Top Dog won t back down
Top Dog won't back down

Western Bulldogs tagger Liam Picken is determined to maintain the hard line approach which saw him negate Gary Ablett last week when the team plays Fremantle tomorrow according to former captain Matthew Boyd.

Picken restricted Ablett to 24 possessions and no goals last week which was his equal lowest tally for the season. The only other time he was held goal-less was when Ryan Crowley tagged the dual Brownlow medallist and kept him to 24 touches in round two.

Picken earned AFL Coaches Association award votes for his efforts but Suns coach Guy McKenna expressed concerns about his tactics. The AFL match review panel investigated an incident where a frustrated Ablett threw his elbow back at Picken but didn’t lay a charge.

Picken kept Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones quiet before the bye, restricted Essendon’s Brent Stanton to only 13 possessions in round seven and Boyd said he’d be targeting one of Fremantle’s stars at Etihad Stadium tomorrow.

“He’s like a dog with a bone,” Boyd said.

“We rate him really, really highly at our footy club. We not only rate him highly but respect him highly.

“The job he did for us last week against probably the best player of all time, some might say, was pretty impressive.

He’s a very determined player, he’s a very team orientated player and I’m sure he’ll have a team orientated role again which he’ll do with vigour and enthusiasm.”

Picken held Michael Barlow to only 19 possessions last year and kept Stephen Hill to just eight disposals in 2012.

He’ll have plenty of choices about who to tag because Nat Fyfe, David Mundy, Hill and Barlow are all in good form.
Boyd said Picken and Fremantle tagger Crowley had a lot in common.

“We had a laugh and said we should send Picko to Crowley and see how the two pit bulls go at it,” he said.

“Crowley is a terrific player for Fremantle and an extremely valuable part of their team. He does a great job for
them so I’m sure a lot of people will be watching with interest to see how those match ups go.”

Boyd predicted a heavily stoppage-based game as both teams tried to take advantage of their ruckmen. Aaron Sandilands and Will Minson are the two leading ruckmen for hit outs this year.

They haven’t played in the same match since 2009 and Boyd was confident that Minson could give their midfield an advantage.

“He had an unbelievable year last year for us and he’s just starting to come back into some really good form now after a bit of an interrupted pre-season,” Boyd said.

“With the style of footy that Freo play and the style that we’re trying to play as well, it is going to be a pretty contested game. The clearances and stoppages and that contested side of the game are going to be a real key to determining the result.”

The West Australian

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