Since arriving at the Saints from the Giants in 2014, Josh Bruce has cemented himself as the primary forward target at the club. With the Saints essentially reworking their best 22 during the trade period, Bruce has opted for a new start at the Bulldogs, who have desired a reliable proven key position forward since dinosaurs (well, Barry Hallasaurus at least) roamed the earth.
The fit in the forward 50 may be a little bit of an issue, with the Dogs seemingly committed to Aaron Naughton up forward and hopeful of Josh Schache’s continued development. Bruce isn’t a guy who is outstanding on the lead, getting more of his marks in contested or near contested situations – much like Naughton. This raises the thought that having two similar players in this respect may clog the forwardline a little too much. Too many players that are better contested that on the lead make it much easier for a defence to cover aerial threats.
The Dogs obviously have a plan to work through any potential spacing issues, and it will be fascinating to see what they end up doing to create a flowing forward line. Bruce has had injury issues in the past, and his form has dropped away from it’s peak in 2015.
Originally the Saints were rumoured to want the Dogs first round pick as the centrepiece of the trade. The Dogs held firm, and eventually a compromise was found.
It’s the immediate that matters with this trade for the Bulldogs. The two draft picks would be unlikely to help a Dogs team who made the finals last year, but Josh Bruce might (maybe) help them.
If it doesn’t pan out up forward though, the Saints might have made out like bandits.
Verdict – All about the short term for the Dogs, and the long game for the Saints.