TOM Boyd, it’s time for you to earn your money.
Biting the bullet at the end of 2014, the Bulldogs had loaded up the then 19-year-old’s bank account to get him to the kennel.
The club knew it would need a power forward to help take its rapidly developing list to the next level.
Unfortunately for them, almost two years on and it still needs that power forward.
It wasn’t Boyd’s fault the Bulldogs were willing to give him $6 million over seven years to sign him, not to mention their top pick (No.6 overall) in the 2014 draft and their skipper Ryan Griffen to GWS in one of the most audacious deals in AFL history.
But he can certainly take the blame for so far failing to deliver on the promise that first saw him taken with the No.1 pick in the previous season’s draft.
After playing 14 games in 2015 – with a couple of hauls of four and three goals – Boyd has added just four games in 2016 – the first four.
He hasn’t been sighted in a Bulldogs jumper at senior level since he produced a one-mark, no-goal display against Carlton.
In the meantime he’s been running around in the VFL or getting into blues with the odd teammate. Well, at least one anyway, Zaine Cordy, which left him at least $5000 lighter in the hip pocket.
For a while you couldn’t help wonder if the far lower-profile but bigger-hearted former rookie Jack Redpath deserved even half of Boyd’s massive pay cheque, with some standout performances.
But, with Redpath unable to sustain his output, the Dogs’ major achilles heel in their premiership campaign remains not having a big fella up forward able to grab a game by the scruff of the neck on a regular basis – and take the pressure off Jake Stringer.
They are far and away the No.1 team for disposals, but not getting enough bang for their buck in attack, especially with Stewart Crameri (12-month ban) out and Tory Dickson (15 goals in 11 games) down on form.
In the past three rounds, Stringer and Redpath and have combined for just three contested marks, five marks inside the attacking 50m and 11 goals.
In contrast, and though it’s come against St Kilda and Brisbane, Peter Wright has taken seven contested marks, 10 marks inside the attacking 50m and kicked eight goals in the past two weeks alone for Gold Coast.
And to think some phantom drafts had the Bulldogs taking Wright with that aforementioned No.6 pick in 2014 – and not giving it away to the Giants.
To be fair, while the likes of Lance Franklin (73 goals from 22 games) dominated in his third season, neither West Coast’s Josh Kennedy (seven from seven) or the Gold Coast’s Tom Lynch (eight from eight) hardly set the world on fire at the same stage of their careers.
They just didn’t have the pressure of that big fat contract weighing them down.
But, back in the side to face the Suns, it’s certainly time for Boyd to repay the Bulldogs’ faith him.
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