Bont primed to become next Dogs skipper
Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli says he is ready and willing to be the next captain of the club and has opened up on the battles he faced to finish last season amid a hip injury.
A vice-captain under Easton Wood this year, Bontempelli said he was fully supportive of his skipper but was waiting in the wings if and when an opportunity arose to lead the club.
"It would be a huge honour," Bontempelli, 23, said.
"I appreciate being mentioned in the conversation. Being vice-captain of the club is a massive honour, too. But naturally if the progression happens and that's what the group feels is needed, then I'll be happy to put my hand up.
"But Woody's done an incredible job to fill in in the absence of Bob (Murphy) in 2016 and then take over the role more permanently the past two years.
"In my mind as vice-captain right now, you do your best to support Easton in his role as skipper."
Bontempelli is enjoying career-best form through the midfield this year, having got his body right after a niggling hip injury hampered him in 2018.
While he still finished third in the Bulldogs' best-and-fairest last season, Bontempelli revealed he was close to missing games as he battled the ongoing hip complaint.
"It was a little bit tough," Bontempelli said.
"The game is such a stress on your body and physically demanding week-to-week. It's a bit of a grind at times and I probably felt as though I was grinding out more games than I wasn't last year
"It hurts you a bit inside because you always want to be able to front up and play your best week-to-week and when you're physically not able to do that with all the tools at your disposal, it does weigh you down.
"I don't like to give it too much attention because I was willing to play if I could function properly and to me that says I should be judged just as much as everyone else out there.
"But the good thing about this year is that I've been able to shake those off over the pre-season and get myself on a good path to hopefully be able to influence games more."