Dunkley move to Essendon awkward: Bombers

Oliver Caffrey
·2-min read

Essendon's bid to lure Western Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley away from the Whitten Oval is set to run the length of the AFL trade period.

The Bombers and Bulldogs are in a tug-of-war for Dunkley, who has played 78 AFL games after debuting in his club's drought-breaking premiership season of 2016.

Bombers list manager Adrian Dodoro says the situation with Dunkley is "awkward" because the premiership hero is contracted until the end of the 2022 season.

The 23-year-old is determined to head to Tullamarine as he seeks a permanent role in the midfield after being shuffled around in different positions this year.

"We do have an interest in Josh but we respect the fact he's got a two-year contract with the Bulldogs to go," Dodoro told AFL Trade Radio.

"We've had some preliminary chats with the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are pretty resolute they want to keep Josh and we respect that.

"The Bulldogs hold the whip-hand with this one. We're certainly asking the question and we certainly will over the entirety of the trade period."

The Bulldogs have been willing to let several high-profile players go in recent seasons, including Jake Stringer and Luke Dahlhaus, but they are not keen on adding Dunkley to that list.

"Josh is someone we see being at this football club for a long period of time. He's someone we want to keep at this football club," Bulldogs list boss Sam Power said.

"We've had conversations with him over the last few weeks, just reiterating how important he is to us and that we see him here as a long-term player."

Meanwhile, Dodoro stated pick eight would be a "fair deal" if the Bombers are to trade defender Adam Saad to Carlton.

The speedy halfback has requested a trade to the Bombers' arch-rivals after three seasons at Essendon.

"Carlton aren't being unreasonable. We're discussing certain elements of that trade and I'm sure it will be done," Dodoro said.

Injury-plagued forward Orazio Fantasia has told Essendon he wants a move to Port Adelaide but Dodoro says the club are reluctant to lose more speedy players.

"There's a real hesitation to lose another one. If something's on the table we think is fair then we're more than happy to talk," he said.