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  1. #1
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    Bont hopeful blue-chip Bulldogs will re-sign

    Bont hopeful blue-chip Bulldogs will re-sign



    Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli is hopeful that three of his big-name teammates will re-sign with the club despite the ends of their contracts looming.

    Midfield star Bailey Smith, athletic forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and ruckman Tim English are three blue-chip Bulldogs off contract next season as a squeeze on the Bulldogs? salary cap looms.

    Bontempelli, determined to ensure the Bulldogs rebound after missing the finals this year, said he was ?very hopeful? the trio would re-sign.

    ?It?s part of the process, whether it gets close to free agency, all those things, you have to go through the process to work out what your future looks like, the long term and the short term,? he said.

    ?I know that they all really love the football club. They all have deep roots to making it a successful club. That?s all you can really go on. You are here for anything they want to talk about, or to be there for them. But it?s really part of their own journey, part of your journey to help support them through it, but I am pretty confident they all really love playing for the football club. Hopefully, they do want to stay around for a long time.?

    After an indifferent 2023 campaign, where he admitted to struggling to deal with coach Luke Beveridge?s decision to have him spend more time forward, Smith has already begun an intense off-season training program.

    Bontempelli said Smith, who was in good spirits when he stepped out with partner Gemma Dawkins in the Birdcage on Derby Day, was aiming to be a consistent midfield force.

    ?I do think so. He has all the traits to play in that part of the ground more consistently. He, like any athlete, would have felt like he didn?t quite get exactly what he feels like he knows he is capable of,? Bontempelli said.

    That's what you always want, players around you who feel like they can be contributing more, and helping you in different ways.

    You can't really ask more of a teammate in that sense and, it looks like, from what I can tell, he is working his butt off to make sure he is raring to go come pre-season time.

    Smith's future had been a public discussion point heading into last month's trade period, before his manager quashed suggestions he could have been on the move.

    Smith told Seven through the season that he had ?fallen into the trap of over-training and being too obsessed?, and had struggled to accept a role more forward of the ball. He averaged 23.52 touches this season, compared to 29.11 in 2022.

    It was a different change this year ... I hope I play more midfield next year, he said.

    Having already locked away Aaron Naughton on an eight-year deal, the longest tenure of any current player, Ugle-Hagan is another player who could command a monster deal.

    Former St Kilda star Leigh Montagna believes Ugle-Hagan, 21, could secure a deal of close to $1.5 million under the increase in the new collective bargaining agreement.

    Ugle-Hagan, the former No.1 overall draft pick, has said he wants to remain at the club that has embraced him since the age of 15.

    With young, athletic forwards like Jamarra, they don't grow on trees. He is an exceptional talent, but he has already spoken to the fact from the NGA Academy all the way up, he has felt a deep connection to the Bulldogs, Bontempelli said.

    That's probably enough for right now to feel really confident he, once again, wants to push this club forward off his own boot but also a more leadership capacity.

    Rival clubs, including Sydney, could offer him a life-changing contract, with the Swans seeking a long-term marquee name to replace the retired Lance Franklin.

    Marcus Bontempelli has had minor ankle surgery, and doesn?t expect his pre-season program to be greatly impacted.

    The midfielder has had surgery on a sore right ankle, but does not expect his summer program to be derailed when official pre-season training begins on November 27.

    Bontempelli said he felt soreness while training in the US and Canada during his break, with scans recommending a cleanout was the best option.


    I had a little scope, a little cleanout about two days ago. So, I am still on crutches for another couple of days until it all settles down. It was just one of those things. I started to ramp up my training while I was away overseas, and just noticed it swelling up a little bit more than it should have, Bontempelli told this masthead on Wednesday.

    I was still able to get through the majority of my program but, after coming back, and having an X-ray, it just felt like in the end it was better to take action now, just get through, clean it out, and have me set back a couple of weeks, but hopefully up and going by the time we are back at training.

    I will still have a couple of good weeks of training through that early return period.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

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  3. #2
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    Re: Bont hopeful blue-chip Bulldogs will re-sign

    I think it's a really positive sign that Smith is setting his sights on a big pre-season. A consistent top level season from Smith in 2024 lifts our potential horizons I reckon. If he can find a way to impact as many games as Bontempelli/Libba/English/Richards/Treloar do during a home and a way season, then that's going to mean good things for us next year for sure.

  4. #3
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    Re: Bont hopeful blue-chip Bulldogs will re-sign

    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee Hotel Foxtrot View Post
    I think it's a really positive sign that Smith is setting his sights on a big pre-season. A consistent top level season from Smith in 2024 lifts our potential horizons I reckon. If he can find a way to impact as many games as Bontempelli/Libba/English/Richards/Treloar do during a home and a way season, then that's going to mean good things for us next year for sure.
    Contract coming up, so need to maximise it
    FFC: Established 1883

    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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  6. #4
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    Re: Bont hopeful blue-chip Bulldogs will re-sign

    Dunkley trying to impress Brisbane got us to a Grand Final (among other things). I'll take one particularly good year from Smith even if he's our only up and coming midfield talent under 26.

    Would hate to lose JUH though.

  7. #5
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    Re: Bont hopeful blue-chip Bulldogs will re-sign

    Treloar is the one taking the midfield spot Smith covets. Smith just has to force Treloar out and he can do that by cleaning up his disposal.
    They've done studies you know, 60% of the time, it works every time!
    Brian Fantana.

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