Bulldogs suffering from bad breeding
THEY may be the Bulldogs, but there is a distinct Cats feel about the off-field team at Whitten Oval.
And unfortunately for long-suffering Doggies fans, the Catters' brigade has not brought with them the success they enjoyed down the road at Geelong.
Senior coach Brendan McCartney was born and bred in the Geelong area, and after coaching Ocean Grove to four straight Bellarine League premierships in the mid-1990s, was Mark Thompson's right-hand man from 2000-2010 at Geelong.
After taking the Bulldogs' reins at the end of 2011, he hired Cats premiership players Steven King as an assistant, and Joel Corey (midfield), Cam Mooney (forwards) and Matthew Scarlett (backs) as part-time development coaches.
The Dogs also have ex-Cats skipper and NFL punter Ben Graham, who assists with players' kicking, while former player Brent Prismall is the runner.
In his third season at the helm, the honeymoon period is certainly over for McCartney. Though highly-regarded as a teacher, the Bulldogs are on track to get an 'F' when it comes to their development.
Some of the tall timber, in particular, resemble high school kids that have been held back and still can't seem to graduate. Maybe they just can't be taught.
A few hours before the Dogs fell to the visiting Brisbane at Docklands last Saturday, which saw them slump to a 3-8 win-loss record, five great hopes - forwards Ayce Cordy, Liam Jones and Jake Stringer, ruckman Tom Campbell and defender Michael Talia - were running around in the VFL.
Cordy (pick 14 in the 2008 national draft) hasn't been able to add to his 19 games since round 15 last year when he gathered just five handballs against GWS; Jones (pick 31 in 2009) booted one goal in four games before he copped a ban for his careless high hit on Melbourne's Dean Terlich a month ago; while Stringer (pick 5 in 2012) booted four goals in nine games, but is now being trialled in defence with the reserves.
Talia was a Rising Star nominee last season, and meant to be holding down one of the key defensive posts with Jordan Roughead, while Campbell was supposed to be easing the load on Will Minson in the ruck.
And while the athletic, albeit at times lazy Jarrad Grant (pick 5 in 2007) played his first senior game of the year last week, the jury is still out on the forward who would have been let go already if not for a three-game burst late last year when he kicked 10 goals. He had just seven touches and kicked one goal against the Lions.
The Dogs have a history of their 'pure breeds' not making the grade, which is why they've had to rely on the 'bitsers' - Scott Welsh, Barry Hall and now Stewart Crameri - to add bite to the attack.
The Bulldogs would dearly love an entire pack, however.
The Whipping Boys
THEY are the shoddy magicians of the footy world.
Some perform disappearing acts when they shouldn't.
Others try to pull a rabbit out of a hat when they should be pulling their finger out. They are the footballers that continually frustrate their own fans.
And right now, West Coast, Richmond, Carlton and the Bulldogs have more than their fair share of players delivering 'performances' more likely to draws jeers than cheers.
ADELAIDE: Shaun McKernan, Jared Patrenko
BRISBANE: Jordan Lisle, James Polkinghorne
CARLTON: Jarrad Waite, Jeff Garlett
COLLINGWOOD: Steele Sidebottom
ESSENDON: Leroy Jetta, Brent Stanton
FREMANTLE: Danyle Pearce, Zac Dawson
GEELONG: Travis Varcoe, Taylor Hunt
GWS GIANTS: Curtly Hampton, Toby Greene
GOLD COAST: Aaron Hall
HAWTHORN: Kyle Cheney, Ryan Schoenmakers
MELBOURNE: Jack Watts, Cam Pederson
NORTH MELBOURNE: Majak Daw, Robbie Tarrant
PORT ADELAIDE: John Butcher, Jasper Pittard
RICHMOND: Tyrone Vickery, Shaun Grigg, Shaun Hampson
ST KILDA: Rhys Stanley, Beau Maister
SYDNEY: Sam Reid
WEST COAST: Matt Priddis, Josh Hill, Ashley Smith
BULLDOGS: Liam Jones, Ayce Cordy (PICTURED), Jarrad Grant, Shaun Higgins