Battle for star Bulldog heats up

Bulldogs expect a rival to “come” for star ball-magnet Josh Dunkley after botching one of the highest profile deals of the 2020 trade period.

The Bulldogs are preparing for the Josh Dunkley contract saga to heat up again after the ball-magnet’s impressive start to 2021.

Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said on Wednesday morning the club is preparing for Essendon to make another play for the 24-year-old during the 2021 trade period, after the Bombers failed to secure a deal last year.

The Bombers reportedly botched the final day negotiations after Dunkley officially requested a trade to Essendon.

He was reportedly offered a rich, long-term deal, but the reported offer of the No.7 overall draft pick and a future second-round selection wasn’t enough to convince the Bulldogs to release Dunkley from his contract, which runs through to the end of 2022.

Dunkley’s trade request was based on his failure to lock down a permanent spot in the Bulldogs’ mid-field, according to his manager Liam Pickering.

Bains has now told SEN the club is ready for the saga to play out again this year.

“Absolutely, and potentially other clubs too,” he said.

“I think from Essendon’s point of view, they were able to get Josh to want to come and play for their football club, and obviously it didn’t come to fruition.

“We expect them to come again, whether or not they do is their prerogative.

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“Josh is contracted until the end of 2022 and we were really adamant that we didn’t want to lose him for so many reasons.

“Again, while it’s only a small sample size at the start of this year, I think it shows how valuable he is to us as a footy club – both on-field and as a person.

“We won’t be letting him walk out the door at the end of this year. We don’t think that he’s in that frame of mind in any event.

“He and Adam (Treloar) have become particularly close but he’s got many, many close mates at the footy club, including the captain himself (Marcus Bontempelli).

“Hopefully last year was a bit of a blip and Josh enjoys a long, productive and successful career at the Bulldogs.”

Carlton and Fremantle make huge offers for rising star

Carlton is reportedly preparing to make a monster offer for Fremantle’s Adam Cerra.

Cerra, 21, remains out of contract at the end of this season, despite reports the Dockers have tabled a rich deal worth up to $3 million over four years.

Speaking on SEN WA Drive on Tuesday, veteran footy journalist Kim Hagdorn reported the Blues had also lodged their interest.

“I’m hearing that it’s a significant offer,” Hagdorn told SEN WA of Fremantle’s offer.

“Adam Cerra is a primary signing amongst about 20 Fremantle players, including David Mundy, out of contract at the end of this season.

“Adam Cerra has been offered something like about $3 million over four seasons with Fremantle, but it seems as though Carlton have countered that with an offer at close to $3 million – it’s not as good as Fremantle’s offer of $3 million bucks, so $750,000 a year over those four years. Carlton have Adam Cerra in their sights at about $2.7 million, $2.8 million for four years.

“Now, that might depend on if they can wriggle a bit more if Patrick Cripps doesn’t stay with Carlton, for instance – and that’s going to blossom throughout this season.”

Eagles urged to take gamble on 36-year-old

Footy commentators have come from everywhere to declare delisted Carlton great Kade Simpson would be a valuable addition to teams hunting a premiership this year.

The 36-year-old said this week he still hopes to return to the AFL via the mid-season draft in June having been retired by the Blues at the end of 2020.

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy said Monday West Coast would be an ideal team for Simpson to end up at.

Former Collingwood star Dale Thomas also said teams in the premiership window would be mad not to look at Simpson.

Healy said: “I think everyone considers a comeback when you’re still in it and still fit.

“I’m not sure where Kade is at, but if I’m the West Coast Eagles and I’m skinny in the midfield right now, you’ve got a forward line and a defence that can win you a flag and yet all of a sudden they’re down Elliot Yeo, they’re down Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn’s gone down and their depth in that area is not great.

“You could get Simpson for nothing … I wouldn’t close off my views on whether anyone who just retired could play.”

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