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Bulldogs facing captaincy conundrum if Bontempelli ruled out

That means Wallis could conceivably captain his side in a preliminary final – and maybe even a grand final – despite not playing an AFL game since round 17.

Mitch Wallis trains late last month.

Mitch Wallis trains late last month.Credit:Getty

Of the club’s leadership group from last year, Jason Johannisen is also only a fringe player these days, named medical substitute in both finals to date, while Lachie Hunter relinquished his leadership role following his drink-driving incident last year. That leaves Josh Dunkley and Easton Wood, the latter of whom famously deputised as captain for much of the 2016 season, including holding the premiership cup aloft alongside Beveridge.

Wood then took over as full-time captain following Bob Murphy’s retirement at the end of 2017, before handing over the captaincy to Bontempelli at the end of 2019.

The absence of Bontempelli would be an unfamiliar problem for the Dogs. Since making his AFL debut in round five, 2014, the big-bodied midfielder has played 169 of a possible 176 matches, including 70 in a row up to Saturday night.

With the introduction of the AFL’s 12-day concussion protocols this year, Beveridge all but ruled Weightman out of the date with Port.


“I haven’t got the detail and I’d rather not make any statements around it,” Beveridge said.

“I’m not sure. I’ll have to catch up with [the club’s chief medical officer] Greg Clugston and see what’s happening. I’d say it’s likely that he won’t be available.”

Having come from an elimination final to win the premiership five years ago, Beveridge acknowledged there were similarities between that tilt and what was playing out this year.

“The struggle of the whole thing sort of reminded me a little bit of the 2016 prelim against GWS with how tense it was,” Beveridge said.

“The game was in the balance, we were down then fought back, as did Brisbane.

“To beat such a formidable opponent in a big game, it ranks right up there.”

The Dogs will travel from Perth to Adelaide later in the week for the game, and will return to Perth should they qualify for the grand final, scheduled for September 25 at Optus Stadium.

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