Bontempelli: We set our own expectations
Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli says the side can’t just expect improvement to come

The Western Bulldogs have made a habit of doing things their own way.

And that will be no different in 2020, according to new skipper Marcus Bontempelli, despite the external noise around what the Bulldogs might be able to achieve this year.

The Bulldogs played a fast-paced, high-scoring brand of football in the back half of 2019 to sneak into the finals, after holding a 4-7 record half way through the year.

But Bontempelli knows the Bulldogs can’t just expect improvement to come.

“We made some ground for sure (in 2019), from our ability to score and influence. We were probably struggling to do that a little bit earlier on in the year,” Bontempelli told media at VU Whitten Oval today.

“Clearly you’ve got to kick goals to win games. It was nice to have a few where we felt like we hit our stride from a game plan and style point of view.

“Obviously the top teams are not just incredibly talented, but hard working, and you can tell there’s a symmetry and a chemistry.

“That’s what you’re chasing in a way, and also trying to forge our own path and do it in in our own way in our own style.”

The hype around the Bulldogs has built across the pre-season.

Champion Data has rated their list as the second-best in the competition, on the back of the acquisition of key forward Josh Bruce and key defender Alex Keath.

Both have settled in seamlessly and have already made an impact according to the Bulldogs’ skipper, who says the way the team’s season ended last year has provided an opportunity to grow.

“If you look at (the hype) in a good way, it’s great that people rate the football club and where we’re at,” Bontempelli said.

“But we certainly know there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge and we’ve got to meet our own expectations first.

“You recognise that it’s there, but continue to focus on what’s happening here day in, day out.

“It feels like we’re on the right track, but it’s a new season, there’s no givens in any sense. We’re hoping to continue on that sort of path, but it feels like the work is going that way.”