WESTERN Bulldogs midfielder Mitch Wallis declared “Bulldogs has always been in my blood” as he turned his back on free agency.

The Herald Sun can reveal Wallis has re-signed for three years at Whitten Oval and sets his sights on becoming a leader for one of the youngest lists in the AFL.

Wallis’s signature leaves teammate Jordan Roughead, West Coast’s Andrew Gaff and Scott Lycett and Geelong’s Dan Menzel as the only in-demand free agents still weighing up their options.

Brisbane Lions were confident of luring Wallis, 25, while it is believed Essendon and Carlton also made inquiries.
“The nature of the business is there’s people after you and you’d be silly not to exercise your rights to have chats,” Wallis told the Herald Sun.

“But it was always in my head it was going to be Bulldogs, it was just about coming to a deal we were happy with.

Mitch Wallis celebrates a Bulldogs goal.

“Bulldogs has always been in my blood – it’s who I am. Emily, my fiancé, was the first to find out and then I rang mum and dad straight away.

“They’re obviously Bulldog people and dad has a very strong connection to this club. To sign this deal and hopefully stay a Bulldog forever means the world to him, and means the world to me.”

Wallis was on stage to induct his father, former captain Steve Wallis, into the Bulldogs’ Hall of Fame at the club’s season launch this year.
Wallis weighed up his future while holidaying in Noosa with teammates this month.

“In my head I decided a couple of weeks ago,” Wallis said.

“But I promised myself and my manager and my family that I’d go through a process at the end of the year where I’d relax and get away from footy for a bit.

“You can nearly break this year up into parts. I battled a few injuries early in the season and then got dropped halfway through the year, which was disappointing.

Mitch Wallis chases the loose footy. Picture: Michael Klein

“I tried to move on as quickly as I could, but it did hurt a bit. And then the pressure was on, really.
“I’ve never been in that uncomfortable position before, because of obviously never being out of contract like that.

“But I felt like my form was pretty consistent for the last 12 weeks.”

Wallis booted 20.3 to finish third on the club’s goalkicking this year, bettering the 15.13 he kicked in 2015.

Wallis was hopeful close mate Tom Liberatore, who suffered an ACL injury in Round 1, would also recommit.

“I did (speak to him) during the season, but as soon as the season finishes Libba’s one to go on a holiday,” Wallis said.

Tom Liberatore celebrates a goal with Mitch Wallis.

“He took off straight away, so I haven’t spoken to him post-playing. But he obviously has a lot of the same family ties and emotional ties to the club, so I hope he follows suit and signs on.”

The Dogs will have vacancies in their leadership group next year given Jack Redpath’s retirement and Roughead’s likely defection to the Eagles.

Wallis said he wanted to teach a balanced approach to football.

“Leadership is a massive part of my character and what I think I can bring to the club,” he said.

“With new draftees coming in we could be younger again, so being an experienced player on our list – along with Easton (Wood) and Marcus (Bontempelli) and Lachie (Hunter) – it’s our job to make it easier for these younger kids and teach them the right ways.”