Marcus Bontempelli will lead the Western Bulldogs as its AFL captain for a second-straight season, with Mitch Wallis appointed as his vice-captain.
Wallis was the outstanding candidate to be Bontempelli’s deputy, after a recent player vote.
A consistent leader among the Bulldogs’ ranks, 28-year-old Wallis was informed of his elevated role in front of team-mates on Thursday morning.
“I’m really humbled that my team-mates have shown the faith in me to have this title,” Wallis said.
“It does mean a lot, and I’m not taking it lightly. I’m so excited about what this group can do going forward.
“I can’t wait to support Marcus, the coaches and my team-mates on that journey.”
Bontempelli took over the captaincy from Easton Wood at the end of 2019, guiding the Bulldogs through a difficult 2020 season which was severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Wallis was a revelation in his new forward role last season, leading the Club’s goalkicking with 25.
“In Marcus and Mitch, we have two outstanding figureheads who will help carry us forward,” Beveridge said.
“Marcus did an almighty job in his first season as captain, impressively navigating the playing group through a year which had plenty of challenges.
“Mitch has established himself as a player and person at this football club that we can all admire.
“He has always been a beacon for how to carry yourself, he’s always embraced every one of his team-mates, and he’s done his absolute best to set a good example on the football field.”
The Bulldogs have revamped their AFL player leadership program for the 2021 season, which will empower the whole squad to take on more responsibility to guide the team forward, under the guidance of Bontempelli and Wallis.
“We wanted to create an inclusive approach to our leadership model, which gives every player on the list an opportunity to lead in their own way,” Beveridge said.
“We’re pleased to have a squad with many players who are keen to contribute to the leadership space, whether they have experience in the system or are just starting out their careers.
“We’ve been strong on encouraging our players to lead, whether they have an official title or not, and we’ll give them every opportunity to contribute throughout the 2021 season.”