Marcus Bontempelli needs to complete a full session on Thursday to take his place against the Lions. Picture: Getty Images
Marcus Bontempelli needs to complete a full session on Thursday to take his place against the Lions. Picture: Getty Images

Bulldogs and Bontempelli open contract talks

THE Western Bulldogs have opened preliminary talks with its most important player Marcus Bontempelli, with both parties indicating a preference to get a deal done long before the star midfielder comes out of contract at the end of next season.

Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains confirmed today there had been initial discussions between the club's list manager Sam Power and Bontempelli's manager Tom Petroro.

"Sam Power ... has been in contact with Tom Petroro and discussions continue to bubble along," Bains told RSN927.

"I think the most pleasing part of that, regardless of how it takes from here, is that there is a great intent to get it done, which is a great reflection on where the club is at, and where the club is going."

Bontempelli, 22, will push well into the $1 million-plus territory when he inks his next deal, from which he will almost certainly be the club's next captain beyond Easton Wood.

He missed last week's win over Gold Coast, and needs to complete a full session on Thursday if he is to play against Brisbane on Saturday night.

Bains conceded how difficult it was locking players away earlier these days, with the changing face of recruiting and free agency.

"I think players, which they are entitled to do, are taking a bit more time across the season to assess where everything sits," he said.

"There are still many players that do lock in earlier, but there are also plenty that now know they have considerable options."

He said the Bulldogs will review last week's disappointing crowd of 6833, which turned up to Ballarat for the clash with Gold Coast, saying the club was confident there would again be strong attendance ahead of the Round 19 game against Port Adelaide.

Marcus Bontempelli could earn more than $1 million a season in his new contract. Picture: Michael Klein
Marcus Bontempelli could earn more than $1 million a season in his new contract. Picture: Michael Klein

"It was a little bit disappointing," he said. "We certainly had more opposition fans attend (last year), (but) we would have hoped even with our membership base that a few more might have turned up. That's something we will look ahead of our Round 19."

"We'd like to think the weekend was a once off ... last year was a full house, there are a few things we need to review."

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