Every player voted for Marcus Bontempelli to become the Western Bulldogs’ next captain – bar one.
The humble superstar was appointed as the Bulldogs’ new leader, honoured to step into the role previously served by premiership skipper Easton Wood.
“It doesn’t take you long to reflect on the past leaders of the football club, particularly Woody sitting as the previous skipper of the club,” Bontempelli said.
“It’s an incredibly humbling feeling to be recognized in this way and hopefully I can do my best to lead the group the way it needs to be led.”
At just 24 years of age, Bontempelli is undoubtedly one of the competition’s premier players.
Team success arrived at just 20 years of age – the infamous 2016 premiership victory – and individual honours have flowed freely for the three-time Charles Sutton Medallist and dual All Australian.
This season saw him not only take home the Bulldogs’ best and fairest and be named in the competition’s team of the year, but also the AFL Coaches’ Association’s champion player award.
His teammates were unanimous in their support of him as captain.
“It gives you pretty good confidence that you know the boys felt a particular way,” Bontempelli said.
“To have that full support from the whole group definitely gives you great confidence that I feel like – and they feel like – I’m ready to take on the role and support them in every way that I can.”
Only Bontempelli didn’t vote for himself – casting his vote for now vice-captain Lachie Hunter.
With two years as vice-captain under his belt, Bontempelli believes learning from former skipper Wood will have him well placed to take on the role.
But he admits he still has plenty to grow.
“Being his vice-captain for the past couple of years has given me great experience to work closely with Woody and help him and support him in the best way I can to lead the football club,” Bontempelli said.
“To still have him here and part of the leadership group is going to be really useful, because I know how good a support he is not just for us as leaders but the whole group.”
As for the future?
The Bulldogs are ambitious, and aspire to get back to where they were only a few years ago, and being in the thick of the action in late September.
“That’s the dream at the end of the day,” Bontempelli said.
“We know how hard it is to win and we know how hard it is to follow-up but I think we’re all excited about the journey the football club’s hopefully going to go on next season.”