THE WESTERN Bulldogs will wind back the clock to replicate the midfield rotations of their 2016 premiership season, according to captain Marcus Bontempelli.
The second-year skipper starred with 33 disposals and three goals in Monday's AAMI Community Series win over Melbourne, leading an onball unit that delivered an ominous warning to their rivals.
While Bontempelli did most of his damage from the midfield, the restricted free agent will spend more time forward this year such is the added depth with the recruitment of Adam Treloar and a fully fit Josh Dunkley.
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"I'll definitely spend time forward, that's a certainty with the quality of midfielders we have in the squad and team," Bontempelli told AFL.com.au.
"It may change based on injury or how the forward line looks at different times.
"We're going back I guess to the '15, '16 period where we could chop and change a fair bit more.
"That's probably part of the DNA of our team and club that we've always moved players around and had them learn different roles and positions.
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"You know in any good team you need roles to be played and selfless is the key thing, to play a game and know you're going to have to give up a bit at times from a personal perspective for us all to achieve together.
"That's a mentality that starts with Bevo and myself and the leaders of the club."
Bailey Smith was moved to a wing against the Demons but is expected to be also used at centre bounces this season alongside Bontempelli, Dunkley, Treloar, Jack Macrae and Tom Liberatore.
It's a move that will allow Lachie Hunter, who played at half-forward on Monday, to enjoy wing minutes alongside fifth-year midfielder Patrick Lipinski.
The Dogs midfield rotated a host of names in 2016 including Bontempelli, Liberatore, Macrae, Luke Dahlhaus, Liam Picken, Lin Jong, Jake Stringer and now-forward Mitch Wallis.
Now approaching his ninth AFL season, Bontempelli is the buzz player in the competition and rated the best chance of the 2021 Brownlow Medal according to rival captains.
However, he's not feeling the pressure to extend his contract immediately, suggesting he'll assess to see where the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) re-negotiations falls for 2022 and beyond first.
"It's (communication) still ongoing, it's understanding the lay of the land and what things look like," Bontempelli said.
"My manager and TLA are still in open dialogue with the club as we work through and get closer to something.
"From my perspective and the club's as well, we're all comfortable, there's no immediate rush, we'll just get something done in the right time."
With quarters extended back to 20 minutes and interchange rotations dropping to 75 per game this year, Bontempelli admitted he's tried to adapt his body to the new style.
"For me it's been about trying to build on last year and the previous couple of years the in-roads I've been trying to make physically and then try and bring them out in-game.
"The game requiring more on-field time and less rotations, you probably feel like to be that touch leaner or you do that little bit of running to build yourself up."