Bulldogs wary of under-fire Bombers' ruck power

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge isn't buying into queries over under-fire Essendon - he's more worried about their ruck dynamic duo.

The Bombers (2-2) will seek a response to their 69-point humiliation from Port Adelaide when they face Beveridge's charges (2-2) at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.

The Bulldogs are also attempting to hit back after a heart-breaking four-point loss to Geelong, when Rhys Stanley made Tim English and Sam Darcy's lives difficult.

Rucks Sam Draper and Todd Goldstein will be key to Essendon's midfield having any hope of combating a Bulldogs on-ball division led by Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Adam Treloar.

"There was some real instability at the stoppage in the first half through a couple of roles (against Geelong) and we felt like they had some ruck dominance in that game that we need to take care of," Beveridge said.

"I mean, we're coming up against two well-credentialled ruckmen in Draper and Todd Goldstein, and so it's going to be a challenge and our rucks in Tim and Sam are going to have their hands full. 

"It's going to be an important byplay in the game."

Tim English
Tim English (l) will have his hands full dealing with the Essendon ruck duo.

Beveridge resisted the temptation to call upon Rory Lobb, who is an emergency, as it would have made the Bulldogs too tall.

While both teams sit at 2-2, there is undoubtedly more heat on the Bombers given their meek second half against Port.

Essendon will be without midfielders Archie Perkins (hamstring) and Will Setterfield (knee) but regain Sam Durham from concussion and have recalled forward Alwyn Davey Jnr.

Beveridge expected a response from Brad Scott's charges.

"The Bombers had been pretty consistent until Port got the better of them probably late in the second quarter and then the game rolled on in Port's favour from there," he said. 

"So we'll look at what they've been doing, when they've probably been at their best. 

"I mean, there's no doubt that they've got some challenges with their injuries in their midfield and they're going to need to put players in there who will have to play critical roles for them, we understand that.

"But we respect what they've been doing. They've had a healthy, competitive and contested attitude and like every team we'll aim to be at our best and challenge them with what we can do there. 

"It's always convenient to say you're not going to take anyone lightly based on the fact that Port had a pretty good second half against them. They're going to come out with gritted teeth, and so we've got to be ready for that."

The Bulldogs dropped stalwart Caleb Daniel for tall defender James O'Donnell.

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