The AFL silly season is in full swing as the league’s Trade Period officially opened on Wednesday.
Rumours have been swirling in recent weeks as teams look to land or offload players ahead of the 2021 season.
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But one recent rumour surrounding star midfielder Josh Dunkley really struck a nerve with his club, the Western Bulldogs.
Dunkley has two years remaining on his contract with the Bulldogs, but Channel 7’s Tom Browne broke the news he wanted out to link up with Essendon.
Things took an ugly turn when it was reported the reasoning behind Dunkley’s trade demand was because of cultural issues.
A dip in Dunkley’s midfield playing time only saw his frustration grow in 2020, but Fox Footy’s Tom Morris says he is “frustrated” with the club’s leadership and culture.
“He wants a more professional culture within the playing group,” Morris said on AFL Trade Radio.
“He’s part of the leadership group and he’s pulling the club one way and he believes certain teammates are taking it the other way.”
When asked by Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph if Dunkley feels that there are “rat bags” at the club, Morris said: “Yeah, that’s absolutely the case.
“And he’s been frustrated about that for several years. He’s spoken to Luke Beveridge about it I think three years ago and that’s continued to fester.
“He doesn’t believe that’s improving unless the club does something about it.”
Dunkley reportedly wants to become a Bomber.Source:AAP
Those reports didn’t sit well with the Bulldogs who, according to SEN’s Sam Edmund, were left seething.
“I’ve spoken to the Dogs on Josh Dunkley and they are furious,” Edmund said on SEN Breakfast.
“They are furious with a report a couple of days ago that said that Josh’s main motivation to leave Whitten Oval was because of longstanding culture issues that have been left to fester for years — the Dogs have rubbished that completely.
“The facts are that Josh Dunkley wasn’t happy with the Lachie Hunter (drunk driving) indiscretion earlier this year and no one at the club was obviously, but he was also disappointed at different things in hub life this year and some of the standards that came to be.
“But that was widespread in the competition, in that the footy professionalism wasn’t where it would normally be.
“If Dunkley has an issue with one or two players that aren’t as professional as they need to be, it shouldn’t be assumed that he feels there’s longstanding cultural issues that have been going on for years.
“Dunkley isn’t considering leaving for cultural reasons — the reasons is because he’s been sold the massive midfield dream. He’ll be the big banana in there.
“The lure of that, plus a big contract that, conservatively speaking, is worth $700,000 a season.
“And also the lure of playing with his brother Kyle is unbelievable. They are very close — the whole family is.
“He is still torn. He has days he leans to Essendon and days he leans to staying.”
The Bombers’ offer to lure Dunkley away from the Bulldogs is just over $600,000 a year over four-years, according to Browne.
“I believe Essendon is offering Dunkley in the vicinity of just over $600,000 a year on a four-year deal,” Browne said on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast.
“I think the Bombers’ view is that this is not about money, Dunkley was keen on going to the Bombers … and I’m told he’s 100 per cent committed to wanting to go to Essendon.”
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