AFL 2 years ago

Dogs praise AFL big-game specialist Picken

  • Dogs praise AFL big-game specialist Picken

    PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Liam Picken of the Bulldogs celebrates after scoring a goal during the Second Elimination Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium on September 8, 2016 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images)

He stood up for the Western Bulldogs when it mattered in their AFL elimination final victory over West Coast.

And coach Luke Beveridge reckons Liam Picken will deliver under pressure again when the Bulldogs take on Hawthorn in Friday's AFL semi-final at the MCG.

"He is one of those players whose game really relates to big finals," Beveridge said.

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"He doesn't shy away from anything, we know that."

Picken's superb first half set the tone for the Bulldogs' 47-point win over the Eagles at Domain Stadium last weekend.

Rotating between a wing and a half-forward flank, Picken was quick to make an impact, juggling a contested mark and lining up to kick the Dogs' first goal of the match.

The 30-year-old finished a brilliant all-round game with 23 disposals, two goals, nine marks and three tackles.

"I think what we saw last week was a combination of his aerial and ground game," Beveridge said.

"He can be quite a difficult player to match up on if he's playing on a wing and he drifts forward.

"We'll look to use him in the same fashion again on Friday night."

Previously used as a tagger, Picken has flourished since being freed up by Beveridge to play a more attacking role.

The tough midfielder's ability to take high-flying grabs has sparked comparisons with another renowned big-game player - his father, Collingwood VFL legend Billy Picken.

With Hawthorn boasting the likes of Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Shaun Burgoyne among their seasoned campaigners, Picken's strong form couldn't come at a better time for the young Bulldogs.

But Beveridge reckons the Bulldogs' spread of contributors in the midfield was one of the best things about their win over the Eagles.

"It was pretty even, inside and out," he said.

"We didn't let too many of them get off the chain.

"I think it was a really balanced and even performance from our mids, and we got some goals out of our mids too, which we'll need against Hawthorn."

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