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  1. #1
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    Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

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    RE-SIGNING superstar Marcus Bontempelli is clearly the biggest list management priority for the Western Bulldogs, but locking away fellow young gun Toby McLean should be a close second in the club's player-retention strategy.

    Both will fall out of contract at the end of 2019, and while the 'Bont' duly deserves the multi-season, multi-million dollar deal he is reportedly negotiating, McLean can expect to sign a much longer and more lucrative extension than the two-year contract he is on.

    McLean's growing importance to the Dogs was no more evident than when Bontempelli was a late withdrawal from last weekend's win over Gold Coast. The 22-year-old picked up the midfield slack and delivered arguably his best performance of his 45 games in the red, white and blue.

    "I thought I contributed a bit more than I have done in the past few weeks, which is good," McLean told AFL.com.au.

    "I thought Mitch Wallis, Jack Macrae and myself worked really well in there together with 'Bonti' out, so we knew we had to step up.

    "It was statistically my best game of my career, but I'm just trying to improve every week."

    In that productive afternoon in Ballarat, the midfielder collected a career-high 33 disposals at 83 per cent efficiency and laid a team-high 13 tackles. The performance is a great reflection of a player who is finding the right balance between attack and defence.

    Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge forecast such an evolution in McLean's game and believes he has the tools to join Bontempelli as one of the AFL's elite playmakers.

    "The A-graders of the competition have a great combination of speed and endurance and they're finishers or direct-assist players, and Toby can be one of those players," Beveridge told AFL.com.au in March.

    "He's also got some aggression in his game and we covet that, so he could be considered externally as one of the better midfielders in the competition if he keeps on this journey."


    While flattered by his Beveridge's lavish praise, a modest McLean isn't buying into the hype around his progress, despite his stats supporting his coach's bold prediction.

    The premiership Bulldog is 10th in the AFL for handballs, equal 17th for tackles, 18th for clearances, score involvements and running bounces and 20th for effective disposals.

    "I think being becoming an A-grader is a bit of stretch because I'm just trying to play consistently every week," he said.
    "I've been working on the balance in my game because last year I was playing better on the inside, so I'm working on my outside game more this season.

    "I'm looking to beat my opponent on the inside and then spread from the contest a lot better.
    "I tend to handball a bit more, but I think I have improved my field kicking because I've made it a priority."

    While Bontempelli is expected to pen to paper sooner than later, the Bulldog faithful can rest easy that McLean is almost certain to do likewise.

    "The Dogs have looked after me and I definitely can't see myself at any other club," he said.
    "The more games you play, the more comfortable you are around the place, so I feel like I belong here.

    "This is where I definitely want to be."
    Last edited by bornadog; 14-05-2018 at 10:54 AM.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Re-do that draft again and he goes top 5. Jet.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by lemmon View Post
    Re-do that draft again and he goes top 5. Jet.
    Good draft that year. Toby at 26, Caleb at 46, Zaine at 72. Nice.

    Within 2 years they're all Premiership Dogs.
    Smokey this is not 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutsPeanuts View Post
    Good draft that year. Toby at 26, Caleb at 46, Zaine at 72. Nice.

    Within 2 years they're all Premiership Dogs.
    Don't forget Bailey Dale at 45.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by westdog54 View Post
    Don't forget Bailey Dale at 45.
    Good call. Not a Premiership Dog, but a damn good pick up in the 40s.
    Smokey this is not 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by westdog54 View Post
    Don't forget Bailey Dale at 45.
    Played a good game on Saturday.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutsPeanuts View Post
    Good call. Not a Premiership Dog, but a damn good pick up in the 40s.
    Of the 6 players from that draft only Declan Hamilton never played a game.

  11. #8
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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Love this guy. Unassuming off field and classy on it.
    One of the great moments in life is the sense of space and time you feel between taking a hanger and touching back down.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    I wonder what the knock on his game was that meant he wasn't given a shot by the Stingrays in his u/18 season? Great call by the Charges in giving him a go.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    I wonder what the knock on his game was that meant he wasn't given a shot by the Stingrays in his u/18 season? Great call by the Charges in giving him a go.
    From an old article:

    Toby McLean is no stranger to adversity and it is driving him to AFL success

    Talent manager Mark Wheeler said McLean’s fitness levels were “miles off ”, his defensive game was poor and the Stingrays wanted to give selection preference to Jack Lonie and Bailey Dale.

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by Axe Man View Post
    I wonder how much talent doesn't get through based on these facets of the game. Sure, the TAC Cup is about getting players drafted and clubs put a premium on fitness and defencive capabilities, perhaps we need to think about the type of players pushed through the elite pathways and what their attributes might mean for the long term benefit of the game.

    Seriously, how bad could his fitness and defencive side have been not to be at least listed for the Stingrays?

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    I wonder how much talent doesn't get through based on these facets of the game. Sure, the TAC Cup is about getting players drafted and clubs put a premium on fitness and defencive capabilities, perhaps we need to think about the type of players pushed through the elite pathways and what their attributes might mean for the long term benefit of the game.

    Seriously, how bad could his fitness and defencive side have been not to be at least listed for the Stingrays?
    I see it as he was a little late bloomer. We all come on at different times, and it's amazing how you can be mediocre then have one good game and your confidence , timing and skills all come together.
    We all know the little chubby kid who all Of a sudden lost weight and looked good . I believe Oliver at Melbourne was a little chubby kid.
    Bring back the biff

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    Re: Midfield Dog 'can be an A-grader', says Bevo

    Quote Originally Posted by ledge View Post
    I see it as he was a little late bloomer. We all come on at different times, and it's amazing how you can be mediocre then have one good game and your confidence , timing and skills all come together.
    We all know the little chubby kid who all Of a sudden lost weight and looked good . I believe Oliver at Melbourne was a little chubby kid.
    Oliver was well heavy in his final year, prior to draft day he apparently embarked on a fitness kick that involved early long distance running starts to the day, and not eating until after 10am.......apparently he stripped a heap of weight.

    I was a pudgy lad until the age of 15, family and friends of family would raise concerns about my food consumption with my mum. I then grew about 5 inches in nine months. Family and friends of family once again raised concerns about food consumption with my mum because I'd slimmed right down............

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