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Dogs skipper, Dees stars set for Brownlow

·3-min read

Whether Marcus Bontempelli claims the Brownlow Medal or not, his former skipper Easton Wood is backing the Western Bulldogs superstar to take a busy pre-grand final schedule in his stride.

Bontempelli, Port Adelaide bull Ollie Wines and Melbourne duo Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca - who 'The Bont' will face in next Saturday's season decider - headline the favourites.

Wood tipped teammate Jack Macrae to snap up plenty of votes but hailed Bontempelli's remarkable season.

"His chances (of winning) are pretty bloody good," Wood said.

"Having a front-row seat to watching him play this year, he's been remarkable - and he's been remarkable every year I've watched him but he's taken his game to another level this year.

"He's the only player I've ever seen in my entire career get faster as he's gotten older, which is astonishing.

"He never used to break out of packs with pace when he started and now he just puts his head down and he breaks through lines."

Bontempelli and Oliver have split the season's two biggest prizes so far.

The Bulldog claimed the AFLPA MVP award, while the Demons sensation was named the Coaches Association's champion player.

Wood, who Bontempelli succeeded as Bulldogs captain last season, expected the level-headed 25-year-old to handle the pressure, as always, with aplomb.

"He's managed the pressure very, very well from as soon as he came in," Wood said.

"He came in as an 18-year-old and it was almost like you'd had a 35-year-old veteran's head, placed on an 18-year-old's shoulders and that's just kind of how he's been.

"He's always been really certain about what his goals are and what his drive is.

"So he always comes with a curious attitude but he always comes with a purpose and he's done that ever since he's come to the club.

"He just applies that to everything - he's applied that to his captaincy and I'm sure he won't be distracted at all by the stuff going on this week with the Brownlow.

"I mean, it'd be lovely, it'd be nice for him to win but I know he couldn't care less. It's all about the game on the weekend. But we hope he wins."

A pack of Bulldogs will attend the event in Perth, while Wood will be among those to tune in together from the club's hotel.

Melbourne will just have Oliver, Petracca, Max Gawn, Steven May, Jake Lever and Kysaiah Pickett in attendance, with the rest of the Demons to watch the count together.

"I'm sure they're pretty excited by having some players certainly in the mix to win the award, which is fantastic for our footy club," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said.

"To have Clayton, Christian and even Max as an outside chance to poll really well in the event is a great accolade for those guys, but obviously a bit of excitement in the playing group around that.

"We don't play for individual awards but it's great recognition for those guys to be in the mix."

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