Top Dog to mix it with Freo star

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT -

HE’S been called the best player in the AFL com­pe­ti­tion, but Western Bull­dogs mid­field ace Mar­cus Bon­tem­pelli will get a true test of his cre­den­tials against Fre­man­tle skip­per Nat Fyfe in their Mar­vel Sta­dium clash to­day.

Fyfe re­turns af­ter a week out with an in­fected el­bow to set up a tan­ta­lis­ing showdown in a must-win match for both teams.

Essendon great Tim Wat­son this week called Bon­tem­pelli the hottest player in the league, av­er­ag­ing 26.3 dis­pos­als and 6.1 clear­ances.

But Fyfe has played some of his best ever foot­ball against the Bull­dogs, no­tably his Round 5 dis­play last year when he clocked up a ca­reer-high 43 dis­pos­als.

Fyfe has had more of the ball in 2019, av­er­ag­ing 29.1 dis­pos­als per game, but Bon­tem­pelli has gained more me­treage, with an av­er­age of 506.8m per game to 362.2.

The last time the two squared off Fyfe had 30 dis­pos­als to Bon­tem­pelli’s 22.

“We’re go­ing to need him to play well against the Dock­ers, who’ve got some big mids who can re­ally push you around,” Bull­dogs coach Luke Bev­eridge said of Bon­tem­pelli.

The Bull­dogs will have their hands full with the Dock­ers’ three gen­uine ruck­men in Aaron Sandi­lands, Rory Lobb and Sean Darcy.

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

Bull­dogs star Mar­cus Bon­tem­pelli trains at Whit­ten Oval this week ahead of the Fre­man­tle clash

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