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Jackson Macrae learning from Cats great Joel Corey

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Jackson Macrae with Jake Stringer.

Jackson Macrae with Jake Stringer. Photo: John French

The Western Bulldogs' latest effort to learn the Geelong way also gives rising AFL star Jackson Macrae a career blueprint.

Joel Corey joined the Bulldogs' as a development coach in the off-season, not long after his playing retirement.

He was a tough, skilled midfielder who played in the Cats' three premiership teams between 2007-11, earned All-Australian selection and won the club best-and-fairest award in 276 matches over 14 seasons.

Corey was also 191cm, weighed 89kg and could play inside or outside through the midfield to great effect.

In other words, he's exactly the sort of player that Macrae wants to become.

The Cats great has undoubtedly given the 'Dogs pup a few tips about combating the North Melbourne midfield ahead of Sunday's Etihad Stadium twilight clash.

"I remember when Macca (Bulldogs senior coach Brendan McCartney) first told me Joel Corey was coming to the club, he said `you'll learn a lot from him and he'll be great for your career'," Macrae said.

"He's also said we were pretty similar as young players, on and off the field.

"We go through a lot of edits after games and stuff on the field he thinks I can work on."

Corey is part of a no-brainer strategy for McCartney, himself a former Geelong assistant coach.

As he tries to turn a young Bulldogs team into the next AFL powerhouse, McCartney is populating his football department with ex-Cats premiership players.

Steven King is another assistant coach who helps Macrae, while Cameron Mooney and Matthew Scarlett work part-time with Bulldogs key position players.

"We're trying to steal half of Geelong down to the club," Macrae said.

"Obviously their success has been huge."

Macrae appears destined to be a major part of any success that the Bulldogs enjoy in the next few years.

Taken at No.6 in the 2012 national draft, the 19-year-old played 13 games last season and earned a Rising Star nomination.

After a strong pre-season where he put on weight and had a growth spurt, Macrae was a rare shining light for the 'Dogs last weekend in their 65-point loss to West Coast.

North were even worse in their round-one loss to Essendon, meaning Sunday's game is massive for the two teams.

The Bulldogs have regained star onballer Ryan Griffen, who will play his first game as captain, while Lin Jong and Liam Jones also return.

The Kangaroos have recalled midfielder Levi Greenwood.

AAP

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