Coach will lead Bullioh Dogs in heavyweight clash

BULLIOH coach Peter Dean has declared himself a certain starter for Saturday’s blockbuster against Corryong at Bullioh.

Dean, 49, made a surprise appearance for the Bulldogs in last week’s season opener against Border-Walwa and played predominantly across half-forward.

The dual Carlton premiership defender said he planned to coach on the ground as the Bulldogs adapted to his game plan in the opening rounds.

“I thought it would be more beneficial to direct traffic on the ground in the first couple of weeks because a lot of the players weren’t regulars at pre-season training,” Dean said.

“I just floated up and down the ground giving instructions to the players.

“I’m still fairly sore and stiff but I will be right to train tonight and play again Saturday.

“As our numbers increase and we start playing some consistent footy I will probably just coach from the sidelines.”

Bullioh and Corryong both enjoyed 15-plus goal victories last week but expect Saturday’s contest to be a lot tighter.

The pair clashed in the preliminary final last year and are widely touted as being flag contenders once again this season after landing some prized recruits over the summer.

The Demons entered the season as flag favourites after the arrival of Adrian Rijnbeek, James Paton, Shannon Gilson and Troy Cooper.

But the Bulldogs are also expected to improve after signing Dean as coach, Mitta United premiership forward Jade Culph, Jacob Curran and the return of Tom Hickey.

Both Rijnbeek and Hickey bagged six goals last week and if either can replicate that performance it will give their team the upper hand.

Dean said he was looking forward to the match deciding the early season pacesetter.

“There is plenty of hype surrounding Corryong after it recruited well and it will be good to get an early indication of how we stack up,” he said.

Dean said Bullioh was unlikely to make any changes while the Demons could rush Tallangatta recruit Richard Spink into the line-up after he signed last week.

Federal will start slight favourites against Border-Walwa at home while the Cudgewa and Tumbarumba clash looks to be a toss of the coin.