Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says competition for places in midfield is hot but refused to say whether or not Lachie Hunter will face Melbourne.
The two sides clash at the MCG on Wednesday night in a re-match of the 2021 AFL grand final and the Bulldogs are priced at 6/1 to win the premiership.
Following a tough 2020 campaign Hunter returned to play in 25 of the 26 games last season, including the grand final defeat against the Demons in Perth.
But in the build up to the game there have been reports circulating that the former vice-captain could be left out. Beveridge would not confirm or deny and seemed irritated by the questioning.
"I'm aware of the reports but the team will come out later," Beveridge told reporters on Tuesday. "It's speculation from a journalist so you can't expect me to bite before the teams come out.
"I'm not going to talk about Lachie Hunter if this is some kind of interrogation or investigation into how he's been going. It will all be unnecessary at the end of the day, anyway."
Beveridge does have plenty of options though and did concede it was difficult trying to fit everyone he wanted into the team that will face Melbourne.
"There is pressure on for spots, there's no doubt about it," Beveridge added. "There's a number of boys who are putting their hand up who might be on the periphery.
"One approach isn't sustainable for too long so hopefully we get the mix right."