VENUE & TIME: Manuka Oval, Saturday 28 April, 1.45pm (AEST)
HEAD TO HEAD: First meeting
Number one draft pick Jonathon Patton (knee) played a half in the NEAFL and is closing in on an AFL debut. Setanta o'hAilpin kicked three goals in the same game and is in contention. Jeremy Cameron (corked thigh) is likely to return, while Stephen Clifton (wrist) is still a few weeks away. Kurt Aylett (knee) and Josh Growden (leg) are both listed as indefinite absentees.
Brendan McCartney is still without several important players, mainly Dale Morris (leg - indefinite) and Tom Williams (shoulder - nine weeks). Brodie Moles (ankle) and James Mulligan (calf) will undergo tests. Lukas Markovic was a late withdrawal for the win against Melbourne and will be assessed during the week. Christian Howard and Lindsay Gilbee (knees) are both still a few weeks away.
Giants' Past Five:
Round 4: Loss, 7.8 (50) - 13.18 (96) v Crows, AAMI Stadium
Round 3: Loss, 10.9 (69) - 23.12 (150) v Eagles, Blacktown
Round 2: Loss, 8.6 (54) - 28.15 (183) v North, Blundstone Arena
Round 1: Loss, 5.7 (37) - 14.16 (100) v Swans, ANZ Stadium
NAB Cup 5: Loss, 10.6 (66) - 20.20 (140) v Tigers, Manuka Oval
Bulldogs' Past Five:
Round 4: Win, 13.10 (88) - 9.13 (67) v Demons, MCG
Round 3: Loss, 5.10 (40) - 15.13 (103) v Saints, Etihad Stadium
Round 2: Loss, 9.10 (64) - 11.16 (82) v Crows, AAMI Stadium
Round 1: Loss, 12.15 (87) - 21.10 (136) v Eagles, Etihad Stadium
NAB Cup 5: Loss, 11.9 (75) - 11.18 (84) v Cats, Simonds Stadium
The Giants are still searching for their maiden AFL win, on the wrong end of several heavy losses in the opening four rounds despite admirable performances. The effort in Adelaide resulted in a 46-point loss, which came after thrashings at the hands of Sydney, North Melbourne and West Coast.
A breakthrough win over Melbourne was much-needed for the Bulldogs, who made a slow start under McCartney. The victory was far from convincing, but the four points were important after three straight losses to start the season.
Callan Ward - the former Bulldogs midfielder has made an impressive start at Greater Western Sydney. Among their best throughout the start of the season and vital around the clearances, Ward will be out to make an impact against his former team-mates.
Luke Dahlhaus - with honourable mentions to the ever-reliable Matthew Boyd and rebounding defender Ryan Hargrave, the 19-year-old Dahlhaus has been in fine form. Dahlhaus is averaging 21.5 disposals per game to start the season, with his speed, ability to break the lines and tenacity crucial.
While their forward line is still struggling, the Bulldogs should have too much class for the young Giants across the rest of the ground.
Kevin Sheedy has the Giants, led by Ward, ferocious around the contests and winning their share of clearances through the likes of Tom Scully, Dylan Shiel and Rhys Palmer.
Even with forward Jeremy Cameron, who was the Round 2 Rising Star nomination, returning and o'hAilpin likely to present a target inside 50, the Bulldogs should have more than enough cover in Hargrave, Brian Lake and Robert Murphy.
The problems for the Bulldogs have been at the other end of the ground, where Daniel Giansiracusa leads their goalkicking with just five goals, and marks inside 50 have consistently been hard to come by.
The Manuka Oval will suit the Bulldogs' running midfielders, who will again be expected to hit the scoreboard, and they should have enough quality to comfortably keep the Giants winless. Western Bulldogs by 45 points.