Sitting pretty on top of the ladder is a fair reflection of how well the Western Bulldogs are travelling.
Winning five games on the trot in the absence of key personnel who have contributed greatly in the recent past is also impressive.
Mitch Wallis was the club’s leading goalkicker in 2020 and finished 10th in the best and fairest playing an important role inside forward 50 as the Bulldogs made the eight.
Fast forward to today and the 28-year-old finds himself in the reserves as his teammates bank up win after win with a restructured attack inclusive of Aaron Naughton, Josh Bruce and Tim English.
With that in mind, Garry Lyon and Tim Watson discussed Wallis’ situation and threw up the hypothetical of what a possible mid-season trade period might look like for multi-position player of his ilk.
“Mitch Wallis is the vice-captain of the Western Bulldogs on the back of a near All-Australian year,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast.
“For whatever reason he can’t break back in after he started in the senior team.
“He’s too good a player to be running around in the VFL. He is the vice-captain, they’re royalty the Wallis family.
“This is not saying he wants out, but this is just me thinking. He just needs to be playing footy.”
Watson says that Wallis’ skillset does not suit the the needs of the Dogs right now, hypothetically posing a potential solution.
“He is a really interesting player for this reason too, and that is he was taken out of the position that best suits him,” Watson said.
“Because of a need, they pushed him forward and they said, ‘We want you to play this role’, which was a forward that was going to apply pressure which he was great at. He then did more than that. He drew the ball and kicked goals.
“But his best position is as an inside mid. They don’t need him as an inside mid. They’ve got so much talent there, but there are a number of teams out there who would be playing him week in, week out as an inside mid.”
Lyon added: “You said if there as a mid-season trade, do you want to say the team you thought?”
Watson replied: “Yeah, Essendon.
“They would love to have a player like him, I would think.”
Wallis, who has played 153 games over 11 seasons, missed the Dogs’ drought-breaking 2016 premiership due to a broken leg and in the mind of Lyon would be intent on forcing his way back into Luke Beveridge’s side as the Dogs push towards September.
“Sometimes the reasons are just out of your control as we’ve just pointed out with Mitch who is an A-grade citizen, is the vice-captain of the club for god sakes, so he’s so well regarded,” Lyon said.
“There’d be others out there who aren’t getting a look at the moment.”
Watson: “We just wonder, someone like a Mitch Wallis just wants to play.”
Lyon: “We don’t know about him. He’s a bit different because he might say, ‘I’m prepared to stay and fight my way back into this side because I think there’s a premiership on offer. One that I missed out on because I had a broken leg’.”
Watson: “That’s true, but if you gave him the chance to go somewhere else now and play on the same money, I wonder what he might say.”
Lyon: “I don’t think he would, because of that lure of a possible flag and his personality says I’ll dig in and work away.”
Wallis picked up 18 disposals and kicked a goal for Footscray in their 67-point over the Gold Coast Suns in the VFL/East Coast league last weekend.
The Bulldogs seniors meet GWS in Canberra this Friday night while the VFL team take on the Giants at Blacktown on Thursday night.