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'Dogs secure Wallis, Liberatore
By Roger Vaughan
14:40 AEST Tue Oct 5 2010

The Western Bulldogs have completed their big AFL father-son double, giving up two early draft picks for Mitch Wallis and Tom Liberatore.

They have been training part-time with the Bulldogs for the last two years and carry two of the most famous names in the club's history.

After Tuesday morning's bidding meeting, the Bulldogs gave up pick 22 for Wallis and No.40 for Liberatore.

But their recruiting manager Simon Dalrymple said the pair would have gone earlier in the national draft.

"It's never easy when you have to give up your first two draft picks, but we've been working with the boys for two years ... their performances over the last two years, especially towards the end of this year, have really made the decision a bit easier," Dalrymple said.

"We're absolutely thrilled to have two boys we rated in the top 20.

"At this stage, we couldn't be more happy.

"We see they have great leadership potential for our club."

Mitch is the son of former Bulldogs captain Steve Wallis, who played 261 games for the club between 1983-96.

Tom's father Tony won the 1990 Brownlow medal in his 283-game career at Whitten Oval from 1986-2002.

"It's been a dream that's come to fruition now - I can remember 10 years ago thinking about (it), I've barracked for the Bulldogs all my life, the same with Tom," Wallis said.

Wallis starred last month for Calder Cannons in their under-18 premiership, racking up 47 possessions in a best-afield performance.

It has parallels to Steele Sidebottom's 10-goal haul in the 2008 under-18 grand final.

Sidebottom went to Collingwood with their top pick later that year in the national draft and last Saturday, he was a member of the Magpies' drought-breaking premiership side.

But Wallis is acutely aware of the hard work ahead.

"People say the easy stuff is getting drafted, it's when you get to a club and do that pre-season and you've got to earn the respect of your (team-mates) that the hard work actually starts," he said.

"It's my ambition to play next year, but a lot of things have to fall in place."

Liberatore, like his father, is an inside midfielder and said it was a big load off his mind that he and his best friend are now confirmed as Bulldogs players.

"It's very big honour to come to come down here and even bigger to be with my best mate as well," Tom said.

"It's a pretty big relief, especially this time of year with exams, it's good to get it off your chest and be a bit more relaxed coming into the last part of year 12."

There was no bid for Jacob Brennan, the son of West Coast full-back Michael, and the Eagles can wait until their last pick before selecting him in the draft.


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