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Season Review: Tom Liberatore

westernbulldogs.com.au reviews Tom Liberatore's 2017 season

6:00am  Oct 1, 2017

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Injury updates on Tom Liberatore, Tom Boyd and Lukas Webb.

4:46pm  Jul 3, 2017

Footscray by the numbers

Stats from all AFL-listed players from Friday's win over Essendon.

2:15pm  Jun 13, 2017

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Senior List

21

Tom
Liberatore

Height
183 cm
DOB
16-05-1992
Weight
83 kg
Debut
2011
Games
2017
18
Career
116
Goals
2017
7
Career
39
2017 AFL Fantasy Points
Total
1293
Avg
72
TomLiberatore

Player Bio

At a Glance

Junior Clubs: St Bernards
Clubs:
Debut: Rd 1 2011 (Essendon)
Recruited from: Calder Cannons
Brownlow Votes: 19

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Liberatore's breakout year came in 2013 when statistically, he was the best inside player of the competition. Liberatore took his game to the elite level in 2014, winning the Club's best and fairest.

The father-son’s hardness in and under the packs pays dividends and greatly assists the Bulldogs in gaining first use of the ball in stoppages. The Calder Cannons recruit was drafted (father-son selection) by the Bulldogs in the second round of the 2010 AFL Draft (pick 41 overall).

After a knee injury cruelled his 2015 season, Liberatore bounced back in 2016 to be an instrumental part of the Club's finals run.

Despite a late-season ankle injury, Liberatore bounced back to play all four finals, and be a key member of the Club's AFL Premiership side.
 

Season by Season

Season in short
Liberatore opened the season in typical Liberatore fashion laying 14 and 16 tackles against Collingwood and Sydney in successive Bulldogs wins. 
 
Although the 25-year-old battled consistency issues across the season and spent time in the VFL midway through the year, he still led the Club in clearances (4.1 per game) and tackles (6.4 per game).
 
Stat that mattered:
 
57.5% of Liberatore's possessions were contested; a career high.
 
What they said:
 
"Although we found improvements across the year, it was pretty inconsistent.   
 
"Playing with Bob and Keith was certainly a highlight and being able to share a game like that with them was pretty special." 
 
- Tom Liberatore, September 2017

Season in short

After missing all of 2015 with a knee injury, Liberatore did not miss a beat in his return season.

From the minute he booted the Dogs second goal of the season, a 45-metre shot off of his opposite boot, the 2014 Sutton Medallist looked back where he belonged.

While still ferocious at the contest and one of the game’s best in and under players, the 24-year-old added goal-kicking to his already bulging bag of tricks.  After kicking 18 goals in this first 77 AFL matches, Liberatore slotted 14 majors in 2016 and at 82.4%, had the highest strike rate of any Bulldog who kicked more than ten goals.

Still, it was his final three months of football that his season will be remembered for.

Struck down with a serious ankle injury against Geelong in round 19, his year looked to be over.  Instead, he returned to play a crucial role in the Dogs’ premiership run.

Heart and soul player who could be better again with a full season under his belt.

 

The stat that mattered

In round 8 against Melbourne, Liberatore laid a VFL/AFL record 19 tackles.

 

What they said

“I had a bit of bad luck but I learnt a fair bit from dealing with new injuries, it was a massive learning year.  It was a completely different year of footy to what my first four years were like before I did my knee.

“That first win over West Coast after we played that emphatically and won that well, I looked around and I looked at Suckers (Matthew Suckling) and said, ‘we’re half a chance here’ to go all the way.”

Season in short:

In a disappointing blow for the Club and the midfielder, Liberatore suffered a ruptured ACL in the Club’s first NAB Challenge game – and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Despite not having an impact on-field, the 2014 Charles Sutton medallist was still influential in his leadership role.

Liberatore spent time with both the AFL and VFL sides on match days, and his presence was always felt.

The 23-year-old has continued to make progress in his rehabilitation and as one of the premier midfielders in the competition, will be a welcome return to the Dogs side next season.

 

What they said:

“It’s an absolute tragedy when someone does their knee and they’re out for the whole year. I guess what it did was open up opportunities for everyone else…

“You can never replace someone like Libba, he’s probably the best clearance player in the AFL, but what you can do is create environment where he’s only going to add to, and hopefully he was really proud of the midfield this year and what they were able to achieve.” – Steven King (Western Bulldogs Assistant Coach), September 2015

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.

Stats

By the numbers

  • 2017 Season Average
    Games Played 18
    • Kicks 5.6
    • Handballs 11.6
    • Disposals 17.2
    • Marks 2.0
    • Hit-Outs 0.0
    • Tackles 6.4
    • Goals 0.4
    • AFL Fantasy 71.8

2017 Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 10 Hawthorn Rd 23
Handballs 22 Fremantle Rd 3
Disposals 29 Melbourne Rd 13
Marks 5 Hawthorn Rd 23
Hit-outs 0 - -
Tackles 16 Sydney Swans Rd 2
Goals 1 Hawthorn Rd 23
AFL Fantasy 115 Collingwood Rd 1

2017 Season Breakdown

Rd Opponent Result K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
1 Collingwood W 86 - 100 8 8 16 4 0 1 0 14 1 0 115
2 Sydney Swans W 110 - 87 5 14 19 2 0 1 3 16 0 0 105
3 Fremantle L 89 - 73 6 22 28 0 0 0 1 8 0 0 91
4 North Melbourne W 86 - 89 4 10 14 2 0 1 2 9 1 0 75
5 Brisbane Lions W 122 - 90 3 17 20 1 0 0 2 3 0 0 52
6 GWS Giants L 75 - 73 6 5 11 3 0 4 0 7 0 1 70
7 Richmond W 80 - 75 3 19 22 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 75
8 West Coast Eagles L 69 - 61 1 7 8 1 0 1 2 4 0 0 31
9 Geelong Cats L 104 - 81 - - - - - - - - - - -
10 St Kilda W 90 - 50 - - - - - - - - - - -
12 Sydney Swans L 88 - 42 - - - - - - - - - - -
13 Melbourne L 56 - 113 10 19 29 1 0 1 2 9 1 1 109
14 North Melbourne W 107 - 106 6 7 13 2 0 1 1 4 0 0 52
15 West Coast Eagles L 80 - 87 - - - - - - - - - - -
16 Adelaide Crows L 104 - 45 7 8 15 1 0 1 2 5 0 0 55
17 Carlton W 62 - 82 4 14 18 5 0 1 1 7 0 0 81
18 Gold Coast Suns W 110 - 56 5 8 13 0 0 0 1 4 1 0 50
19 Essendon W 127 - 97 9 5 14 4 0 1 1 3 1 1 66
20 Brisbane Lions W 89 - 103 4 15 19 3 0 1 0 3 0 1 65
21 GWS Giants L 57 - 105 3 7 10 0 0 2 1 4 0 0 38
22 Port Adelaide L 79 - 96 7 11 18 2 0 1 1 7 1 0 81
23 Hawthorn L 99 - 90 10 13 23 5 0 0 1 2 1 0 82
TOTAL W: 11 - L: 11 101 209 310 36 0 17 21 116 7 4 1293

By the numbers

  • Career Average
    Games Played 116
    • Kicks 9.5
    • Handballs 11.9
    • Disposals 21.3
    • Marks 2.6
    • Hit-Outs 0.1
    • Tackles 5.9
    • Goals 0.3
    • AFL Fantasy 83.8

Career Highlights

Statistics Best Opponent Round
Kicks 23 Melbourne Rd 14, 2013
Handballs 22 Fremantle Rd 3, 2017
Disposals 36 Melbourne Rd 23, 2013
Marks 9 Carlton Rd 17, 2012
Hit-outs 1 Geelong Cats Rd 16, 2014
Tackles 19 Melbourne Rd 8, 2016
Goals 3 West Coast Eagles Rd 11, 2016
AFL Fantasy 148 Melbourne Rd 23, 2013

Career Breakdown

Season Club K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
2017 Western Bulldogs 101 209 310 36 0 17 21 116 7 4 1293
2016 Western Bulldogs 172 257 429 46 0 17 18 114 14 3 1674
2015 Western Bulldogs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2014 Western Bulldogs 244 278 522 61 4 29 24 173 7 5 2171
2013 Western Bulldogs 285 286 571 66 1 25 27 137 3 3 2139
2012 Western Bulldogs 179 172 351 64 0 14 16 65 4 1 1324
2011 Western Bulldogs 119 174 293 30 1 8 7 77 4 1 1116

Legend

K
Kicks
H
Handballs
D
Disposals
M
Marks
HO
Hit-outs
FF
Frees For
FA
Frees Against
T
Tackles
G
Goals
B
Behinds
AF
AFL Fantasy points

Awards

Club Awards

Western Bulldogs Best First Year Player
2011

Western Bulldogs Best and Fairest Winner
2014