Andrew Dunkley during his playing days at Sydney Photo: ALLSPORTJosh Dunkley would love to play for Sydney, if he does enough in the next 18 months to convince the club to take him on.
Dunkley is eligible to join the Swans as a father-son selection at the end of 2015, but it was reported last year that his father’s strained relationship with the club in recent years might affect his future.
Andrew Dunkley played 217 games in defence for Sydney – and in the 1996 grand final – before moving to Gippsland to start coaching after he retired in 2002.
Josh has already played two seasons of senior football in Sale, debuting as a 15-year-old, and captained the AIS-AFL Academy’s level one squad on its trip to New Zealand in January.
He is one of a handful of talented players Sydney has first call on this year and next, starting with midfielder Isaac Heeney, who will demand the club’s first round pick this year under the bidding system.
Heeney is part of the Swans Academy, as is Abe Davis, who the club may also nominate this year. Onballer Callum Mills, a 2015 prospect like Dunkley, was the best division two player at last year’s under-16 championships.
Dunkley said he had no intention of telling the Swans he didn’t want to go there, and he would be grateful to play for them or any other AFL team if he got the chance.
“If I could get into the Sydney system, it’s a pretty great system and I’d definitely love to go there,” he said. “But having said that, I’d love to go anywhere: Melbourne, Brisbane, wherever.
“I’m just doing everything I can think of to get drafted, and anywhere that takes me would be good.”
Dunkley was impressive playing through the midfield for Vic Country in its come-from-behind win over Vic Metro in Sunday’s opening under-18 championships game.
The 17-year-old’s 13 possessions included six clearances and three inside-50s, and he laid seven tackles playing around the midfield. He is working hard at increasing his fitness and being able to cover more ground.
“I haven’t spoken to the Swans too much so far, but I met some of the recruiting people over in New Zealand and they said they were happy to just let me play and that we’d see how things go,” said Dunkley, a Sydney supporter.
“I’m not sure where that story came from – I just remember going to school one day and everyone saying, ‘What’s going on, don’t you like the Swans?’ – but it’s something I haven’t really thought about. I just have to do everything I can to be my best and if any club wants to have me then I’d be happy with that.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.