AFL 2020: Western Bulldogs – Five Fearless Predictions

Will the Bulldogs bite match their bark in 2020?

2019 in a Nutshell

The Bulldogs finished the 2019 home and away season with a barnstorming finish, before being bundled out of the finals. 2020 looms as a big year for the Dogs, as they look to recapture some 2016 magic.

2020 Playing List

 1 Matt Suckling16 Toby McLean31 Bailey Dale
 2 Lewis Young17 Josh Bruce32 Will Hayes
 3 Mitch Wallis18 Louis Butler33 Aaron Naughton
 4 Marcus Bontempelli (c)19 Cody Weightman34 Bailey Williams
 5 Josh Dunkley20 Ed Richards35 Caleb Daniel
 6 Bailey Smith21 Tom Liberatore36 Brad Lynch
 7 Lachie Hunter22 Sam Lloyd38 Riley Garcia
 8 Jackson Trengove23 Laitham Vandermeer37 Roarke Smith
 9 Hayden Crozier24 Buku Khamis39 Jason Johannisen
10 Easton Wood25 Ben Cavarra40 Lachie Young
11 Jack Macrae26 Billy Gowers41 Jordon Sweet
12 Zaine Cordy27 Patrick Lipinski42 Alex Keath
13 Josh Schache28 Callum Porter43 Ryan Gardner
14 Rhylee West29 Tory Dickson44 Tim English
15 Taylor Duryea30 Fergus Greene46 Lin Jong
INS: Alex Keath (Adelaide), Josh Bruce (St Kilda), Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays), Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons), Riley Garcia (Swan Districts).
OUTS: Tom Boyd (Retired), Liam Picken (Retired), Dale Morris (Retired), Lukas Webb (Delisted), Fletcher Roberts (Delisted).

Be sure to check out our fearless predictions for the other AFL teams in 2020.

2020 Fixture

There is very little for the Bulldogs to complain about in response to their fixture in 2020. Double up games against two bottom six sides but just one fellow finalist is a remarkable result for a team coming off a finals campaign. Four out of five at Marvel to start the year also presents an opportunity to get off to a fast start.

Their good fortune doesn’t end there, with five Friday night games they will have plenty of prime time exposure. Luke Beveridge would also be happy with the limited time his team will spend at the airport or in transit. The dogs travel interstate just five times and remain in Victoria for the last seven rounds of the season.

While Champion Data have rated it the 12th most difficult fixture, even if they had scheduled their season themselves it is difficult to see the Bulldogs faring any better than they have.

Who were our Top Ten Bulldogs of the 2010s?

Five Fearless Predictions

Goals, Goals, Goals.

Already the third highest scoring team in the competition, the off-season acquisition of Josh Bruce is only going to make the Bulldogs more potent in 2020. Sixth in the competition last year for contested marks, the former Saint is sure to form a deadly double act with Aaron Naughton who was number two. Combined with Sam Lloyd, Tory Dickson, Josh Schache and Bailey Dale the Bulldogs have an attacking force that will be difficult to contain. We are pencilling them in as the competitions heaviest scoring for 2020.

There will be fireworks in Round Three.

It would have been a long and painful off-season for the Bulldogs. While elimination from the finals would have hurt, the manner of the defeat is what would have burned the most as they prepared for the new season. Bullied and out-muscled by GWS in the Elimination Final, the Bulldogs are fortunate they wont have long to wait to seek retribution with the teams meeting in Round Three in 2020. If you aren’t in Canberra, make sure you are home this Friday night to watch a game certain to be played with plenty of feeling.

Tim’s Tough Initiation to Continue.

At just 22 years of age, a lot of the Western Bulldogs hopes rest on the shoulders of Tim English. With the club opting against acquiring a mature ruckman in the off-season, English will once again carry much of the ruck load himself in 2020. While his potential is unquestioned, it has been a steep learning curve for the youngster to date. Only once last year did he win the hit-outs while five times he conceded 50 to his opposite number. Expect this tough initiation to the big time to continue in 2020 as he finds his feet at the highest level.

Captaincy to bring out the best of the Bont.

Already one of the competitions elite players, we are expecting the responsibility of captaincy to bring out the best from Marcus Bontempelli. Entering the prime of his career, an improved output from the prolific 24-year-old is the kind of thought that is likely to keep 17 coaches up at night.

Wood and Johannisen to fire with Keath down back.

A number of key forwards had days out against the Bulldogs in 2019. Preventing this will be priority number one for off-season recruit Alex Keath but, if successful, there will be other benefits as a result. With the former Crow responsible for the opposition’s key forward, we are expecting big seasons from Easton Wood and Jason Johannisen as they are freed to be more creative across half back.

Who did we pick in our Western Bulldogs Team of the Decade 2010-19?

Ladder Prediction

Just four seasons removed from their breakthrough 2016 Premiership win and the planets appear to be aligning for another serious tilt at the flag by the Bulldogs. With one of the most potent midfields in the competition and a favourable draw, the stage is set for a genuine premiership assault. The Bulldogs will finish between third and seventh.

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