Bulldogs open talks about trading Dunkley

Oliver Caffrey
·2-min read

The Western Bulldogs have softened their stance on releasing Josh Dunkley after the midfielder's shock AFL trade request to Essendon.

The Bulldogs previously ruled out letting the contracted premiership player go at all costs.

But Dunkley on Thursday went public with his desire to move to Tullamarine after the Bombers approached the 23-year-old in recent months about a switch.

Bulldogs list boss Sam Power confirmed he had a "couple of chats" with Essendon counterpart Adrian Dodoro about Dunkley, who is contracted at Whitten Oval until the end of 2022.

"I think naturally through any trade period you have to be open to any ways to improve your list," Power told Trade Radio when asked if the Bulldogs would consider trading Dunkley.

"It's really difficult when a club's come to try get a player out with two years to go on a contract.

"It's really up to that club to present to us (an attractive trade).

"Josh is such an important player and a required player.

"He's part of our leadership group and someone we see as an integral part of our club going forward."

Dunkley, who is in the Bulldogs' leadership group, has expressed a desire to spend more time as an on-baller at Essendon after being shuffled around in different positions, including the ruck, this year.

But the Bulldogs are seeking to sign veteran Brisbane Lions ruckman Stefan Martin, who is without a contract nearing his 34th birthday.

Tim English looms as a future gun, but needs more support in the ruck.

"We've got some interest in Stef. He's been a very good player for a long time," Power said.

Meanwhile, St Kilda have signed Shaun McKernan as an unrestricted free agent with the former Essendon tall joining a third AFL club.

McKernan was let go by the Bombers at the end of last season after 53 games across six seasons.

The 30-year-old forward-ruck previously played for Adelaide after debuting in 2009.

McKernan becomes St Kilda's second addition in the off-season after they secured midfielder Brad Crouch from Adelaide on Wednesday.

McKernan will provide support up forward for rising star Max King.

Essendon are considering making a play for Gold Coast forward Peter Wright and the Suns are open to offloading the 24-year-old.

Wright still has two more years to run on his current contract and the Suns could pay a portion of his salary if a trade with Essendon goes through.

Gold Coast are still open to trading in Adam Treloar but at this stage they've been told the star Magpies midfielder isn't keen to come.

The trade period runs until Wednesday but Friday is the final day of the free agency period.