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The 20-1 Club

May 8, 2017 9:29 AM

AFL 2017 Round 07 - Western Bulldogs v Richmond

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 07 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Richmond Tigers at Etihad Stadium on May 06, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Seven games into the 2017 season and Marcus Bontempelli stands alone, at least statistically.

There was no shortage of influential Bulldogs in Saturday night’s five-point win over Richmond; Clay Smith, Tom Boyd, Luke Dahlhaus and Lachie Hunter come to mind, but for consistency, no one beats the Bont.

In fact, the 21-year old is at a table for one in the 20-1 Club; that is, he’s the only player in the AFL who’s put up 20 possessions and at least one goal in all seven games this season.

Saturday night’s line was what’s become a standard Bontempelli outing:  27 touches, six clearances, nine tackles, four inside 50s and a goal, but it’s the consistency that would most please coach Luke Beveridge.

22 touches and two goals against the Pies in Round One, and 30-2 against the Swans in Round Two, followed by 24-1, 25-1, 22-1 and 22-3 against the Dockers, Roos, Lions and Giants, respectively.

While Bontempelli’s average disposals per game this year is virtually identical to last, it’s his ability to hit the scoreboard that has jumped, up from a goal a game in 2016 to almost two this year.

Speaking on Channel 7’s Game Day, Bontempelli said that it’s the Beveridge mantra of versatility that’s seen the 21-year-old closer to goal, more often, a move that’s continuing to pay dividends for the Dogs.

"It's something that Bevo really values and us as a group have grown to value... being able to play in a number of different positions.

“It speaks to the strength of our midfield, probably, that we do have quite a few numbers who can play that inside midfield position and as a group, we have to continue to explore other opportunities, and for me, it's been trying to play that little bit deeper forward.

“Hopefully, I can continue to have an impact there.”