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Four things to watch: Round 17

Match Preview | Round 17 Bob sat down with Steven Grace to preview this week's match against Melbourne

1. Marcus Bontempelli
Watching the star Bulldog is worth the ticket price alone.
Marcus Bontempelli is enjoying a sensational season – and finding plenty of support from his fellow midfielders too.
The 23-year-old continues to have a big impact on matches.
He’s racking up elite numbers in a number of key areas, according to the AFL’s stats – including contested possessions (13.2), centre clearances (three), inside-50s (5.2) and metres gained (514.5)*.
He was playing a different ball-game in the wet against Port Adelaide, and was again exceptional against Geelong last week.
*All averages per game in 2019 


2. Melbourne’s twin towers
With star ruckman Max Gawn returning from injury, the Dees will pair him with fellow big man Braydon Preuss this week.
It looms as a big challenge not just for Tim English, but also the Dogs’ defence.
Gawn is one of the best in the business, and both he and Preuss will have an extra 10 kilograms on English and ruck reserves Josh Schache and Aaron Naughton.
But the Dees will also use their resting ruckman forward, with Jackson Trengove set to have a big role to play when Gawn or Preuss head to the goal square. 


3. Dunkley v Dunkley
It’s a match-up neither brother would have seen coming at the start of the season.
But Kyle Dunkley’s elevation to Melbourne’s list from Footscray through the mid-season draft has paid dividends, with teenager earning an AFL debut last week.
He’s set to go head-to-head with older brother Josh, who is one of the competition’s emerging midfield stars.
To complicate things, they live together – and we can only assume it’s been an interesting week in the Dunkley household.
Could they line up side-by-side at some point on Sunday? It’d be nice to see.


4. Our forward line
Cohesion forward of the ball has been talking point for the Dogs all year.
When the midfield-forward connection works – and the conversion rate is high – the Dogs look as dangerous as any team in the competition.
The flipside this week is that Melbourne has conceded more points than any team this year.
They will welcome back important defenders Jake Lever and Neville Jetta though.
But, the Bulldogs’ forward line appears to be coming together nicely. Aaron Naughton slotted four last week, while Josh Schache had important hauls of three in the two matches prior to that.
And Sam Lloyd’s regular output around the sticks – he has 25 majors for the season – has been a welcome addition in 2019.