AFL: Rory Lobb could be a Bulldog for six more years, says Luke Beveridge

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Luke Beveridge says out-of-favour tall Rory Lobb is still “significantly required” at the Western Bulldogs despite no clear endpoint for his stint at VFL level.

The Bulldogs coach said Lobb, 31, could play for six more years due to his lack of football as a teenager and was adamant he wanted the 207cm forward-ruck to spend those years at Whitten Oval.

It comes despite the Bulldogs signing Aaron Naughton to a long-term deal and reportedly closing in on the signatures of both Tim English and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, while towering father-son prospects Sam Darcy and Jordan Croft also loom as future stars.

Darcy seized Lobb’s forward-ruck role after the Bulldogs’ round 1 loss to Melbourne and has impressed, but the former Giant and Docker has booted nine goals in two VFL games, including a haul of five against Casey last weekend.

Beveridge suggested Lobb would need to wait longer for another chance at senior level despite his form, with Darcy set for an extended run in the side.

He praised Lobb’s attitude towards his omission and said he had no concerns with a series of tongue-in-cheek TikToks about his VFL stint published by his partner Lexi Mary.

“If TikTok and social media or anything’s involved in the question, I’m probably not the one to ask,” Beveridge said on Thursday.

“There’s no alarm bells, if that’s what you’re alluding to. I think Rory, as a guy in his early 30s, didn’t play a lot of footy as a teenager, and if anyone is going to have a long career it’s Rory Lobb.

“I see him having another half a dozen years in the game, I think he’s got a really long period in his career ahead of him and that’s important to remind him of too – he just needs to persevere through this part.

“He’s absolutely significantly required and a needed player at our club and I hope that half-dozen years he’s got left in him are with us.”

Beveridge said Cody Weightman (elbow) would be fine to face Geelong on Saturday night, while Ed Richards would also return from concussion.

He said the Bulldogs would consider bringing another tall into their backline to combat Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron and Ollie Henry despite the success of their undersized defence in the last fortnight.

Weightman’s troublesome elbow, which he first dislocated in 2022, had bothered Beveridge enough for him to ask the forward whether he needed surgery, but the coach said his fears had been assuaged.

“I think (Weightman) will be fine, I actually asked him that question. I had to just inquire as to whether or not he needed any (surgery) done, but he doesn’t,” Beveridge said.

“He’s obviously got a loose elbow, so you’d think at some point if he needs any repair work he will, but I don’t think it’s going to trouble him throughout the course of his career.”

Beveridge said recruit James Harmes would make his return from suspension through the VFL due to a squeeze for spots with the return of Jack Macrae last week.

“You can (play both Harmes and Macrae) – you can’t with the depth through there at the moment though,” he said.

“When you’re back in the queue a little bit, you’ve just got to bide your time.

“Currently, we’re pretty healthy as far as our injury toll goes, and it’s not the situation at the moment where they’ll both play in the same team, but down the track maybe.”