Josh Dunkley has opened up on his big footy future call as a Bulldogs teammate faces a fight to hold his spot on the list.
Plus St Kilda has shown interest in a Hawthorn free agent.
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DUNKLEY OPENS UPON ‘BIG DECISIONS’
Western Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley says the prospect of moving closer to family will play a key role as he prepares to make a call on his footy future over the next few days.
Dunkley, who had his exit meeting at the Bulldogs on Tuesday, continues to weigh up offers from his current club, as well as Port Adelaide and Brisbane.
The Dogs are keen to retain Dunkley – who’s been sitting on a long-term contract offer from the club for months – and haven’t given up hope he’ll stay. But rival clubs believe there’s now a strong chance Dunkley will look for a fresh start elsewhere.
The Age reported on Monday that Port’s offer was “considered more attractive” than Brisbane’s. Adding to the South Australian connection intrigue is that Dunkley is the partner of Tippah Dwan, who’s a shooter with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball competition.
Dogs coach Luke Beveridge on Saturday night said it would be financial opportunity, not soiled relationship, that could see Dunkley, or any other player, leave the club.
Speaking to TV reporters on Tuesday, Dunkley insisted his call wouldn’t be financially driven, but said the potential of living closer to Dwan was a significant factor.
“They (the Bulldogs) have given a lot to me over the past seven years and I’ve loved every minute of it,” Dunkley told reporters.
“It’s more just trying to think about my future and my life and things like that, so a few big decisions to make over the next few days.
“Family’s always been important to me and Tippah’s obviously living in Adelaide, so we’ll have to weigh up those decisions over the next few days, as I mentioned.”
Dunkley two years ago requested a trade to Essendon mid-Bulldogs contract, but the deal fell over as the Bombers weren’t willing to offer two first-round picks to grab him.
It comes as the Herald Sun reported fringe key-position Dog Josh Schache was “desperate” to play on at another club if the Bulldogs delisted him in the coming weeks.
Schache, who was taken by Brisbane with Pick 2 in the 2015 draft before being traded to the Western Bulldogs two years later, has managed just 18 AFL games from his past three seasons.
The 25-year-old has played primarily as a forward in Luke Beveridge’s team when given the opportunity, but has also pinch-hit in the ruck and had stints as a key defender.
But with Rory Lobb set to join the Dogs, as well as the emergence of key-position players Sam Darcy and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan in recent weeks alongside Aaron Naughton and Tim English, Schache could be forced out.
SAINTS CIRCLING VETERAN DEFENDER
St Kilda has interest in Hawthorn’s Kyle Hartigan, reports RSN 927.
After 118 games across eight seasons with Adelaide, Hartigan was traded to Hawthorn after the 2020 season.
But the key defender has played 22 games in two seasons, including just three this year under new coach Sam Mitchell.
Speaking on RSN Breakfast Club, reporter Mark Stevens said the Saints were considering signing Hartigan.
“Kyle Hartigan hasn’t got a deal at Hawthorn,” Stevens told RSN Breakfast Club. “St Kilda, I believe, are interested in perhaps a two-year deal for Hartigan. They’re looking to beef-up their key defensive stocks.
“He’s a free agent, so I think he’ll be at another club next year. If that’s the case, he could be down at Moorabbin because I think he’s run his race at Hawthorn because (Sam) Mitchell’s had an opportunity to play him.”
Hartigan was initially picked up as a rookie by Adelaide before being traded to the hawks in exchange for a future fourth-round selection.