‘Frustrated’ superstar Marcus Bontempelli’s Dogs’ future in doubt

Superstar Marcus Bontempelli’s status as a one-club player is increasingly up in the air, with reports that the league’s best midfielder is unwilling to commit too far in advance on a new contract – despite his wishes to stay loyal to the Western Bulldogs.

As brought to light by Herald Sun journalist Scott Gullan on Fox Footy’s Midweek Tackle, the Bulldogs’ captain has been “sitting back” on the idea of re-signing with the club beyond 2025.

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“I feel like we tiptoed around the status of the captain, Marcus Bontempelli – he hasn’t been a big talking point so far, where do you think he stands in the club’s melee?” asked Midweek Tackle host and fellow Herald Sun journalist Jay Clark.

“There’s a lot of elephants in the room out at Whitten Oval and this is one of the biggest ones,” Gullan replied.

“While everyone’s talking about Naughton re-signing, Jamarra, English; Bontempelli comes out (of contract) at the end of 2025 – next year.

“You would think that their best player, you would get on one of these eight or nine-year deals, it hasn’t happened.

“Marcus is sitting back – because I know for a fact that over the summer he was very frustrated, he spoke to several people about the messiness of Whitten Oval (between coach Luke Beveridge and football director Chris Grant).”

Bontempelli has traditionally been a player who extends his tenure at the Bulldogs in short-term deals compared to other star players, with this situation on face value seemingly no different.

The 28-year-old signed his current four-year deal to stay at Whitten Oval in May of 2021.

Before that, he received a two-year contract extension in 2018 – signed one year before his previous contract was set to run out.

However, it is the understanding of Gullan that his continued faithfulness to the club that drafted him at Pick 4 in 2013 is no longer guaranteed, should cultural differences between key personnel and team success not be positively rectified.

In a shock to no one, the 221-game player would attract any club in the league that can afford him, should he opt out of his dozen years at the Bulldogs come the end of 2025.

“There are people who have things to do with Marcus who have said ‘I wouldn’t be shocked if he left’ – now that’s stunning, a lot of water has to go under the bridge, but the point is he’s very frustrated,” added Gullan.

“He’s very loyal Bont obviously – he wants to be there – but this is a reality, and if things continue to go down this path, and he get to the end of this year and he still hasn’t re-signed, that is trouble.

“A lot of people are watching how this plays out, including the captain, who’s frustrated and you see that on the weekend.”

Averaging 25 disposals, 1.4 goals and nearly seven clearances a game so far this season, ‘The Bont’ has been in evergreen form; contrary to his side’s topsy-turvy start in 2024.

The five-time All-Australian has been captain of the Western Bulldogs since 2020 and has kicked 207 goals to date – a seriously impressive ratio in front of the big sticks given his predominant role as an inside midfielder.

The Bulldogs clash tonight with the Saints – a must-win match for Luke Beveridge’s men if they are to stay in touch with the top eight in the short-term — and started well in a dominant first half.

Originally published as ‘Frustrated’ superstar Marcus Bontempelli’s Dogs’ future in doubt