Bulldogs look to add aggressive streak

The Western Bulldogs will attempt to become a more robust unit in 2020 after last year's humiliating finals exit.

EASTON WOOD at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
EASTON WOOD at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Expect a rougher, tougher Western Bulldogs outfit this season as they seek to prevent being "beaten up" like they were during last year's ignominious finals exit.

The nature of the elimination final thrashing at the hands of Greater Western Sydney made it one of those September defeats that hurts more than most.

But key defender Zaine Cordy said it would act as a spur for the Bulldogs as they attempt to harden up and cement a place among the competition's best sides in 2020.

"I think a few teams had thought that we were a little bit soft in the underbelly, so this year we've really focused on just being more aggressive in everything we do, just to prepare ourselves in case a team throws that at us again," Cordy said.

"If we can get a couple of those harder boys around the footy we should do alright."

Five months on, Cordy admitted the 58-point loss to arch rivals GWS still sits in the guts of a proud playing group that was torn to shreds on the big stage.

"It wasn't expected what GWS did, but they did do it and they did it pretty well," Cordy said.

"That definitely stuck with us and a few of the boys have still got some sore wounds from it.

"We'll be using that as motivation throughout the year. Especially when we play them (in round three), it's going to be a pretty hot contest."

Cordy did not miss a game last year, taking his career tally to 71 in five seasons, including the 2016 premiership.

But the 23-year-old enters 2020 facing a fight to remain in the side after the arrival of trade recruit Alex Keath to sit alongside fellow tall defender Jackson Trengove and former skipper Easton Wood.

"We've got a lot more competition for spots now, which is always healthy," Cordy said.

"We don't really know how the team's going to look at the moment so we're all trying to put our best foot forward.

"You have to play well or you get dropped, but it's very healthy and I'm excited about it."

The Bulldogs open their AFL pre-season series against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on February 21.


AAP