The Western Bulldogs officially welcomed Adam Treloar into the fold as Josh Dunkley returned to Whitten Oval for pre-season training after having his AFL trade request go unfulfilled.
Dunkley wanted out in November, citing a desire for more midfield time, but was denied a move to Essendon when the clubs could not reach an agreement.
Treloar’s high-profile switch from Collingwood during the trade period only served to increase pressure for spots alongside Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore, Jack Macrae and Bailey Smith in a stacked Bulldogs on-ball division for 2021.
“There’s certainly a lot of depth there, but competition for spots is good,” Dogs defender Hayden Crozier told reporters on Wednesday, adding the players consider Dunkley’s trade wish as water under the bridge.
“A lot of those guys in the midfield can play different positions, as well, and a bit of flexibility in the team is nice.
“Bevo (coach Luke Beveridge) enjoys having guys who can play multiple positions.
“I’m sure the boys aren’t too fussed what positions they’re going to be playing, they just want to be playing.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how it goes over the next couple of months in the match sim and all that kind of stuff, but we’re confident the group we put out in round one will be good.”
Treloar made a brief training appearance with the Bulldogs’ first to fourth-year players in December and has had an instant impact on his new teammates, with the majority back on the track on Wednesday.
“He’s vocal, he’s been really good,” Crozier said.
“Adam’s someone that the club looked at last year and thought that he’d fit the bill really well.
“He’s the ultimate professional. I’ve caught up with him a couple of times, he’s got a great footy brain, is a great fella and will add a lot to this group going forward.”
Smith and Tim English were standouts for the Bulldogs on their return to training, with the third-year midfielder winning the MAS (maximal aerobic speed) running test.
Mobile ruckman English has added more muscle to his previously lanky 205cm frame.
Crozier is fit again after post-season toe surgery kept him sidelined for seven weeks and Toby McLean had his first AlterG running session since an anterior cruciate ligament rupture four months ago.