Tom Liberatore’s full circle return to leadership at the Western Bulldogs is complete after being named vice-captain in the newly-minted AFL leadership group this morning.

The 31-year-old returns to the leadership fold after nine years, becoming vice-captain to skipper Marcus Bontempelli, who continues at the helm for a fifth straight season. 

Liberatore joins Liam Jones and Ed Richards as new additions to the seven-man group, with Taylor DuryeaAaron Naughton and Caleb Daniel remaining from last season.

Tom Liberatore has returned to the Club's leadership group for the first time since 2015 (Photo: Western Bulldogs).

A heart and soul player for the red, white and blue, Liberatore has amassed 216 games across 12 seasons, winning a premiership and Charles Sutton Medal along the journey.

The son of a gun – father Tony won a Brownlow Medal during a storied Bulldogs career - has cemented himself as one of the competition’s premier midfielders over the past two seasons, averaging 27 touches, eight clearances and finishing second in the Charles Sutton Medal count in 2022 and 2023.

A respected teammate off-field, Liberatore has mentored a number of young midfielders within the program, readying him for the next stage of his leadership journey. 

The entire leadership group was appointed via a player vote, with consultation from the football department.


Liberatore said he was thrilled to return to a leadership position at the Club.

“I’m really honoured to be voted into a leadership position by my teammates and it’s something I won’t take for granted,” Liberatore said.

“I love representing this footy club every week and have always tried to lead on-field by my actions. I’ll continue to do everything I can to help this team succeed both on and off the field. 

“We’ve already got a great group of leaders led by Marcus and I can’t wait to contribute in any way I can this season.”


Bulldogs’ Senior Coach, Luke Beveridge, said that after an extensive process, the Club was pleased with the seven-man leadership group.

“The players have worked diligently to establish criteria that represents how a respected leader positively influences people and outcomes,” Beveridge said.

“Through a recognition process, facilitated by Jarryn Geary, our designated leadership group has grown. We congratulate Liam Jones, Ed Richards and Tom Liberatore who join Marcus Bontempelli, Aaron Naughton, Caleb Daniel and Taylor Duryea, making it seven members in the group.

“Significantly, Tom Liberatore is our new vice-captain, with Naughts and Caleb now having deputy vice-captain status to support Marcus as captain, and Tom.

“We recognise Jack Macrae’s contribution as vice-captain over the last two years and his impact as a leader over his journey so far. Jack will come out of the leadership group in 2024.”

2024 AFL Leaders

Captain: Marcus Bontempelli
Vice-captain: Tom Liberatore
Deputy vice-captains: Aaron Naughton, Caleb Daniel
Leadership group: Taylor Duryea, Ed Richards, Liam Jones