.

    Richards has been a standout with his searing pace, elite foot skills and mob of fiery red hair, while Naughton's impressive debut campaign hasn't come as a surprise to Crozier, as the intercepting key defender won him over with his performances for Fremantle's WAFL affiliate Peel Thunder last year.

    While the talented duo has been seconded to attack to help with the Dogs' scoring woes, Crozier believes they have the tools to succeed wherever they play.

    "I never played a game with Aaron at Peel, but you could just tell he was a class above for his age, and he hasn't put a foot wrong since he's come to the club," Crozier said.

    "His strength is his competitiveness and aerial prowess, and those attributes definitely transfer from defence to the forward line, so it's a good problem for 'Bevo' to have.

    "The same with Ed as well, they play with a lot of confidence and that's what you want from young players."

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  3. #2
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    Re: New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    Another player who had his doubters, but has done well.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  5. #3
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    Re: New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    Quote Originally Posted by bornadog View Post
    Another player who had his doubters, but has done well.
    He's played 1 good game, 1 decent game, plus several shockers, he's hardly done well. He's into his 8th season in the AFL, he should be playing a lot better a lot more consistently than he has. He's got 2 more years on his contract and he'd want to improve dramatically for the club to get value from his trade.
    Western Bulldogs: We exist to win premierships

  6. #4
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    Re: New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    Quote Originally Posted by Greystache View Post
    He's played 1 good game, 1 decent game, plus several shockers, he's hardly done well. He's into his 8th season in the AFL, he should be playing a lot better a lot more consistently than he has. He's got 2 more years on his contract and he'd want to improve dramatically for the club to get value from his trade.
    Consistent output is what's required. We're not likely to get what he produced last week very often, but, if he can hit near the same level he did against Port regularly then he'll be fine.

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  8. #5
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    Re: New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    Pretty good tonight. I reckon he will be a good pickup for us. Like the fact he is bold in his approach and has a good jump to punch or mark.

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  10. #6
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    Re: New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    Quote Originally Posted by josie View Post
    Pretty good tonight. I reckon he will be a good pickup for us. Like the fact he is bold in his approach and has a good jump to punch or mark.
    He did well last night. He has a good belnd of attacking and defensive instincts. A good guy to have at the club.
    Tough times don't last, tough people do

  11. #7
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    Re: New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    Another good game from Crozier. Very happy we signed him.

  12. #8
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    Re: New Dog's move back is a leap forward in form

    Quote Originally Posted by Greystache View Post
    He's played 1 good game, 1 decent game, plus several shockers, he's hardly done well. He's into his 8th season in the AFL, he should be playing a lot better a lot more consistently than he has. He's got 2 more years on his contract and he'd want to improve dramatically for the club to get value from his trade.
    His last 3 games have been very good. Incidentally it comes at a time that Suckling has been missing. Maybe it is time to try Suckling at half forward.

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