Beefed-up Western Bulldogs youngster Tim English has positioned himself to join the likes of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy as one of the league’s elite ruckmen after a standout pre-season.
The 22-year-old, drafted from South Fremantle, impressed in Saturday’s intra-club practice match at Whitten Oval after missing the Dogs’ opening pre-season clash with a concussion.
English, pick No.19 at the 2016 draft, is 5kg heavier than he was at the same stage of last pre-season and was noticeably stronger in one-one-one marking situations and ruck contests.
“He looked alright didn’t he?” teammate Sam Lloyd said to reporters after the hitout.
“He’s had one of the best pre-seasons you’ll ever see.
“He’s tall, he’s quick and he’s been running with all of the mids in the pre- season.
“He’s put on a lot of size, he’s strong in the gym, it’s a pretty high ceiling for him.”
The 205cm ruckman is coming off a breakout 2019 season where he played 20 games and assumed the No.1 ruck mantle.
English wasn’t the only player to impress, with Mitch Wallis kicking four goals as he attempts to force his way into the side to face Collingwood at Marvel Stadium in round one.
Lloyd, who turns 30 next week, has signed a one-year contract extension that secures his future with the club until the end of the 2021 season.
It’s fair reward for the forward who played every game and booted 38 goals in his first season with the Dogs after switching from Richmond where he felt surplus to requirements.
“I guess I’m not as frustrated as I was the last couple of years (with the Tigers),” he said.
“I just go in with a lot more confidence.
“I can train the way I want to play knowing that hopefully you’re going to get a game that weekend and then let the shackles off when you get out there.
“It grows your confidence … you’re not worried about the external things.”