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Dunkley ‘loving life’ at the kennel

Dogs' Intra Club Match Highlights BulldogsTV were on the scene to bring you all the highlights from the Western Bulldogs intra club match at VU Whitten Oval.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 13: Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs in action during the Western Bulldogs intra-club match at Whitten Oval in Melbourne on February 13, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 13: Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs in action during the Western Bulldogs intra-club match at Whitten Oval in Melbourne on February 13, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
He’s a very mature young man. I often talk about Luke Ball and how he came into the St. Kilda program as almost like an 18-year-old 30-year-old and I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Luke at Collingwood.
Luke Beveridge on Josh Dunkley

Josh Dunkley kicked two goals and was named one of the best afield in the Bulldogs' Intra Club match on Saturday, not bad for a 19-year-old yet to play an AFL game.

The return of star midfielder Tom LIberatore to the game after 12-months on the sidelines garnered plenty of attention on the weekend, as did Jake Stringer’s three goal best-afield performance, but Dunkley too was one that caught the eye of senior coach Luke Beveridge.

Beveridge said that the son of former Sydney full-back Andrew hadn’t set a foot wrong since arriving at the Kennel, and had displayed the maturity of a seasoned pro.

“He had a good game on Saturday, Josh,” Beveridge said on SEN 1116 on Tuesday.

“He’s a very mature young man.  I often talk about Luke Ball and how he came into the St. Kilda program as almost like an 18-year-old 30-year-old and I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Luke at Collingwood.

“Josh is a bit like that, and Kieran Collins is similar.  They’re mature young men who may be ready for the caper a bit earlier than some others. 

“He’s had a good preseason and continuity in his training and he’s set himself up for a good year.”

Taken at pick 25 in the National Draft in November, Dunkley had an injury interrupted top-age junior year in 2015, but still managed to play six VFL games with Richmond – averaging 12 disposals and seven contested possessions per game - and six games at TAC Cup level for Gippsland where he rated in the elite category for contested marks, clearances and tackles. 

Dunkley told westernbulldogs.com.au that his body now feels great and he couldn’t be happier at the kennel.

“My body’s really good at the moment,” he said.

“When I came here I had a couple of little niggles, but the medical staff were on top of it straight away. 

"I didn’t train straight up but now I’m out there in full training and I’m loving life.”

Dunkley is no longer the skinny kid that recruiters and fans would have seen in pre-draft videos, having already bulked-up to a powerful 86 kilograms. 

Couple that with the fact that he stands 189 centimetres tall and has courage and leadership to burn, Dogs fans should be excited about the Club’s top draft pick’s potential.

“I’m about 86 kilos at the moment and they (coaching and conditioning staff) want me at 85 to 87 (kgs) so I’m sitting in that perfect spot at the moment. 

“So, just getting leaner, I think I’ve got a lot leaner and put on a bit more muscle, so weighing a bit more.

“I came here with a pretty good tank but training here every day and doing the things we do, you do get a lot fitter so I feel a lot fitter and stronger.”