Season in short:
Liberatore well and truly established himself as one of the game’s elite in 2014.
The Charles Sutton medallist won the Bulldogs’ highest individual accolade by an impressive 67 votes, and also took home best team player, most courageous and team first awards on the night, capping off an outstanding individual season from Liberatore, which was also rewarded with an All-Australian nomination.
Finishing first in the league for tackles and clearances, and eighth for contested possessions, highlights Liberatore’s standing as one of the game’s most courageous and hard-working players.
At only 22, the future is bright for Bulldogs fans, with Liberatore’s best football still ahead of him.
The stat that mattered:
Liberatore finished the season with 173 tackles and 154 clearances, the most of any player in the league.
What they said:
“I felt he played the game the most like the way we want to play, and there’s no greater accolade for a player.
“He’s tough, he uses the ball well, he defends and he cares deeply about this club and he’s a fighter.” – Former Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney following Liberatore’s Sutton medal win.
Season in short:
The prodigious midfielder went from ‘good’ to ‘elite’ in 2013, pushing his trademark contested game to another level. He averaged 26 disposals, 15 contested possessions and eight clearances across his 22 matches. Among many highlights, Liberatore was devastating against Melbourne on both occasions, averaging 36 disposals, 10 tackles and 12 clearances in his two outings against the side. Overall, he ranked first in the AFL for clearances at the end of the home and away season, second for contested possessions and fourth for tackles. Liberatore finished second in the Bulldogs best and fairest and won the Most Improved Player award named after his father.
Stat that mattered:
While Liberatore’s work inside the contest has been lauded this year, he has not compromised his disposal efficiency. Of the top ten average clearance winners in the competition he has the highest disposal efficiency (72.5%), with only one other boasting the accuracy of 70+%.
What they said:
“Tom has had an impressive first 50 games, and is becoming a more balanced player as he continues to gain more experience. He has a rich family history here at our Club, and we are pleased he can continue that over the next three years at least.”
- List Manager Jason McCartney
The emergence of Liberatore through the midfield in just his second year has confirmed he is one to watch. Continuing to build on his breakout debut season last year, the 2010 father - son selection looks to be an integral member in the Dogs future line-up. Ranked 15th in the league in average clearances, he is the only second year player to make the top 30 in the statistic.
Season by Season
The son of Western Bulldogs great and 1990 Brownlow Medallist Tony Liberatore had an outstanding debut season, averaging more than 18 possessions and almost five tackles in 16 games, and won the Chris Grant Medal as best first-year player. Had a standout 28 possessions and 10 tackles against Brisbane in round two, and a career-high 18 handballs against West Coast in round nine. Destined to be a permanent fixture in the Dogs’ line-up for a long time.