Mercury (Hobart)

What’s done is Don for Dunks

- ALEX CONRAD

WESTERN Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley says he hasn’t thought about the sliding doors moment of what this season would have looked like if he had moved to Essendon during last year’s trade period.

Dunkley requested a shock trade to the Bombers but ultimately stayed after the clubs failed to agree on a deal.

Staying at the club has not only allowed him the opportunit­y to possibly win his second premiershi­p in five years, but given him the chance to do it alongside best mate, Adam Treloar.

“It’s always interestin­g when you look back,” Dunkley said.

“I haven’t really thought about it too much to be honest.

“Ever since it didn’t happen I think I’ve just looked forward and tried to do as best as I can for the team.

“To be able to come back into the group and be embraced by everyone from day one of pre-season has been really important.”

Dunkley is revelling in the chance to play the biggest game of his life with Treloar (inset), who came under fire as a result of a poor performanc­e in the Bulldogs’ semi-final against the Brisbane Lions.

But he roared back to his best against Port Adelaide, having told Dunkley he knew he needed to be better.

“It’s always hard being in the spotlight,” Dunkley said.

“To have the microscope on your team specifical­ly, there’s always going to be things that come up and as players you know that, Adsy knew that. He’s a very mature player, he’s been in this situation before. He said to me straight away post-game that he’s going to put his head down and work really hard to get back to where he wants to be.

“He did do that, the proof was in the pudding and he went out there on Saturday night and played well for us.”

Dunkley underwent shoulder surgery in April after injuring himself twice in the Bulldogs’ win over the GWS Giants in Round 6, and was unsure whether he’d have a big role to play in the remainder of his team’s season.

But a strong recovery period allowed the star midfielder to return to action, before a trip to a local cafe set him back a further two weeks.

“For me, it’s been an interestin­g ride,” Dunkley said.

“I did my shoulder, came back in pretty quick time, 12 weeks or 11 and a half weeks, which I don’t know if it’s been done before. I felt really good in that Gold Coast game, then I copped the two weeks quarantine at home. I really feel like I’m starting to hit my straps again and play some good footy.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia