Josh Dunkley in his new colours. (Photo: Brisbane Lions)

The newest Lion to join the den, Josh Dunkley is eager to help take his new club to the next level in 2023. The 2016 premiership player made the move to Brisbane during the final day of the trade period.

The Brisbane midfield is a scary sight going into 2023, Dunkley joins the likes of Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale, young guns Jarrod Berry and Hugh McCluggage, and experienced head Jarryd Lyons.

Speaking to the media, Dunkley said he’s looking forward to the chance to join the side next season, but has to gain the respect of his teammates all over again.

“I’m not sure where I fit in exactly,“ Dunkley said.

“[I’ve] spoken to Fages [Chris Fagan] and the crew, but I’m just excited to get up there. I want to earn my stripes all over again.

“I want to be even better again with my footy, and I know that I can take things to new levels. [It’s] probably another thing that I looked at when I was making that decision… how I’d fit in with the midfield and the group as a whole.

“So, I definitely see my game going to another level, but the hard work starts now. I’m really looking forward to getting up there and working with the boys.”

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The move comes off the back of the 25-year-old’s career best season, which saw him take out the Charles Sutton Medal as the Western Bulldogs’ best and fairest player.

Spending a lot of time up forward in 2022, Dunkley said the ability to hit the scoreboard is something that he’ll be looking to continue in his game at Brisbane.

“I always probably looked at myself as a midfielder, I think this year as been a big learning curve for me that I can go forward and take marks and kick goals,” he explained. 

“So, probably to have to build that side of my game again and really impact the scoreboard is something that [I’ll] look to do at the Lions.

“I think that the ability to just play that all-rounded game and to be the best teammate I can has always been something that I’ve prided myself on.

“So, the little things you know off the ball, whether it’s sliding defensively or whatever it might be, the smothers, the tackles just to help the team go better is something that I’ll always do. But also, I want to get involved offensively and really impact the game.”

While the addition of Dunkley adds to an already strong midfield, the young talent coming through at the Lions is something that excites the new recruit.

The club is set to add even more talent at the upcoming draft, which is another sticking point for the midfielder/forward.

“It’s obviously an exciting list, but the younger players are just incredible,” Dunkley said.

“I’ve watched them from afar, and obviously Will Ashcroft is another one that’s coming this year under the father/son program… Jaspa Fletcher as well.

“[There’s] exciting times ahead. I’m sure that the boys will be ready to go once the season comes around, and a lot of hard work’s going under the bridge before then.”

Dunkley touched on the reason for the move, after much external speculation.

“It was a bit of a mixture [of factors], I would say probably [it was] more of a lifestyle decision,” he explained.

“Obviously being with my partner Tippah [Dwan], she’s from Queensland. [There’s] that drawing factor of that’s where we probably want to spend our lives post-careers. We’ve built that great relationship over the past couple of years.

“The Lions as a football club, I’ve always admired him from afar and the list that they’ve built is an exciting group that they’ve got. I think it’s really bound for success.

“To be a part of that and potentially a driving factor in some success with the footy club will be pretty special.”

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