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Veteran Dog opens talks to stay at the Kennel

Matt Suckling is having a good season

DEFENDER Matthew Suckling has opened talks with the Western Bulldogs on a new deal after his strong start to 2018.

Suckling is set to come out of contract at the end of this season, having crossed to the Whitten Oval from Hawthorn on a three-year free agency deal in October 2015.

It’s understood Suckling recently started discussions with the Bulldogs to extend his tenure at the Kennel.

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The booming left-footer still harbours ambitions to pursue a punting career in America’s NFL, but wants to extend his AFL career for as long as possible first.

Suckling, who turns 30 next month, will miss the Bulldogs’ clash with Port Adelaide on Thursday night with an ankle injury. It is the first game he has missed this year.

Over the first 11 rounds, the dual Hawthorn premiership player has averaged 24.5 possessions a game, while he leads the Bulldogs in running bounces (1.5 a game) and is third in rebound 50s (3.3) and fifth in inside 50s (3.5).

Suckling has played 50 games for the Bulldogs and finished equal seventh in last year’s best and fairest award.

He missed the Bulldogs’ 2016 premiership after losing his place in the team during the finals through injury.

Suckling played 102 games for the Hawks from 2009-15 and was a member of the 2014-15 premiership teams.