Port Adelaide premiership player Kane Cornes believes Marcus Bontempelli is the AFL’s most ‘clutch’ player.
Clutch, the term used to describe a player who steps up in big moments, is a word proudly owned by many worldwide sporting superstars.
LeBron James, Tom Brady and Michael Jordan hold the title in America, while the likes of Jimmy Bartel, Wayne Carey and Darren Jarman have proved clutch here in Australia.
Cornes says the ‘Bont’ has taken this mantle however, a proven big game performer over his young career.
“For me, with only 42 days until the season opener, the one player who I want with the ball in their hands, when the game is on the line is the Bont,” Cornes told SEN.
“For me, Marcus Bontempelli, is right now the best clutch performer in the competition.”
Cornes also noted Crows legend Mark Ricciuto and Cats hero Jimmy Bartel as two players who would carry their team over the line when needed most.
“Two-time Crows premiership coach, and the usually highly strung Malcolm Blight, says he could relax in the coaches box whenever Mark Ricciuto had possession of the ball in a big game, as nine times out of 10 his possessions hurt the opposition,” Cornes said.
“Geelong fans loved nothing more than seeing the long sleeved number three from the Cats drifting forward late in a game, usually to mark strongly and kick truly to seal a famous victory in front of 80,000 at the MCG.
“Jimmy Bartel thrived in big moments.”
Bontempelli produced a scintillating finals series in 2016, guiding his young Bulldogs to the most unlikely of premierships after stepping up when his name was called.
This goal in the final quarter of the preliminary final is the very definition of clutch:
Cornes also mentioned the clutch stars of days gone by, with household names being no surprise to any football fan.
“In the 80’s it was the likes of Brereton and Lockett, and the 90’s were dominated by King Carey, Gary Ablett, Darren Jarman and teammate Andrew McLeod, who won two Norm Smith medals on the biggest stage of all,” Cornes said.