Buddy system to kick in
EXCITED DUNKLEY EAGER TO WIN A PREMIERSHIP WITH HIS TEAMMATE AND BESTIE TRELOAR
Josh Dunkley would love nothing more than to win an AFL premiership alongside Western Bulldogs teammate Adam Treloar.
The pair has formed a close bond in unusual circumstances since Treloar’s arrival at Whitten Oval during last year’s tumultuous trade period.
Contracted tough nut Dunkley had been denied a move to Essendon, which he sought in pursuit of more midfield time, and Treloar’s move from Collingwood only increased competition in the Dogs’ on-ball division.
Treloar had gone within a whisker of claiming a premiership medal in the Magpies’ 2018 heartbreak against West Coast.
He’ll chase his first, and 2016 flag-winner Dunkley his second, when the Bulldogs take on Melbourne in the grand final on September 25.
‘‘Earlier in the year we were talking about potentially playing finals footy together with one of your best mates, so to be able to do that is pretty special,’’ Dunkley said.
‘‘(Winning a premiership together) would be unbelievable. I just get goosebumps thinking about it, to be honest.
‘‘The feeling of winning one is incredible and it’s hard not to think about it, but we’ve got to really approach the week like it’s our last.
‘‘It is our last (this season) and we’ve just got to put our heads down and work really hard.’’
Treloar this week opened up on the effect of fierce external criticism that came his way after a quiet semi-final performance against Brisbane, revealing it served as motivation in the preliminary final win over Port Adelaide.
The seeds of his rebound performance — when he tallied 23 disposals, five clearances, nine tackles and one goal in a surprise 71-point victory over the Power — were sown deep under the Gabba grandstand.
‘‘He said to me straight away that he was just going to put his head down and work really hard to get back to where he wants to be,’’ Dunkley said.
‘‘He did do that, the proof was in the pudding, and he went out there on Saturday night and really played well for us.
‘‘That’s the thing — you look at our team and the way everyone’s playing at the moment, it’s just a team-based approach and everyone’s playing their role.
‘‘That’s all we ask of Ads and that’s all we ask of everyone else as well.’’
While Dunkley and Treloar are assured of their grand final spots, several teammates face fitness battles.
Laitham Vandermeer (hamstring) was injured against Port Adelaide, while Alex Keath (hamstring) and Cody Weightman (concussion) sat out that match, but are expected to be available for selection.
‘‘They are going really well,’’ Dunkley said.
‘‘I think both Cody and Keathy are on track and Laitham as well, who had some hamstring tightness on the weekend.
‘‘Those three boys are really looking good at the moment.’’
Ruckman Stefan Martin rolled an ankle against Port Adelaide, but should be clear to play, while captain Marcus Bontempelli got through unscathed despite hurting his right knee in the semi-final.