PUPPY school will open to the public with the Western Bulldogs set to unveil their five fit draftees in today’s debut Ballarat game against Melbourne.
And while the Dogs’ summer headlines have focused on monster recruit Tom Boyd, Dale Morris says the smallest player in the AFL is one to watch out for.
Caleb Daniel, the 168cm ball winner who was rated by Champion Data as the fourth biggest draft steal, has carried his extraordinary work ethic into his maiden AFL summer.
Daniel — who will wear a helmet — played senior SANFL games last year, won under-18 All-Australian status and ran a 16.1 beep test but some clubs ruled him out because of his size.
“In training he’s the one that’s always last off the track, always working hardest already in his first year,” Morris said yesterday.
We let him know he’s the shortest player, too. I spoke about energy before and he’s got tons of it.
“I’m excited to see how he goes and I’m sure he’s going to do some nice things for this football club.”
But while Boyd is no certainty to play despite being named in the squad, Dogs fans will also get their first look at top pick Toby McLean, who has been handed Ryan Griffen’s No. 16 jumper.
Morris will captain the club with fellow vice-captain Jordan Roughead and skipper Bob Murphy taking a rest.
He said without himself, Matthew Boyd and Brett Goodes the average age would be about 20 but it presented an opportunity for the club’s emerging stars to help lead the way.
Morris nominated unseen inside midfielder Josh Prudden, Mitch Honeychurch and powerhouse Jake Stringer as three who could help fill Liberatore’s hole, while after an impressive summer Lin Jong is also in line for more opportunities as a clearance-winner.
Demons defender Tom McDonald said his side would treat the clash like a Round 1 game.
Jack Watts and Jack Viney have been included while exciting youngster Jesse Hogan was named after scans cleared him of a foot injury.
Melbourne NAB Challenge 2 injury list
Jeremy Howe (hamstring) – 2-3 weeks
Dean Kent (heel) – test
Alex Neal-Bullen (knee) 3-4 weeks
Christian Petracca (knee) – season
Jack Trengove (foot) – indefinite
Bernie Vince (hamstring) – 2-3 weeks
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