Josh Dunkley breaks silence on failed trade move from Western Bulldogs to Essendon

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Western Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley has opened up for the first time after his failed trade move to Essendon, vowing to fight his way into the Dogs’ midfield mix.

Dunkley was one of the big names up for a move during the trade period, publicly requesting a trade to the Bombers, but his incumbent club held firm, rejecting an Essendon offer of pick 8 and a future second-rounder.

The 23-year-old revealed that he had spoken with coach Luke Beveridge since the trade period, and said he would put off talk on his future until next summer.

“In the back of my mind I knew that it was a possibility after coming out and asking to go to Essendon, but with all respect the Bulldogs really held onto me and made it a challenge for Essendon to get me,” he told reporters.

“It’s nice to be able to know that you are wanted at the club now. I let the dust settle a little bit and then caught up with (Beveridge), I actually drove out to his place. We had a good chat and I’ve spoken to him a lot through the process as well.

“I’ll definitely put it all to one side (and) I think it’ll be exciting to go back.”

After Dunkley’s manager Liam Pickering told AFL Trade Radio that his client’s desire to move to Essendon was due to wanting more midfield opportunities, the Bulldogs not only held onto him, but added another midfielder in Adam Treloar.

While midfield minutes could be harder to come by in 2021, Dunkley revealead that he had already caught up with the Dogs’ new recruit and vowed to fight for his spot.

“You’ve got to really put your head down and work hard and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.

“Last week when it didn’t go through I was back at it the next day training and looking forward to what we can do in 2021.”