Western Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli is enjoying another brilliant season – which comes as no surprise to senior coach Luke Beveridge.
In his second year as captain, the 25-year-old has perhaps gone to another level with his game and leadership.
Bontempelli had 26 disposals and kicked four goals to again be among the best players on the ground, as the Bulldogs defeated St Kilda by 111 points on Saturday night to move back to the top of the AFL ladder.
“He’s such a big, brawny, fierce athlete, as much as a highly-skilled, courageous footballer,” Beveridge said post-game.
“It’s hard to combat. He was outstanding again tonight.
“I’m in the habit of reminding people how outstanding he’s been over a long period of time.
“He is having a brilliant year, there’s no doubt about it. But he’s had brilliant years in the past.”
The three-time All Australian and three-time Charles Sutton Medallist has led from the front in 2021, as the depth of the Bulldogs’ squad has been put to the test.
Beveridge believes leading the team through this period has seen his captain grow.
“There’s a maturation that you hope you get to with your playing list and your group… you’re always in this state of flux, you’re changing all the time,” he said.
“Even us with boys coming in and playing roles and making enormous contributions for the team.
“Marcus is heading all that up with his influence through his words and his actions, and what he’s doing on and off the field.
“Whether there’s new levels of that… maybe.
“But we’ve all been really thankful for what he’s been able to do over a long period of time and tonight was another example of how prolific he can be in the encounter.”