Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli has praised his teammates for their willingness to contribute at various stages of the 2021 season.
The Bulldogs used 41 of a possible 43 players throughout the year, with the second-year skipper crediting the entire list for their efforts.
“We’re a tight group – probably as tight as I’ve seen over my journey at the football club, and that’s because everyone who is part of it is willing to contribute,” Bontempelli said while accepting the John van Groningen Domestique award during last week’s virtual best and fairest.
“You (look at) the evenness of the group and how many players contributed throughout the course of the season this year, and I think that speaks volumes to what we want to do as a football club.
“We know everyone can contribute and we know everyone is important in being able to help us achieve what we want to achieve - it is super important for everyone to feel like they can contribute.
“It’s something that will really help us over the course of the next few months and obviously going forward with our football in the years to come.
“I love the group and what we’re about.”
The 25-year-old also claimed his fourth Charles Sutton Medal on the night, with only five players in Club history having won more - Scott West (seven), Gary Dempsey (six), John Schultz (five), Norm Ware (five) and Ted Whitten (five).
Bontempelli said his added impact both on and off the field was a result of those around him, and is confident the team can sustain the momentum moving forward.
“I feel like I benefitted a lot from the growth of the players - the growth in their game definitely came as a by-product of the whole team progressing and individuals within that as well,” he said.
“It’s important for all of us to acknowledge the milestone of the season - some of the football that has been played from all of the lads, but especially the ones that have been recognised (with awards) will get a chance to obviously reflect on that.
“We’ve got an opportunity – we’ve got a great team, and a young team, who I know are hungry for more.
“The game obviously didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to, but I do feel like and believe we’re set up to sustain the football that we played this year, and look for more.”