Josh Dunkley and Jack Gunston have spoken about their interest in moving to Brisbane – whether Chris Fagan is the coach or not.
Plus Sydney, always a quiet mover, has had its first potential trade revealed.
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DOG, HAWK STILL KEEN ON BRISBANE AFTER REVELATIONS
Wantaway Bulldog Josh Dunkley says the racism storm surrounding Brisbane coach Chris Fagan hasn’t made him second guess his decision to seek a trade to the Lions.
Dunkley informed the Bulldogs earlier this month that he wanted to play for Brisbane, but that was before the shock Hawthorn racism investigation that has engulfed both Fagan and newly appointed North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson.
But Dunkley says he’s not worried about the allegations and is looking forward to a move north to be with family.
“It definitely didn’t make me second guess. From what I’ve had to do with him so far in such little time, he’s such a good human being and someone that’s really cared for me already so I’m really looking forward to building that relationship with him,” Dunkley said of Fagan.
“Fages was really good. He is really disappointed and everyone knows that. It’s been on the public record that he has been struggling with it, but he’s a great person and we didn’t talk too much about it. He just wanted to reassure me that he feels like he hasn’t done too much wrong and with the situation that is going on, it’s hard to talk about.”
Dunkley was speaking at a TAB Spring Racing carnival event in Melbourne with Hawk Jack Gunston, who could be joining him at the Lions next season.
Like Dunkley, Gunston said the Fagan controversy was not a deciding factor in whether he makes a move north.
“Hopefully maybe in the coming days or early next week (I make a decision),” he said.
“Hopefully (Fagan) is still the coach of Brisbane Lions. But the sole purpose of me if I do choose to go there isn’t resting on Fages being coach or not.”
Gunston said he had a lot to weigh up after the tragic death of his father this year.
“I’m so grateful to the people (at Hawthorn) who are there – they know it’s been a unique situation and they’ve given me the time and space to make that call,” he said.
“(It was) something outside of football we didn’t see coming. It’s just that change of lifestyle that does appeal.
“Obviously (former teammates) Hodgey (Luke Hodge) and Birch (Grant Birchell) have done it before – I’ve had a lot of chats to those guys.”
Gunston is an unrestricted free agent, so he can easily get to the Lions if he wishes to make the move.
Dunkley meantime, is expected to head north in exchange for pick 15, although there’s plenty to play out given the Bulldogs have other trade deals they need to get done.
“It was a tough decision and something I had to think about a lot,” he said.
“Weighing up my life here (in Melbourne) and in Adelaide with my partner Tippah (Dwan) and my life in Brisbane as well. So at the end of the day, I feel like it’s a good lifestyle decision and they have an exciting list up there.
“To play alongside the likes of Lachie Neale and Hughie McCluggage and guys like that – I feel like there’s a bit of an area for me.”
Dunkley denied any “bad blood” between himself and the Bulldogs after unsuccessfully seeking a trade away from the club at the end of 2020.
“Last time it was a little bit different, it was after the hub year and everything that transpired,” he said.
“The work (the Dogs have) done for me and Bevo as a coach and the whole footy club in general has been incredible.”
It’s believed Dunkley would sign a six-year, $750,000 deal at the Lions.
SWANS IN TRADE TALKS OVER FRINGE BOMBER
Sydney has entered discussions with Essendon over a trade that would see former first-round pick Aaron Francis head north, reports Seven’s Mitch Cleary.
It was previously reported the 25-year-old was keen to leave Tullamarine this off-season, with the South Australian’s name seemingly raised in trade talks every year.
Francis was said to have spoken with Port Adelaide before their interest cooled.
It follows yet another season on the fringes of the Bombers’ side, with Francis having played 54 games across seven seasons since being selected with Pick 6 in the 2016 draft.
The Swans are reportedly interested in key defensive help, after finding success with the pick-up of Paddy McCartin last off-season. Francis would likely come cheaply.
“Sydney has shown interest in Essendon’s Aaron Francis with discussions progressing. The Bombers are happy to facilitate a trade for the 25yo former first-rounder for a fresh start,” Cleary said.
“The Swans have been looking for some extra key back depth having also asked the q(uestion) of (Fremantle’s) Griffin Logue.”