The Bulldogs have missed the major round just twice – in 2014 and 2018 – since seven-time premiership coach Roy Laird took the helm in 2003.
And it’s fair to say this hasn’t sat nicely with Laird, or his playing group, as they continue to hit the track with ferocity at Elizabeth this summer.
Former Crow Troy Menzel, who is still the club’s youngest debutante (16), has returned to the Ponderosa to add plenty of class inside 50m and through the midfield.
And plenty of toughness has been added with the recruitment of Wodonga trio Jydon, Matthew and Jaxon Neagle, sons of late Essendon star Merv Neagle.
With lead ruckman Darcy Fort drafted by Geelong together with John Butcher and Jack Hannath departing, the interesting change in personnel will be in the ruck.
Tasmanian bigman Tim Auckland, Sydney University ruck Jonathan Marsh and Glenelg’s Damon Robinson have all arrived to make the most of their opportunity at Central.
The Dogs have three trial matches – against the Eagles, Sturt and West – before opening their Statewide Super League campaign against South Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday March 30.