Bulldogs 'desperate' for Dunkley to stay

·2-min read

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is desperate for Josh Dunkley to remain with the AFL club, but concedes the star midfielder may be among a host of players to leave.

The Bulldogs' season came to a crashing halt on Saturday night when they coughed up a 41-point lead in a 13-point elimination final loss - 11.7 (73) to 8.12 (60) - to Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

Dunkley's bid to join Essendon at the end of 2020 fell through, and he has now been linked to Port Adelaide.

The 25-year-old has already been tabled a new offer by the Bulldogs, but he's yet to let the club know of his intentions.

Norm Smith medallist Jason Johannisen, who is an unrestricted free agent, is attracting interest from Gold Coast.

Bulldogs defender Zaine Cordy is another player weighing up his future.

"There are some unknowns," a frank Beveridge said after the loss to Fremantle.

"We're desperate, we hope Josh is going to stay, but I can't tell you whether he is or whether he isn't.

"There are a couple of boys in that boat - JJ, Zane, there may be one or two others.

"The scope to move clubs - whether it's free agency or in contract - it's pretty significant. We all have to manage our situation within the ceiling of the salary cap."

The Bulldogs have been heavily linked to Fremantle forward Rory Lobb.

Lobb has booted a career-best 36 goals this season while rotating between his forward line and back-up ruck roles.

The 29-year-old would give the Bulldogs vital experience in attack alongside Aaron Naughton, Sam Darcy, and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

Veteran forward Josh Bruce was axed for the elimination final after booting just one goal from five games in his return from an ACL injury.

The 30-year-old is contracted until the end of 2023, with next season looming as a make-or-break year for him.