AFL News 2023 | Kane Cornes and David King question the Western Bulldogs selection process as Josh Bruce is welcomed back for clash against Essendon.

Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes has sent a warning to the Western Bulldogs that their reputation will be tarnished if they lose to Essendon.

The Dogs face off against Essendon in a must-win clash on Friday night, with both sides hoping to keep their finals chances alive, with Cornes believing the Bulldogs are under more pressure to perform.

“If the Dogs don’t get this done, all hell should break loose on that footy club for squandering what is a very very good list,” Cornes said on SEN.

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The Bulldogs have made four changes to face the Bombers, bringing in Oskar Baker and Bailey Smith, alongside Josh Bruce and Buku Khamis.

“Josh Bruce comes in, I don’t know where he’s going to play. (Sam) Darcy is out, so that’s the automatic replacement for him. Darcy played forward last week for some unknown reason,” Cornes said.

“So Buku (Khamis) will go forward and Bruce will go back.”

But Cornes was quick to intimate that the Bulldogs’ selection for round 19 is already a failure, after recently suggestion the “stubborn” coach must cop the axe.

“Do they need another tall-ish forward in that forward line?” Cornes asked.

“I think their forward line would work so much better with (Cody) Weightman, (Aaron) Naughton and(Jamarra) Ugle-Hagan, not another tall.

“And they don’t need Buku (Khamis).”

North Melbourne legend David King defended the Dogs’ horror injury run, but shone a spotlight on where they’ve fallen apart on field.

“Liam Jones in his absence, they’ve lacked that intercept marker down back,” King said on SEN.

“I know they’ve had a bad run with (Jason) Johannisen and Ed Richards missed a bit of footy.

“But what’s happened to their midfield? Eighteenth at getting a scoreboard return from getting one clearance.

“That is horrendous.”

The seventh-placed Bulldogs face the eighth-placed Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.

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