Dogs refusing to consider trading Dunkley

Oliver Caffrey and Anna Harrington
·2-min read

The Western Bulldogs remain adamant Josh Dunkley won't be traded despite the premiership player officially requesting a move to Essendon.

Talks have been going on behind the scenes for weeks, but Dunkley has directly informed Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge of his intention to leave Whitten Oval.

The 23-year-old, who is contracted until the end of 2022 AFL season, is seeking a more definitive midfield role after being shuffled around in different positions this year.

Dunkley's manager Liam Pickering disputed reports his client was unhappy with the off-field culture at the Bulldogs.

"It's purely an on-field and playing situation for Josh," Pickering told AFL Trade Radio.

"He does want to play as a midfielder ... there wasn't those opportunities this year and it was frustrating him.

"He wants to improve his footy, he's at the peak time of his career and thinks he'll get better by playing in that role he's suited to at Essendon.

"This just hasn't happened overnight. They've (Essendon) been sort of talking to me about Josh for a couple of months.

"(Dunkley) was aware of their interest. He didn't really seriously think about it until after they (the Bulldogs) had been knocked out (of the finals)."

But a move to Tullamarine shapes as a tricky one for Dunkley, with the Bulldogs desperate to keep the 78-game player who debuted in 2016.

The Bulldogs are refusing to entertain a trade and see Dunkley, who was in the club's leadership group this year, as a long-term player.

Pickering is certain Dunkley will remain with the Bulldogs if a trade to the Bombers can't be organised.

"His focus is to get to Essendon so we're not worried about other clubs now," he said.

Meanwhile, St Kilda are keen on securing Richmond youngster Jack Higgins but are "very unlikely" to make a move for Collingwood's Adam Treloar.

Higgins is contracted at Richmond for 2021 but has been linked to a move after playing just 10 games this season.

St Kilda chief operating officer Simon Lethlean said the Saints had spoken to Higgins' management but the 21-year-old was yet to request a trade.

"We've only had discussions at the early stages that we are keen on Jack as a player," Lethlean told SEN Breakfast."

The Saints' acquisition of Adelaide free agent Brad Crouch has made a move for Treloar, who is contracted until 2025 but looks on the outer at Collingwood, less likely.

Lethlean said if Treloar "had designs on the Saints" the club would look at a deal, but St Kilda were unlikely to have the salary cap space available to secure him.

Adelaide defender Kyle Hartigan was the only player to move clubs on day two of the trade period, switching to Hawthorn for a 2021 fourth-round pick.