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Opposition Watch: Round 21

GIANTS Media  August 9, 2017 11:08 AM

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They're all smiles here but Bob Murphy insists there's plenty of feeling between these two sides.

This Friday night is a massive game, it’s a huge game for both clubs. It will be ferocious.

Ahead of Friday night’s crunch clash against the Western Bulldogs, we take a look at all the news out of the Kennel this week.

Dogs skipper Bob Murphy confirmed on SEN Breakfast on Wednesday morning that the rivalry between these two teams is indeed real.

“Right from the start there’s always been a bit of feeling,” Murphy said.

“A lot of the drama (exists) of players swapping clubs, and then you play in big games that are close, so it just becomes a little bit extra on it.”

The past two clashes between these sides have been thrilling affairs with the Dogs taking out the 2016 Preliminary Final by just six points and the GIANTS turning the tables for a two-point win in Canberra earlier this season.

With the Bulldogs fighting for a finals berth and the GIANTS trying to cement a top two spot, Murphy is expecting Friday night’s blockbuster at Etihad Stadium to be a brutal contest.

“This Friday night is a massive game, it’s a huge game for both clubs. It will be ferocious,” he said.

The Bulldogs will lose vice-captain Easton Wood, who injured his hamstring in their win over the Lions last weekend.

However, they’re set to regain several important players with coach Luke Beveridge mentioning defenders Fletcher Roberts and Kieran Collins as potential replacements.

Jason Johannisen, a late withdrawal from the Brisbane match, should overcome a hamstring complaint, while dynamic forward Jake Stringer should return after three weeks on the sidelines with the same injury.

Goalsneak Tory Dickson will need to pass a fitness test after hurting a quad at training last week, while tough midfielder Mitch Honeychurch is expected to be available after a facial infection saw him miss the past two weeks.

In other news from Whitten Oval, veteran Matthew Boyd announced his retirement earlier this week.

Boyd is a three-time Best and Fairest winner at the Bulldogs, a three-time All Australian, Premiership player and former captain.

Boyd has been languishing in the VFL, having last played AFL in round 16, but impressed for Footscray last weekend with 26 disposals, 12 tackles and a goal.

The GIANTS take on the Western Bulldogs at 7:50pm on Friday night at Etihad Stadium with live coverage on 7mate in NSW and the ACT and Channel 7 nationally.