Over the next fortnight, westernbulldogs.com.au will take a look back on a season like no other – 2020 – reviewing every player who featured in more than three AFL games.
Not much changed in Marcus Bontempelli’s first year as skipper.
He was as dominant as ever, finishing second in the Bulldogs’ best and fairest and earning a third All Australian guernsey.
The 24-year-old was particularly impressive in the second half of the year, as the Bulldogs again made a late charge towards finals football.
A match-winning goal from outside 50 against the West Coast Eagles will be remembered as a big captain’s moment – not to mention his two courageous marks against the Sydney Swans earlier in the year.
By the numbers…
Metres gained: 350.1
Clearances: 5.2 (1st)
Inside 50s: 4.3 (1st)
Best game: After three consecutive defeats, Bontempelli led from the front as the Bulldogs hit back hard against the Adelaide Crows. The skipper was near-perfect on a sunny Gold Coast afternoon. He racked up 33 disposals, won 12 clearances and laid nine tackles. Plus 11 score involvements, six inside-50s and 553 metres gained. And two goals of his own. It was a dominant display.
In his first year in red, white and blue, Josh Bruce had an up-and-down season.
The key forward carried a big load for the Bulldogs, particularly in the absence of fellow tall target Aaron Naughton for a large part of the year.
Bruce’s addition in the off-season was designed to give the Bulldogs another big focal point.
He was an important part of a forward line which ranked sixth in the competition for points scored – and while he would have undoubtedly liked a few more goals, his ability to compete in the air allowed others to impact the scoreboard.
By the numbers…
Contested Marks: 1.1
Best game: Bruce’s standout performance came in round five, where he was simply unstoppable against North Melbourne. Naughton was injured the week before against Sydney, with Bruce commanding the ball wherever he went inside-50 against the Kangaroos. He finished with six goals in an equal-career best haul. Bruce had three at the major break and five at three quarter time, before putting the icing on the cake in a 49-point win.