Lance Franklin of the Swans (left) is chased down by Dale Morris of the Western Bulldogs during the 2016 AFL grand final.
Lance Franklin of the Swans (left) is chased down by Dale Morris of the Western Bulldogs during the 2016 AFL grand final. JULIAN SMITH

Dogs veteran has no plans to quit game

DALE Morris is showing no signs of slowing down.

In his 12th season on the Western Bulldogs list last year, the veteran defender finished runner-up in the club's best and fairest award.

It was an accolade that came just weeks after he played a starring role in the Bulldogs' drought-breaking premiership.

And now Morris has revealed he has no plans to hang up the boots at the end of the season.

"I'll go on for as long as they want me," Morris said.

Morris is one of a trio of 34-year-olds down back for the Dogs that are all out of contract at the end of the season.

While the playing futures of Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd remain uncertain, Morris said at this stage he had the motivation to play on beyond 2017.

"As long as there's a role to play and I'm doing my bit, I'll go as long as I can," he said.

The evergreen defender's declaration comes after one of his finest games in Bulldogs colours: a superb defensive performance against Sydney in last year's grand final.

His chase and tackle on Lance Franklin, which led to Tom Boyd slotting the match-winning goal in the final term, was among the more inspirational moments of the match.

"I've watched the grand final once ... that moment was one of those moments in the grand final, but there were plenty of them," Morris said.

The pride in Morris's voice when talking about "that tackle" can't be conveyed through the written word, but mowing down Franklin was undoubtedly one of his career highlights.

"Everyone had their moment, it was a special day," he said.

The defender's performance was all the more impressive given he played with two broken vertebrae in his back - an issue, he says, that has been resolved.

Morris has experienced amazing longevity in the Bulldogs' defence, playing most of his 230 games alongside Murphy.

The Bulldogs skipper missed out on a premiership medallion last year, but Morris said Murphy was on track to complete a triumphant return from an ACL injury.

"He's come back and done everything he can for his knee," Morris said.

"He looks really good in the back half out there with myself. It looks like he hasn't lost a step, which is great for him and his confidence, especially coming back from that sort of injury.

"Just getting him back into the team after such a significant injury is big for us."

There was some discussion about the possibility of Murphy handing the captaincy reins to Easton Wood or even Marcus Bontempelli, but Morris said there was never any doubt Murphy would lead the Dogs in 2017.

"That decision was ultimately going to come down to him," Morris said.

"There was a lot that he needed to manage, but it's something he prides himself on and he does such a good job at it."

Premiership hangovers beyond the fortnight after the grand final are generally cliche - and that's certainly the case at Whitten Oval.

"There's been no sense of complacency at all from the group," Morris said.

"It's something, especially early days, we were wary of, but everyone's taken it in their stride and been very professional."

The Dogs kick-off their pre-season campaign on February 18 against Melbourne.