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Opposing Threat: Bulldogs

The Dogs have had somewhat of a rollercoaster season sitting 4-5, and find themselves just outside the top eight.

Though they have beaten quality sides such as Richmond, Brisbane and Hawthorn, losses to Carlton and Gold Coast makes them somewhat of an unknown proposition.

Led by an impressive on-ball brigade with the likes of Jack Macrae, Lachie Hunter and Marcus Bontempelli, at their best the Dogs are a dangerous opponent.

Macrae has continued his outstanding 2018, averaging 31.1 disposals this year - the most of any Bulldog - and the 8th most in the competition. The 24-year-old is in elite company, leading the likes of Shaun Higgins, Nat Fyfe and Josh Kelly in average disposals, while also gathering 4.3 clearances.

However when it comes to clearances, it’s Bontempelli who leads the way, averaging 6.3 per game - the 12th most in the league.

Standing at 193cm, Bontempelli uses his height and strength to win the contested ball, but also burst away from the pack find the ball on the outside. The 23-year-old averages 27.1 disposals per game, 4.8 marks and 3.8 tackles; proof he can impact all areas.

Up forward, there’s been a standout with second-year player Aaron Naughton proving to be a dominant force. Naughton averages just under 3 contested marks per game, the most of any Bulldog, and the 7th most in the competition - more than players such as Lance Franklin, Rory Lobb and Tom Lynch.

The 19-year-old had a breakout performance in Round 7 against Richmond, taking a game-high14 marks and booting 5 goals at Marvel Stadium.

Playing predominantly as a backman in 2018, Naughton continues to improve each week, and will be one to watch.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs