Universally known throughout the AFL world as "The Bont," Marcus is the prototypical modern footballer - big, strong, athletic and skilful. An inspirational, considerate and highly regarded leader, he is respected and admired by teammates and opponents alike.
Born and raised in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Marcus is the third of four children and the only brother to his three sisters. A younger cousin of former AFL footballer Nick Dal Santo, Marcus’ father Carlo is of Italian descent and the family proudly embraces its heritage.
Educated at Marcellin College, Bontempelli played his junior football for the Eltham Panthers, often floating across half back and pinch-hitting up forward.
Picked up by the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup Under 18 competition, his move into the midfield during his draft year saw his game rise to another level as his natural ball-winning ability and creativity came to the fore.
Drafted by the Western Bulldogs with their 4th selection in the 2013 AFL Draft, Bontempelli accepted the expectation of becoming one of the key pillars the club could build its next generation around and it didn’t take long for Bulldogs fans to have those hopes realised.
Known for his cleanliness, proficiency around the contest and ability to finish with his damaging left foot, Marcus debuted early in 2014, cementing his place in the line-up with an eye-catching Round 13 performance that earned him a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in a thrilling win over Collingwood.
That performance provided him with the self-belief to steamroll through the back half of the season and win the AFLPA Best First Year Player award – the first of an impressive collection of honours that have followed ever since.
In just his third season, he led the Bulldogs midfield as the club collected its first VFL/AFL Premiership since 1954. At just 20 years of age, Bontempelli was an All Australian and the Best & Fairest player in a premiership team.
He added a second club Best and Fairest in 2017, before a career best season in 2019 earned him a third Charles Sutton Medal, second All-Australian award, and the AFLCA Champion Player of the Year.
A natural leader by words and actions, Bontempelli was voted club Captain in 2020, and in 2021 was voted by his peers as the AFLPA Best Captain.
He took his All-Australian tally to four, including selection as Vice-Captain of the side in 2021. In the same year he was voted AFLPA MVP, Bontempelli finished second in the Brownlow Medal with 33 votes, and claimed his fourth Charles Sutton Medal.
While he captained his side to a Grand Final loss in 2021, Bontempelli is still a young veteran who has the opportunity to establish himself as an all-time great in the seasons to come.
With a passion for family, travel and international sport, Marcus has combined those loves to regularly travel the world and experience sporting events around the globe.
Closer to home, Bontempelli is determined to use his public profile and influence for the good of his community, proudly serving as a My Room Ambassador to raise awareness and assistance to help find a cure for childhood cancer.
Having grown up surrounded by women, he recognises and appreciates their profound influence in making him a stronger and more sensitive person. He serves an ambassador for ‘The Line,’ a national violence prevention campaign that aims to help young people understand what healthy and respectful relationships look like.
A fine role model and eloquent speaker, Bontempelli is sought after in the commercial world and is currently an ambassador for Nike and Toyota.
Throughout 2021, Bontempelli turned his attention off field to writing his first book, a children’s book called ‘Little Bont and the Big Secret’. The book is available to purchase through Booktopia.
I’m still growing as a person, but I’m passionate about respect for women and doing what to assist young people to form these views. Hopefully I can help and round up support to get enough people involved to go a long way and effect some real change to something that’s just so important.
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