WESTERN BULLDOGS

 

THE BLUE CHIP – MARCUS BONTEMPELLI

2016: Games/22   Averages 99 DT/108 SC

If you have a Ferrari, you don’t keep it in the garage, you want it on the road showing it off to people and making them jealous. That’s exactly what Luke Beveridge did at the start of 2016, playing ‘The Bont’ up forward, which hurt his scoring.

That all changed and the Ferrari was unleashed after half a dozen rounds and all was right again. While Marcus doesn’t accumulate massive possessions (just yet), like other mids, he was able to increase his possessions average to 24.4 (up from 21.1), as well as increasing every other stat across the board.

With the third man up rule gone for 2017 the question going around is how will that affect Bont’s scoring. It will take a small hit, but with Bont playing midfield he will get to more contests, which turns into more tackles, clearances and possessions. When not playing in the midfield he will rest forward where he is equally dangerous where he is more than capable of kicking goals.

‘The Bont’ is ready to explode in 2017 and you should have no problem drafting him as a high M2, or if you’re feeling confident then draft him as low M1.

 

 SPACE CADET – LACHIE HUNTER

2016: Games/22   Average: 103 DT/94 SC

 If Lachie Hunter gets any further outside, he’ll be playing in the grandstands. Playing every game in 2016, Hunter increased his possessions to 28 (up from 22) and increasing his marks to 5.6 a game. On top of that, Lachie’s time on ground increased a whopping 16% up to 88%.

Like most outside wingmen contested possession is always an issue, but with Hunter he is getting such a high volume of possessions and his mark totals are solid, it’s mitigated.  With the Bulldogs contested game style, Lachie is able to get a good amount of tackles (66) to help his scoring.

Hunter is perfect for your DT scoring format where he finished 20th for average and 14th for total score (2276), which was only 320 behind Patrick Dangerfield. Lachie’s scoring is somewhat capped in SC due to the fact he doesn’t get the contested ball, but if you’re getting him as an M4 in SC and M2 in DT, then you are well on your way to setting yourself up for a successful season.

 

BEAST MODE – TOM LIBERATORE

2016: Games/17   Average: 81 DT/91 SC

 ‘Libba’ is a beast when it comes to the contest. After missing 2015 with an ACL injury, we saw Tom’s fantasy scores take hit in both formats (down 18 points in DT & 19 in SC). But don’t let that scare you, you see it’s a common theme that players returning from serious knee injuries take at least a year to get back to top form.

Libba is an inside mid through and through. Sure, Luke Beveridge played him forward in 2016, but I think that was more to ease Tom back in to the demands of AFL football and make sure there were no problems with his knee. In 2014 Libba was 1st for tackles (8 per game) and 1st for total clearances (7.1 a game). Tom put those numbers up before Beveridge took the helm.

With the Bulldogs contested game style, we caught a glimpse of the return of beast mode when Tom laid 19 tackles in a game against Melbourne.  Whilst being eased back into the season, Tom’s time on ground dropped to 78% (down 8% from 2014). Again, I’m putting that down to player management.

Expect Libba to return to full beast mode in 2017 and I can see a 100 DT average and 107 SC, which would see him drafted as an M3.