Gun midfielder Josh Dunkley says it’s pleasing to “know that you are wanted” by the Bulldogs, vowing to win back any respect lost from teammates after a chaotic trade period.

Dunkley will officially return to Western Bulldogs pre-season training in January after his club couldn’t strike a deal with Essendon during the recent AFL exchange period, despite his trade request at the start of the month.

The Bulldogs were seeking two first-round picks from Essendon for the 23-year-old, who was still contracted to the club for another two years. However the Bombers believed Dunkley was only worthy of one top-10 pick, leading to a trade impasse and an eventual no-deal.

Get all the latest AFL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!

Grand Final

Speaking to reporters in Yarram, Dunkley said he was always aware the two clubs might’ve struggled to agree on a suitable trade.

“In the back of my mind, I knew it was a possibility after coming out and going to Essendon,” Dunkley said. “But with all respect, the Bulldogs really held onto me and made it a challenge for Essendon to get me.

Josh Dunkley was drafted in 2015. Picture: Michael Willson
Josh Dunkley was drafted in 2015. Picture: Michael WillsonSource: Getty Images

“It’s nice to be able to know that you are wanted at the club now.

“I’m really excited to get back there and get to work.”

It meant the Dogs kept Dunkley and acquired Adam Treloar — who Dunkley has already met — from Collingwood, while the Bombers retained a whopping three first-round selections: Picks 6, 7 and 8.

Kayo is your ticket to the best sport streaming Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Despite the disappointment of not getting his trade wish granted, Dunkley has been determined to show professionalism in the aftermath, declaring he’ll “definitely put it all to one side”.

Dunkley revealed he’d already sat down with coach Luke Beveridge and put forward his case to be part of the Dogs’ star-studded midfield – a major reason why he initiated the trade request.

Buckley: Brutal but necessary

Buckley: Brutal but necessary

3:00

“I caught up with ‘Bevo’ the other night in Melbourne. Let the dust settle a little bit and then caught up with him. I actually drove out to his place and we had a good chat. I’d spoken to him a lot through the process as well,” Dunkley said.

“The boys have made me feel really comfortable. It’s nice to be able to go back now and really put my head down and earn that respect, if I have lost any.

“You’ve got to really put your head down and work hard – and that’s what I’m going to do. From last week when it didn’t go through, I was back at it the next day training.

“I’m looking forward to what we can do in 2021.”

Dunkley has kicked 42 goals from 78 games for the Bulldogs since they drafted him with Pick 25 in the 2015 national draft.

Liked it? Take a second to support CrowCast on Patreon!