THE twilight of Western Bulldogs’ forward Scott Welsh’s career was dulled over the pre-season after a back injury threatened him to contemplate retirement.
Now he’s feeling the pinch to stay in the team as the Bulldogs need for a tall forward arises again following its inability to kick a winning score against the Saints.
Conversely, the shining light of developing Bulldog ruckman and forward Ayce Cordy continues to glow as he bulks up in preparation for his senior AFL debut.
Two players at different ends of the spectrum were lining up on the Williamstown forward line in the VFL in the early part of the season.
The resurgent veteran pushed hard for selection and a got a call-up against his former team, Adelaide mid-season.
“It has been pretty difficult trying to get myself back and then I’d get injured again,” Welsh said.
“ I sort of just couldn’t get a month together so hopefully this time I’ve done the right thing. My body’s as good as its ever been now compared to what it has been in the past five years.”
The back injury which flared up after Christmas gave Welsh doubts about continuing his 189-game AFL career at his third club.
“It probably cost me a fair bit of the pre-season but I’m back now and hopefully I can start building the season up now,” he said.
The former Kangaroo and Crow booted 43 goals last year as a focal point in attack for the Bulldogs and is confident of returning to top form throughout the year but mindful that another injury could mean the end.
Welsh said he had worked on his forward pressure during the pre-season.
“I think they’ve got a very good forward line and it’s going to be hard to break into that forward line. I’ve just got to make sure that when they give me an opportunity that I’m ready to go. I think I can still offer something if I get that opportunity,” he said.
“I don’t think I’m being judged on goals. I think it’s my whole work rate and how you contribute to the team. I’ve been working on my forward pressure and that type of thing.”
The slim-framed Cordy, the Bulldogs prized father-son selection from last year’s AFL draft, has added almost nine kilograms to his body – 77.5kg to 86kg – after doing one extra weights session and moving up from his Ocean Grove family home to a host family in Hoppers Crossing to help his diet.
“I’m still the skinniest bloke there by a bloody mile but I’ve worked hard to get as much weight on as I could. I just can’t expect it to happen overnight,” Cordy said.
The 18-year-old said his expectations this season are simple: to put on more weight and play senior football.
“I’d be pretty disappointed if I don’t (make a senior appearance). If I want to have a long career here, I’ve got to start now,” he said.
The former Geelong Falcon has impressed in his games at Williamstown, mainly used up forward and sparingly in the ruck to rotate with Wayde Skipper.
“They’ve (the club) basically told me don’t expect it (to play AFL) straight away,” he said.
“ You arrive at the club with massive expectations but you come back to ground very quickly. The first couple of practice matches, you get smashed around a bit. And you realise blokes that aren’t even playing senior footy are a long way ahead of you.”
Gotch said Cordy’s arrival on to the AFL scene isn’t far away.
“I think the more he plays, the better he’s getting. We’re using him through the ruck and the midfield which we haven’t done all pre-season so he’s starting to get used to it,” he said.
By Brent Diamond
Tags: Western Bulldogs