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Bont’s career first

Naughton's second-half blitz (Rd8) A goal on the half-time siren sets up a massive second-half for Aaron Naughton in the Western Bulldogs' win over the Brisbane Lions at Mars Stadium.

It’s not every day that Marcus Bontempelli produces a career-first in an AFL match – he’s set the bar high to this point of his career.

But in Ballarat on Saturday, he did just that.

Career-high disposals? Nup.

Clearances? Nah.

Goals? Negative.

*Drumroll please* … It was the first time he’d worn a long-sleeve jumper at AFL level.

You might not think that’s a big deal, but there was a lot of thought that went into it.

Long-sleeve jumper-wearers are a dying breed.

In a former life, some of the game’s greatest players made the long-sleeve jumper iconic.

Think Stephen Silvagni. Paul Roos. Trevor Barker. Michael Tuck. 

“I’ve never worn a long-sleeve jumper before (in the AFL), it was the first time since I was a kid,” Bontempelli told RSN Breakfast Club.

“In juniors they were an option, and particularly for school footy.

“I reckon coming up through the ranks I wore it a couple of times, but it had been a long time between drinks.” 

The conditions lent themselves to the occasion. 

“There’s not going to be a better opportunity than down in Ballarat on a 10 degree day with a bit of rain, so I thought I’d go for it,” Bontempelli said.

As for the reaction?

“It seemed like there was a little bit of love for it,” Bontempelli said. 

“I don’t think it’s going to make you play better or worse, hopefully, but it was probably more of a comfort thing… maybe a little bit to pay homage to the past long-sleeve jumper wearers too.

“I thought just one I’ll try it and see what happens, and it didn’t turn out too badly.”

The star Bulldog was left high and dry by a number of teammates, who donned a long-sleever at training during the week, but didn’t pull it out on game day.

“I was a bit disappointed in the fact no one else wore it, but In the end it probably worked in my favour because all eyes were on me,” he said with a laugh. 

“But there were a couple of others that I reckon chickened out maybe at the thought of wearing it and what comes with it, but I thought, nah I’m going to fly the flag for the long-sleevers.”