The big guns are back tonight for the Western Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have recalled captain Bob Murphy, forwards Travis Cloke and Tory Dickson, midfielder Mitch Wallis and veteran defender Dale Morris for Friday night’s AFL blockbuster against the Geelong Cats at Simonds Stadium.
For every action there is a reaction and the outs are just as eye catching.
Star onballer Tom Liberatore is headed for a stint in the VFL with Footscray, having collected just eight disposals in a disappointing performance against the West Coast Eagles last round.
Liberatore’s omission is a surprise considering rain is forecast, which could provide tailor-made conditions for the inside midfielder.
Premiership players Toby McLean, Fletcher Roberts and Zaine Cordy have all been omitted, while Matthew Boyd is out with a shoulder injury.
The Bulldogs are sitting just inside the top eight with an identical 5-3 record with Geelong.
It is a hugely important game for both clubs with a top four position up for grabs by the end of the night.
For the Bulldogs, a victory at a ground that has proven to be a graveyard in recent years would send a statement to the rest of the competition.
The last time the Dogs beat Geelong was back in 2009 and they haven’t won at Simonds Stadium since 2003.
The bookmakers are not reading too much into the history between the sides with the Dogs installed as slight favourites.
One of the keys to the Bulldogs snapping their Geelong hoodoo is stopping the ‘Dangerwood’ midfield partnership of Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood.
One area the Cats could have the upper hand is the ruck with under-sized Bulldogs ruckman Tom Boyd again having to work against Cats beanpole Zac Smith.
Jordan Roughead, who has evolved into the Bulldogs No. 1 ruck in recent times, will have another run with Footscray in the VFL to build up his match fitness.
Boyd, more so a makeshift ruckman, should be commended for his tireless work around the ground, and Smith should know he will be in for a tough time.
The inclusion of Morris is huge for the Bulldogs, as he could go head-to-head with Geelong full forward Tom Hawkins.
Bulldogs youngster Marcus Bontempelli looms as a match-winner.
Dogs fans will be thrilled to see Wallis return from the sickening broken leg he sustained last season.
Wallis has been in a sizzling form for Footscray, named in the best players in all three of his games on return.
The first bounce is at 7.50pm.
Meanwhile, Footscray will face Geelong in the VFL at the Victoria University Whitten Oval on Saturday at 2.10pm.