Josh Dunkley kicks the ball during round six, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

THE WESTERN Bulldogs are expected to target two first-round picks for Josh Dunkley, who has chosen Brisbane as his new home after turning his back on a long-term offer from the Dogs.

Dunkley has been wooed by the Lions and Port Adelaide throughout this season whilst also being presented a five-year deal to remain at the Bulldogs, where he is a premiership player after their 2016 flag success.

Essendon had also put forward a five-year offer but had not been in the hunt for Dunkley when his decision time narrowed after his failed trade request to the Bombers in 2020.

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But the strong-bodied midfielder has picked the Lions as his new home and wants to be traded to the preliminary finalists. He is out of contract and not a free agent, meaning the Lions would need to secure a trade to get him over the line.

"Josh has been weighing up this decision for some time and this news is obviously disappointing for the club," Bulldogs list boss Sam Power said.

Josh Dunkley in action for the Western Bulldogs against Brisbane in R16, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"We believe Josh is at the peak of his powers in a football sense having had a career-best season in 2022, averaging 25 disposals and kicking 18 goals across the campaign.

"The club was clearly intent on Josh staying with the Bulldogs, having tabled an attractive contract offer for him to continue with us for the long term."

ON THE MONEY Salary dumps to drive key trades revealed Brisbane's interest in Dunkley in August, with the Lions keen to boost their midfield brigade. Dunkley's sister plays netball in Queensland and his family regularly holidays in the state.

Attention will now turn to how the Lions look to get a deal done given they hold pick No.15 and have star father-son Will Ashcroft coming to the club.

Josh Dunkley celebrates a goal in the Western Bulldogs' loss to Fremantle in round 21, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The Bulldogs asked for two first-round picks from Essendon in 2020 when Dunkley wanted to move there two years ago, and the demand is expected to be the same given the midfielder's rise as a player this season. He polled the most votes of any Bulldog in Sunday night's Brownlow Medal and is a strong chance to take out the club's best and fairest.

Ashcroft is the standout player in this year's draft pool and it would be a surprise if the Lions didn't need to match a bid at No.1, while fellow father-son prospect Jaspa Fletcher could also attract a top-20 bid.

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The Lions could try to use future selections to land Dunkley or be prepared to go into a significant draft points deficit, which would push back their first pick next year. They could also use their top pick in this year's draft in a deal for Dunkley and then use a future first-round pick to trade in multiple second-round picks this year to land more points to pay for the father-son duo.

The 25-year-old Dunkley played 116 games for the Dogs, including 23 this year, which included 18 goals.