AFL: Marcus Bontempelli franked his Brownlow Medal favouritism with a perfect display against St Kilda

Already favourite to win the Brownlow Medal, a perfect game from Marcus Bontempelli on Saturday night earned him full votes from the coaches and supreme praise for his “brilliant” season.

The Western Bulldogs captain was peerless in his team’s 111-point thrashing of St Kilda, kicking four goals in a performance that moved his coach Luke Beveridge to declare Bontempelli was “hard to combat”.

Beveridge said Bontempelli had produced “brilliant” seasons before but suggested he could have gone to a new level in 2021.

But it’s been the elevation of the 25-year-old’s leadership game, in his second year as captain, which has continued to impress Beveridge.

“I’m in the habit of reminding people how outstanding he has been over a long period of time,” Beveridge said.

“He is having a brilliant year, there is no doubt about it, but he has had brilliant years in the past.

“But there’s a maturation that you hope to get to with our playing group and your list, and it’s always in a state of flux, boys coming in and playing roles and making contributions to the team, and Marcus is heading all that up with his influence through his words and his action and what he is doing on and off the field.

“Whether there are new levels of that, maybe. But we’ve all been really thankful for what he has been able to do for a long period of time.

He’s such a big, brawny, fierce athlete as much as a highly skilled, courageous footballer, and it’s hard to combat.”

💥 🐶 clean sweep votes
4️⃣ players joined Bont with perfect coaches votes AND a new leader has #FiredUp to🔝 of the @AFLCoaches Champion Player of the Year Award leaderboard 👇🏻

Dashing defender Bailey Dale was judged second best by the coaches in the big win over the Saints.

His match return of 34 disposals, 761 metres gained and five inside 50s to go with 11 score involvements, eight intercepts and two goals also earned him plaudits from Beveridge, having moved to defence in 2021.

“Bailey is one of those players who we have always felt that was too good a player to be out of the team,” Beveridge said.

“His foot skills are sublime at times, and he’s always had a willingness to defend.”

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