Western Bulldogs ruck Jordan Roughead says his teammates want to keep playing an annual match in Cairns.
Right time, right place?
The Western Bulldogs certainly hope that Saturday’s AFL fixture with down-and-out Gold Coast in Cairns can deliver the heart-starter their season sorely requires.
The Suns are without key duo Gary Ablett and Steven May and boast a terrible record in the north of their home state.
The Dogs have won all three iterations of the fixture, played each July since 2014, by an average of over five goals.
But that form line contrasts with an inconsistent season for Luke Beveridge’s side.
The Bulldogs are yet to win outside Melbourne all year and unable to string back-to-back wins together since round rounds four and five against North Melbourne and Brisbane – the league’s bottom two sides.
Perhaps that’s why Jordan Roughead was keen to elevate the importance of Saturday night’s match.
“It’s as important as any other game we’re going to play this year,” he said from Cairns.
“We can’t look too far ahead.
“We were pretty encouraged with some of the form we showed last week. We’re going to try and string together some wins now which is what we’ve got to do.”
Luke Beveridge has made one change for the clash, with Easton Wood available again after suspension, replacing Jake Stringer (hamstring).
There’s also doubt over Jack Redpath’s fitness, though he has travelled and trained in Far North Queensland.
Under-fire Suns coach Rodney Eade will be missing midfield maestro Ablett (hamstring), co-captain May (hamstring) and Jarryd Lyons (ankle), another forced omission.
Into their side comes Brayden Fiorini, Jesse Lonergan and first-gamer Jack Scrimshaw.
Conditions might suit the Bulldogs, without key talls Tom Boyd, Travis Cloke, Stringer and possibly Redpath.
Beveridge’s side are the best tacklers in the competition – averaging 76 each weekend – the Suns are second-last with just 64.
Roughead said he’d like the club’s tie up with Cazaly’s Stadium to continue beyond the current deal.
“The club will make a decision on it but as a playing group we really enjoy the chance to get up here,” he said.