Bulldogs pair pay the price for Tiger mauling

The Western Bulldogs have dropped Billy Gowers and Jackson Trengove from the side that was thrashed by Richmond last week.

However they will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Josh Dunkley from a syndesmosis injury for Monday night’s date with ladder-leaders Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.

Caught short: Billy Gowers on the ball for the Bulldogs during their heavy round 9 defeat by Richmond.Credit:Getty Images

Cody Weightman and Roarke Smith have also been recalled, while Matt Suckling is out with a hamstring injury.

Port have named debutant Boyd Woodcock and defender Trent McKenzie, dropping Jarrod Lienert and losing Brad Ebert to injury.

Meanwhile Lachie Hunter could be closing in on a return to senior football after taking a break from the game with personal issues.

Hunter has remained in the Dogs' Queensland hub and has been joined by a loved one.

Out-gunned: Tiger Mabior Chol clears ahead of Bulldog Jackson Trengove.Credit:Getty Images

"Maddie's up now, which is great, Lachie's fiancee," Dogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

"They did have plans to get married – I'm not sure how that sits in this COVID-19 world at the moment.

"He'll play in the scratch match today … so that'll be good for him. And we'll see how he comes through over the course of the next week or two and work out whether he's considered to come back into the AFL team."

Hunter had an ankle injury scare in the scratch match but returned to the field soon after.

In more welcome news for the Dogs, key forward Aaron Naughton could return from injury in next Saturday night's meeting with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.

Beveridge said Dunkley’s return was very welcome.

"[He] is just a great team player. A great teammate. He does everything right in the game – he works his backside off … and he reads the game really early,” Beveridge said.

"He's strong and hard in tight, and he really gets out. Our boys have done an inconsistent job over the course of the year inside and out, but Dunks is a really consistent player who continues to apply himself. And he's a shining example within our four walls of what we're after."

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