Jarrad Grant to be unleashed into the midfield

Jarrad Grant2Western Bulldogs forward Jarrad Grant will welcome the challenge of being swung through midfield next season as coach Luke Beveridge implements a more unpredictable playing style.

Beveridge has encouraged more adventurous football since he took the reins last November and, in a nod to his tutelage under triple-premiership mentor Alastair Clarkson, the former Hawthorn assistant is also demanding greater flexibility from his players.

Veteran midfielder Matthew Boyd has been training across half-back, while boom recruit Tom Boyd has been earmarked for time in the ruck as well as in attack.

Grant, who has roamed on a wing during match simulation, said Bulldogs supporters would see players thrown into unfamiliar positions in 2015.

“I guess you could say that’s something you could say he (Beveridge) has brought across as part of his philosophy,” the 25-year-old told AFL.com.au.

“A lot of guys are learning different roles that they haven’t (played) in previous years.

“It can confuse opposition teams with a lot of guys being able to roll through certain positions.

“Hopefully we can turn that into a little bit of a strength.”

Dog Boyd ‘like a blue-chip stock’, says Beveridge

Hawthorn’s forwards often speak about moving further up the ground to get into the action and Grant has had a chat to Beveridge about adding more strings to his bow.

Midfield will be a new frontier for the athletic 193cm big man, who is keen to test his improved fitness in matches after an uninterrupted pre-season.

“I ran some PBs in our time trials and our testing, so I can’t complain in that regard,” Grant said.

“It’s not the same thing as playing an AFL game … but I’ve tested well and improved so hopefully that can show out on the field.”

Next season shapes as a pivotal campaign for Grant, who was the fifth pick in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft.

He is coming off an injury-ravaged year, when he was out of the senior side until round 12 due to a fractured foot and then suffered a broken nose in his third game back.

Grant only managed four senior matches, halting the momentum built up from late in 2013 when he put together eight impressive performances to finish the season.

He is out of contract at the end of 2015 and will qualify as a free agent.

“Like everyone that’s out of contract you want to have a big year. I definitely want to have a good year,” Grant said.

“(But) at this time of year I ‘m not too worried about contracts. I’m just worried about training every day and doing what I can to make sure I’m in the best 22 each week.

“I obviously missed a fair chunk of last season but I did get to play in the VFL premiership, which was very exciting for myself and the club in general.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there in the NAB Challenge and putting together a full season because it’s something I haven’t been able to do.”

Grant, who has played 62 games and booted 72 goals in six seasons, is keen to play the entire pre-season series – starting with a bumper clash against Richmond at the Whitten Oval on February 28.