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  1. #1
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    Why 2018 was the biggest year in Western Bulldogs star Mitch Wallis’ life in more ways than you think

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    Luke Beveridge had just got off a flight in September when Mitch Wallis’ number flashed up on his phone. It was the phone call the Western Bulldogs’ coach had been waiting for. Although he didn’t know if it was going to be the answer he wanted to hear.

    After returning from a horrifically broken leg midway through 2017, which caused him to watch the fairy tale premiership in 2016 from the wrong side of the fence, Wallis endured another tough year in 2018. This time it centred around where he was going to ply his trade in 2019 and beyond.

    Brisbane and Essendon were keen, very keen. They offered longer deals and bigger dollars. But in the end, the midfielder who was born with red, white and blue blood coursing through his veins, recommitted to the club he has supported since the moment he was born for a further three years.

    Before the 26-year-old came to that decision, he spent a weekend away with his old man, former Footscray captain Steve Wallis, on the family farm in Tallarook where he finally realised he had made his mind up on the drove home. And that’s when he dialled Beveridge’s number.

    “To be honest, we didn’t speak too much about footy. A lot had gone on in the season and we went for a two-day getaway just the two of us. I’m not sure what we were even going there to talk about, but on the car ride home I turned to him and said: I want to stay. And I think that was the turning point,” Wallis told foxsports.com.au.

    “I had to ring ‘Bevo’ right there and then. It was a weight off my chest, although I didn’t realise that until then. He was at the airport and he didn’t know what I was ringing for. He was coming back from a holiday and it was a really special moment. My dad was sitting next to me in the car, so it was great to share it with him, too.

    “Bevo was the first person I rang and I think I owed that to him because he backed me in. There was a little bit of pride in making sure he was the first person to know outside my wife and my parents and my family that I was going to stay at the Dogs.”

    Nearly five months on from the moment that ended all the speculation around his future, Wallis admits he nearly packed up his life at the kennel and started afresh somewhere else.

    But after thinking long and hard, the man who wears the No. 3 jumper made famous by Ted Whitten, Arthur Oliver and Chris Grant is thrilled he didn’t pick leave.

    “You have to say I was close (to playing for another club), because you don’t half-heartedly explore a contract somewhere else. If you are exploring then there is part of the make up in your head that you could play somewhere else,” he said.

    “I went and spoke to other clubs and it grew my confidence that people want you and you have a future in the game.

    “But I love this club, and having lived the last three or four months, where I’ve been put in the leadership group, training well and having a good pre-season, I’m so glad with the decision I made. But all the elements before it made it a good decision.

    “Although that period was probably the hardest, it was when I did the most of my learning. I stood back and started to think about my life and not just my footy. I had a real clear direction on where I wanted to go. And that was with the Dogs.”

    Football isn’t the only passion Wallis shares with his old man. They both studied the same course at the same university — a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting at Victoria University — graduating 28 years apart.

    When Mitch donned the cap and gown in December it marked the end of eight years at university. He took a semester longer than Steve to finish the degree, much to the dismay of the younger Wallis, and he still has plenty of catching up to do away from football, given the phenomenal success his dad has had in the car business.

    “Up until I graduated, I didn’t understand the significance of me and him doing that. Doing it together; doing it at the same uni; having some of the same teachers. So there is a great story behind it,” he said.

    “It is hard being a full-time footballer and studying; I don’t know too many players that will say it is easy to do.

    “There is a photo of dad at VU that I used to walk past so it kind of feels like we are following the same path a little bit, and I’ve got massive interest in business and life outside of footy. Dad is a great example of someone who had a career outside of footy and he has been a really successful businessman.”

    While inking a new deal and completing university were two major moments in a life changing 2018, they weren’t the biggest thing that happened to Wallis last year.

    He married long-time partner Emily Clemmens in Sorrento a couple of days before Christmas, with Western Bulldogs teammate Tom Boyd and former teammate Koby Stevens two of his groomsmen, alongside his younger brother and his best mate from St Kevin’s College.

    With a new contract, both at the club and at home, Wallis looms as one of the Western Bulldogs’ most important players in 2019.

    And after the past two years, they need him more than ever.
    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: Why 2018 was the biggest year in Western Bulldogs star Mitch Wallis’ life in more ways than you think

    I am so glad Mitch decided to stay. We need guys like him around the club.
    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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  5. #3
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    Re: Why 2018 was the biggest year in Western Bulldogs star Mitch Wallis’ life in more ways than you think

    Your club is more important than money. It's where you are born and where you grew up and no amount of money in the world can change that. I haven't heard too many players say "I'm glad I left my club for money" more often you hear regrets from players that they weren't one club players.
    AFLW Premiers 2018

    After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
    Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
    And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
    Police officer's station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
    Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
    Police officer's station.
    Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
    The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
    Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
    We didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
    And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
    Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
    There was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
    Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed.
    And I said "Obie, I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. "
    "He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car. "


    Arlo Guthrie

    WOOF NUMBER 6

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  7. #4
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    Re: Why 2018 was the biggest year in Western Bulldogs star Mitch Wallis’ life in more ways than you think

    Loyalty and tradition are infinitely more valuable than the $. I am thinking Grant, Smith, West, Johnson, Darcy, Liberatore and many others. From the Club's website "With the Bulldogs at rock bottom and the future of the club in doubt, Grant refused a large financial offer from Port Adelaide, a selfless act that many in the football world applauded him for. A letter from a young supporter begging Grant to stay, with a 20 cent coin attached as incentive, became a symbol of Grant’s loyalty
    Well done Mitch, glad you remain a bulldog and have a great year.

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  9. #5
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    Re: Why 2018 was the biggest year in Western Bulldogs star Mitch Wallis’ life in more ways than you think

    So happy Mitch stayed with us in the end. Hope he has a great 2019. A great Bulldog!
    AFL PREMIERS 2016

  10. #6
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    Re: Why 2018 was the biggest year in Western Bulldogs star Mitch Wallis’ life in more ways than you think

    Quote Originally Posted by westbulldog View Post
    Loyalty and tradition are infinitely more valuable than the $. I am thinking Grant, Smith, West, Johnson, Darcy, Liberatore and many others. From the Club's website "With the Bulldogs at rock bottom and the future of the club in doubt, Grant refused a large financial offer from Port Adelaide, a selfless act that many in the football world applauded him for. A letter from a young supporter begging Grant to stay, with a 20 cent coin attached as incentive, became a symbol of Grant’s loyalty
    Well done Mitch, glad you remain a bulldog and have a great year.
    ... the some Chris Grant that ended up making millions in property development in the Western Suburbs. I'm 100% certain he made the correct call.
    Western Bulldogs: 2016 Premiers

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  12. #7
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    Re: Why 2018 was the biggest year in Western Bulldogs star Mitch Wallis’ life in more ways than you think

    It just would have been so wrong to see him running around in different colours. So happy he chose to stay as you can't have enough "good characters" in footy clubs.

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