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We’ll find ways to score, says Bontempelli

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 16: Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs looks on during a Western Bulldogs AFL Training Session at Whitten Oval on February 16, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Finding different avenues to goal will be a focus for the Western Bulldogs in 2019.

Last season, the Bulldogs at times struggled to impact the scoreboard – finishing 15th for points scored, ahead of just Fremantle, Carlton and the Gold Coast Suns.

But it’s something the Dogs are determined to improve, according to vice-captain Marcus Bontempelli.

“In times gone by, we’ve often found we’ve got quite good depth throughout our midfield,” the midfielder told SEN Breakfast.

“We’ve always played a couple of midfielders forward and I think we’ve grown in that part probably this pre-season.

“But we’ve never relied on one or two to kick our goals. I think that’s been a trait of ours as a football club for a number of years now, that we’ve always been able to find varied avenues to goal.

“Particularly later in the year last year when we put some of our best football together, that was the case. I think we ended up with quite a few scorers in terms of goals kicked, around that eight, nine, 10 mark which is always a positive for us.

Just three players – Billy Gowers (26), Bontempelli (22) and Mitch Wallis (20) – kicked 20 or more goals last season.

But it was a similar story for the Dogs in 2016, who finished 12th for points scored at the end of the home-and-away season, with four players kicking 20 or more goals for the year.

Bontempelli believes it will be important for the Dogs to continue to share the load through multiple forward options in 2019.

“We’ll look for a number of different avenues for goals, but I reckon keep your eye out for one or two players to show their ability and nous around goal,” he said.

“Someone like Sammy Lloyd, who’s come across from Richmond, has shown his ability to kick goals as a small forward but then also play as a midfielder. He’s one that’s impressed… being a little bit older and more mature.”

“We’ve got a couple of younger players who have really sort of shown their growth in the short term.

“Particularly someone like Timmy English at the minute, who going into his third season is still growing and developing. He’s spent a bit of time forward in this pre-season and he’s shown his capability to take marks and kick goals there.”