Following former Saint Luke Dunstan's revealing interview about the end of his tenure at Moorabbin, an AFL great has raised a new landing spot for the 26-year-old.
Dunstan, who played 116 games for the Saints, was not offered a contract for 2022 despite a seemingly impressive season in which he finished Sunday's Brownlow count as St Kilda's second highest vote-getter.
The hardworking midfielder spoke to SEN's Sportsday concerning his future in the game and time at the Saints, where he expressed disappointment over the position he found himself in as the home-and-away season drew to a close.
“We had the exit interview a couple of weeks ago and I think even if I was to get offered a contract I probably wouldn’t have taken it anyway,” Dunstan said.
“I was probably ready to move on with the next phase of my life if it was that it was going to be another 12 months there.
“I guess the injury didn’t help, last year I missed most of the season with injury, but at times certain coaches get opinions of players and once they get opinions it’s pretty hard to change them."
Despite his pragmatism and honest, the South Australian explained that constantly being overlooked had seen his mood dipped while at Linton Street.
“It’s been pretty tough mentally over the last couple of seasons, having to work so hard to get back into the team and to play some good footy and then get dropped for the last round was pretty disappointing," Dunstan continued.
“It has taken its toll mentally and if I was going to have to go through another 12 months of it I would have preferred to just to move on and go and start the next stage of my life.
“Obviously I want to keep playing footy and I think I’ve got a lot left to offer as I’m only 26, so I’m not that old.”
A memorable win over the Roos.
3 votes: Luke Dunstan
2 votes: Brad Crouch
1 vote: Jack Steele pic.twitter.com/fxhigtGUYF
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) September 19, 2021
Should Dunstan remain in the AFL, Gerard Healy has proposed Essendon as a possible destination. Speaking on Sportsday, Healy suggested that the Bombers, who were handed a 49-point loss in the first week of finals, should look to Dunstan to boost their stocks in 2022.
“You look at the group, I don’t think he’s not rated, but you’re just too far down the list,” the Brownlow medalist said.
“They’ve got (Brad) Crouch, (Jack) Steele, Hunter Clark, (Dan) Hannebery, Seb Ross, (Jack) Bytel … they need speed in there.
“I look at somebody like Essendon who have got two really good young midfielders in (Zach) Merrett and Darcy Parish. But you saw them side by side, they’re not big bodies. (Jake) Stringer goes in there and he goes forward, so he’s not your general midfielder.
“Some of the footy I saw Dunstan play this year, if I’m the Bombers, I’m at least asking the question.”
Dunstan has expressed his desire to end up at Tullamarine, citing former teammate Nick Hind's success at the club as a motivating factor.
“I guess coming from a team that hasn’t had a lot of success in my time of being there, it would be nice to go to a club that is contending and have a good culture in terms of winning,” he said.
“I’d love to go there (to Essendon), my good friend Nick Hind went there last year and we all saw what he did this year, so that would be nice.”
Dunstan averaged 25.3 disposals from 12 games this season, polling 11 Brownlow votes.
The 26-year-old is rated elite across the league for kicks, averaging 14.1 per game, but at just 51.5% efficiency.