THE WESTERN Bulldogs aim to lock in captain Marcus Bontempelli to a new deal before he reaches free agency next year after beginning contract discussions earlier this season.
The Dogs superstar's deal ties him to the Bulldogs until the end of 2021, when he will be a restricted free agent, but the club is working on an extension.
Bontempelli signed a two-year contract extension in November, 2018, a year before that contract was due to end and Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said the club would aim for the same timeline for his next deal after the AFL's contract freeze was ended.
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"Yeah definitely. With the prohibition on concluding contracts only being lifted recently, I think contracts like Marcus' come back on the table," Bains told AFL.com.au's Footy Feed podcast.
"I know (Bulldogs list manager) Sam Power and Tom Petroro, who manages Marcus, had some preliminary discussions earlier in the year.
"We'd be keen to do that. Clearly Marcus as our new captain in 2020 is really deeply committed to the club as well, so I think that will happen over the coming months and will be terrific for our club as well."
Bontempelli could be due for a mega-deal, with star players often securing long and lucrative extensions before they reach free agency for the first time.
The 24-year-old took over the Bulldogs' captaincy at the end of last year and is a three-time best and fairest winner and two-time Virgin Australia AFL All-Australian.
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His contract talks will be a priority for the Dogs this year who, under list boss Power, have locked away most of their young talent beyond 2020.
Premiership skipper Easton Wood, who handed the captaincy on to Bontempelli, falls out of contract at the end of this season and had opened talks prior to the COVID-19 enforced contract shutdown in March.
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The AFL last month lifted the contract freeze after the players union agreed to their compressed fixture block.