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.
After taking the competition by storm at the end of 2020, this was set to be a big year for Bailey Dale.
The Bulldogs’ forward line struggled early, but Dale was an important contributor in a period of wins against the GWS Giants, Sydney Swans and North Melbourne.
He kicked a goal in all bar two games he played but couldn’t find the goal-kicking hot streak from the year before.
An ankle injury saw Dale miss a couple of games mid-season. He returned for two games, but couldn’t break back in after losing his spot following the round 12 win against the Adelaide Crows.
By the numbers…
Best game: Dale’s best performance for 2020 was early in the season, as the Bulldogs strung together a trio of wins. He collected 15 disposals in round four against the Swans – including nine contested possessions – plus four marks and a goal, as the Bulldogs recorded a 28-point win.
What a season 2020 was for Caleb Daniel.
The 24-year-old established himself among the game’s top tier of players and elite rebounding defenders, winning his first Charles Sutton Medal and first All Australian guernsey.
Daniel’s switch to half back only a couple of years ago looks to be a masterstroke. His ability to set up the play by foot as the Bulldogs’ ‘quarterback’ was a key reason for their charge to the finals.
He was the club-house leader for effective kicks and intercept possessions, a clear second for rebound-50s and third for metres gained.
Almost every week, Daniel was among the Bulldogs’ six-to-eight most influential players.
By the numbers…
Kick efficiency: 77.3%
Rebound 50s: 3.8
Best game: Good luck settling on one game. That said, we’ve landed on Daniel’s elimination final performance against St Kilda. He was sensational in his customary role across half back for most of the game, before moving higher up the ground to have a big impact in the final-quarter comeback. Daniel finished with 26 disposals and a goal, plus six intercepts and four rebound-50s.