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  1. #1
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    Barrett on Bonts

    afel.com.au

    SAID it three weeks ago on AFL Daily, now doubling down in print – Bont is the best Bulldog of the modern era, quite possibly the best ever Bulldog. Already, at just 25.

    Yes, there will be those in the Teddy Whitten, Chris Grant, Dougy Hawkins, John Schultz and Brad Johnson camps uneasy with that early call, but even before this 2021 season where a Brownlow Medal is now looming as yet another personal accolade, it was impossible to totally dismiss Marcus Bontempelli from such status.

    While Bont's achievements and numbers in just seven and a half seasons place him prominently in such discussion, it is actually the intangibles which make the strongest case for him. His presence on a football field, his ability to dispose of the ball cleanly and his durability is peerless.

    On Saturday night against St Kilda, Bontempelli booted four goals in his side's 111-point win. He's on track for a career high goal tally, his 15 from 10 matches coming at a better strike rate than his previous season-best outcome of 26 from 26 matches in the premiership year of 2016.

    In all seven of his completed AFL seasons, Bontempelli has received a personal gong, from being an incredibly unlucky runner-up to Lewis Taylor as the 2014 Rising Star through to three All-Australian jackets (2016, 2019, 2020), and three best-and-fairests (2016, 2017, 2019). Since 2015, when he placed third in club champion voting in his second season, he has never finished lower than third in that count. He has been permanent captain since 2020, and was the youngest ever to captain a VFL/AFL team when he filled in for Bob Murphy and Easton Wood in 2016, a premiership winning season.

    And on that Grand Final win that year, if you ever get the chance to watch it again, please pay close attention to his flawless 22-disposal, six-clearance, seven-tackle, nine hitout game of the then-20-year-old. Jason Johannisen, Tom Boyd and Liam Picken were outstanding, but a retrospective case could be mounted for Bontempelli as a Norm Smith Medal winner.

    With 155 matches behind him, Bontempelli is not even halfway to Whitten's 321, and more than 200 short of Johnson (364). But since playing 16 of a possible 22 in his first season, he has missed just five since, and none since 2018.

    Game No.156 will see him leading his ladder leading side under Friday night lights in arguably the most anticipated match of 2021, against second placed Melbourne. Michael Hibberd, who did the near-impossible and nullified Dustin Martin in round six, looms as Bont's next immediate challenge.
    Last edited by bulldogtragic; 23-05-2021 at 10:49 PM.
    Is that you John Wayne? Is this me?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    As much as his rift with Bevo will never be repaired, his man-crush on Bont may well be unrivalled in the AFL media world.

    Barrett genuinely loves what Bont does.

  4. #3
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    Hard to argue with any of that.

    Another couple of flags, a Brownlow and a few more Best and Fairest will get him there comfortably.
    #bemorebulldog

    Men of Mayhem

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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    Honest question about Dougie's legacy here. Noting that I never doubted his talent, after the 1985 season where the likes of Mike Sheehan had him rated the best in the business leading into 1986 - a season in which he did his knee - in which seasons and areas did he stand out?

    How long did it take him after receiving LARS treatment on his knee to come back into the fold, how long did it take for him to hit form? With the arrival of Terry Wallace and some lean or mixed years thereafter, leading up to the 1992 season where he was excellent as a forward, what was Douggie actually like?

    How much shine did the knee injury take off?

    Additionally, what was he like in the seasons before he really hit his straps in 1985?

  6. #5
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    Honest question about Dougie's legacy here. Noting that I never doubted his talent, after the 1985 season where the likes of Mike Sheehan had him rated the best in the business leading into 1986 - a season in which he did his knee - in which seasons and areas did he stand out?

    How long did it take him after receiving LARS treatment on his knee to come back into the fold, how long did it take for him to hit form? With the arrival of Terry Wallace and some lean or mixed years thereafter, leading up to the 1992 season where he was excellent as a forward, what was Douggie actually like?

    How much shine did the knee injury take off?

    Additionally, what was he like in the seasons before he really hit his straps in 1985?
    Doug was an incredible overhead mark not just for his size but full stop. For almost a decade the kickout strategy after a behind was kick it to Doug and it worked a treat.

    He could pick the ball up off the deck travelling at top pace in the middle of a pack and then pick his way out of the pack of fifteen players without an opponent laying a glove on him then hit a teammate 50 metres away with a searing pass that didn't travel more than 2 metres above the ground without the teammate having to move.

    Doug played in a time and space of his own making. It was like he'd bought his own ball and he was allowed to have it tied to his hand. He was a better player in good teams and made champion opponents as different as Robert Flower (the only one who got close to him) and Robert Dipierdomico look like mugs.

    On cold, wet miserable Saturday afternoons in the 1980s when pretty much anywhere seemed a better place to be than standing in the outer watching us getting our arses handed to us on a plate, the prospect of watching Doug light up one of the wings made it worthwhile going to the footy.
    Our *three* weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again

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  8. #6
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    Thanks mate.

    What was the timing of the impacts you mention leading up to the knee injury, and after? How long after his debut in 78 did it take for him to start ripping games apart?

  9. #7
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    Thanks mate.

    What was the timing of the impacts you mention leading up to the knee injury, and after? How long after his debut in 78 did it take for him to start ripping games apart?
    It was obvious from the start that Doug had a fair bit more talent than the average bear. He played 17 games in his debut year and then 22 games the year after that. He also kicked around 20 goals a year which was a pretty good return from the wing. It was more or less when Malthouse too over the coaching job that Doug went from being a handy player to an out and out champion. Up until then he could have been one of those players that flare for a while playing pretty good footy to the sort of once in a generation players that he became.

    He came back from the knee injury pretty well (he was out for the best part of a year.) all things considered. I can still remember him going down clutching at (MCG v Collingwood in a feature game) his knee. You could tell straight away it was bad. And I remember him coming back. At the Whitten oval, Malthouse started him on the bench and bought him on about 10 minutes into the second quarter. When he walked to the boundary and prepared to come on the crowd started to go wild. It was like a Mexican wave around the ground.
    Our *three* weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again

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  11. #8
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    if Bont does not win a brownlow, it only reinforces my bias afl has against us.

    Bont is one of the best balanced players I have every seen Really loses his feet. For someone his size, his agility and athleticism is phenomenal. His ability to pick up the ball from the ground and weave through packs is extraordinary.

    This long field kicks on saturday for a couple of goals was a pleasure to watch. His a good overhead mark

    His one of the best modern players at the moment as he can play in multiple positions, kick goals, and runs all day

    How the hell he did not win the rising star? Where is lewis taylor now ?

  12. #9
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    Thanks TD. Now back on to Bont.

    It's almost as if Damo has been logging into WOOF and we've acted as an educational tool for him to help him see what we see........Hey Damo!

    Where things get difficult for me in comparing our modern greats is they've either played in different eras or in different positions, and are all unique players in their own right. There's nothing generic about them, and in the case of two of them they've sacrificed their likely best chances at performing to their peak capacity for the betterment of the team.

    Hawkins - Wing, forward. See above for TD's excellent description of his career (also noting his major injury interrupting his career)

    West - Center. Runner back to forward controlled the areas providing unbelievable connection and was a beast in the contests (no major injury)

    Grant - CHF, CHB. Only player to pole most Brownlow votes as a CHF in a long time, and almost win one from CHB doing it in consecutive seasons. Unbelievable attack in the air, over 550 goals, sublime skills each side and could find the footy like a midfielder (major injury/s interrupting his career)

    Johnson - Wing, HFF, FF. Excellent runner and linking player, over 550 goals. Sacrificed his game to be an undersized key forward, could have been one of the best midfielders/ high half forwards of all time practically inventing the position if he didn't go forward (no major injury)

    Bontempelli - Midfielder, forward. Inside, outside, forward or in the aerial contest he dominates. Unbelievable hands, quick in close to generate space, lethal leg (no major injuries to date)

    I guess the big thing here is we're measuring the Bont's half career against careers that have been completed, but one thing that stands out for me is it was pretty easy to describe what each of the previous champions did because the game was a lot simpler when they played. Bont now plays in a time where it's system versus system, and extremely strategic/ tactical meaning the best of the best need to do a bit of everything at an elite level to really stand out amongst their peers. He can literally do everything, but does so out of necessity, and if I was to pick a player who could match that if plonked into the same situation it would be Grant.

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  14. #10
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    Quote Originally Posted by macca View Post
    if Bont does not win a brownlow, it only reinforces my bias afl has against us.

    Bont is one of the best balanced players I have every seen Really loses his feet. For someone his size, his agility and athleticism is phenomenal. His ability to pick up the ball from the ground and weave through packs is extraordinary.

    This long field kicks on saturday for a couple of goals was a pleasure to watch. His a good overhead mark

    His one of the best modern players at the moment as he can play in multiple positions, kick goals, and runs all day

    How the hell he did not win the rising star? Where is lewis taylor now ?
    With respect to the Brownlow Bont gets to play who he gets to play against, and other contenders get to do the same. It's like when Cooney won it or Priddis won it, they had good seasons against who they were up against and that's how it fell. That's why I try and avoid using personal accolades to definitively try and prove whether one player was better than another. And why having a great career should be differentiated from being the best player.

  15. #11
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    Re: Barrett on Bonts

    With regards to the Brownlow for this year anyway we will have other player stealing votes so in teams that are winning team football it will be hard for an individual to take all the points.
    Don't piss off old people
    The older we get the less "LIFE IN PRISON" is a deterrent...

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