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Clubs clamour for son of a gun in mid-season draft

Kyle Dunkley in action in AFL Victoria's Young Guns series opener - AFL,Josh Dunkley,Western Bulldogs,Gippsland Power,Oakleigh Chargers,Tag-Draft,Draft
Kyle Dunkley in action in AFL Victoria's Young Guns series opener

A THIRD Dunkley is primed to enter AFL ranks, with clubs clamouring to speak to the teenager ahead of this month's Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

Kyle Dunkley, an 18-year-old midfielder-forward, met with Greater Western Sydney and Hawthorn officials this week, just his latest interviews with AFL clubs since he became hot property with a strong start to the season.

Dunkley is the son of 217-game former Sydney defender Andrew and the brother of Western Bulldogs premiership star Josh and Melbourne Vixens netballer Lara.

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The Swans chose not to draft Josh or Kyle as a father-son selection.

Dunkley lives with Josh and Lara in Kew, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, and switched from Oakleigh Chargers to rival NAB League club Gippsland Power to reignite his AFL dream after being overlooked last year.

A pre-Christmas meeting with the Power, where he played until he was 16, set in motion his dual-club arrangement, in combination with VFL side Footscray.

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The Chargers' surplus of 'over-agers' convinced Dunkley his best opportunity was with Gippsland, with talent manager Peter Francis more than happy to have him back.

"He's living in an elite environment (with his siblings), training three times a week with Footscray in the VFL, then coming down here on a Wednesday night and training with us as well," Francis told AFL.com.au.

"Sometimes he trains with us on Fridays, too.

"But when he started training with us; you could tell he'd been in a VFL environment, that he was strong and he'd done a lot of weights and had a really good base behind him, which he'd probably never had before.

He's worked really, really hard and deserves everything that comes his way. - Gippsland talent manager Peter Francis on Kyle Dunkley

Dunkley's first month in the NAB League this season saw him kick five goals and average 18.5 disposals, eight tackles and 4.3 inside 50s.

He then amassed a game-high 27 disposals (12 contested), seven clearances, eight score involvements, four tackles and two goals in AFL Victoria's Young Guns series-opener on May 5.

Next came three goals and 13 disposals for Dunkley in his VFL debut for the Bulldogs last Sunday, and he will play for them again this weekend.

"He's ready-made to walk straight into a club and play if need be and they realise that, too – that he's got that really hardened pre-season and hardened body," Francis said.

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"They're going to get a quality player and a quality person, and first and foremost you want really good people in your club – and Kyle Dunkley is a very good person."

The Hawks can place injured defender Tim Mohr on the long-term injury list to create an opening and be active in the mid-season draft.

However, they could instead choose, as they did with Conor Nash in the pre-season, to upgrade a Category B rookie, such as rapidly improving Changkuoth Jiath.

Hawthorn would likely have to slide on the ladder, and therefore climb in the mid-season draft order, to be in contention for Dunkley.

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