Matthew Boyd (L) and Daniel Cross lead the Western Bulldogs out during the round two NAB Cup AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Hawthorn Hawks at Etihad Stadium on March 1, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Matthew Boyd (L) and Daniel Cross lead the Western Bulldogs out during the round two NAB Cup AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Hawthorn Hawks at Etihad Stadium on March 1, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Michael Dodge / Getty Images

Bulldogs skipper Boyd will lead team from the sidelines

THE last thing the embattled Western Bulldogs needed ahead of today's season opener against Brisbane was to lose inspirational skipper Matthew Boyd.

The dual All-Australian has provided much-needed experience for coach Brendan McCartney as he rebuilds the team around young midfielders like Mitch Wallis, Luke Dahlhaus and Tom Liberatore.

Boyd will miss at least two weeks with a calf strain, and Lions assistant coach Shane Woewodin said the skipper's value to the young Dogs could not be underestimated.

"He has been the heartbeat of them for an extended period ... he certainly leads by example around the footy," Woewodin said.

"But they've got some quality players and added some depth through the midfield to come in and replace him."

The club recuited the likes of former West Coast Eagle Koby Stevens and Nick Lower, from Port Adelaide and Fremantle, to add some midfield experience.

Woewodin said Brisbane ruckman Matthew Leuenberger was still in some doubt for the clash after missing the NAB Cup final with back tightness.

Leuenberger played half a game in the reserves last weekend and came through unscathed.

Brisbane co-captain Jed Adcock said he believed his team had gained a lot from its NAB Cup victory.

"It gives us the confidence and trust that we know we've done the work - the game plan and structures seem to be working really well," he said.

"It's about three years now this group's been together, so it's been a process to get to this stage."
 


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