Dogs star Bontempelli claims AFLPA double

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Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli has made it an AFL Players Association double, winning the MVP award and being crowned the league's best captain.

The 25-year-old was a runaway winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy for MVP, receiving 1176 votes from his fellow players to finish way ahead of Carlton young gun Sam Walsh (426).

Bontempelli becomes just the third player to win the MVP and best captain award in the same season, after Brisbane legend Michael Voss (2002 and 2003) and dual Brownlow medallist Chris Judd (2011).

The dynamic midfielder is the first Bulldogs player to win the player-voted award since Luke Darcy shared the honour with Voss in 2002.

There could be more award recognition in store for Bontempelli this year as he is second favourite, behind Port Adelaide midfielder Ollie Wines, for the Brownlow Medal.

Surprisingly, Wines and fellow Brownlow fancy Clayton Oliver (Melbourne) did not place in the top-five of the MVP award.

History suggests Bontempelli could collect his first league best-and-fairest on September 19, with five of the last six MVP winners also going on to take out the Brownlow, including Brisbane champion Lachie Neale last year.

Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood praised Bontempelli for elevating his game even further since becoming skipper ahead of the 2020 season.

"When you're someone at Marcus' level it can be taken for granted because of how successful he's been already, but to operate at that level it requires the utmost amount of diligence, dedication and consistency," Wood said.

"Ever since he's taken over (as captain) he's been the focal point and worn it with absolute pride."

It was Bontempelli's night but St Kilda captain Jack Steele was also a constant presence to be in the top-five of three out of the four awards.

As well as polling well in the MVP award, Steele was voted the league's most courageous player and named the third-best captain behind Bontempelli and Melbourne skipper Max Gawn.

Explosive Sydney youngster Errol Gulden claimed the best first-year player award, finishing in front of Essendon tall Nik Cox.

AFL Players MVP

1.Marcus Bontempelli (Dogs) - 1176 votes

2. Sam Walsh (Carl) - 426

3. Touk Miller (GCS) - 411

4. Christian Petracca (Melb) - 338

5. Jack Steele (St K) - 261

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