The Bombers confirmed in a statement on Tuesday morning that the duo would don the sash for the upcoming season in the VFL’s revamped East Coast Second-Tier Competition.
Inside mids acquired 😤
We're thrilled to have Kyle Dunkley and Joe Atley don the sash.
— Essendon VFL (@essendonvfl) February 16, 2021
Essendon’s AFL team missed out on luring Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley, the older brother of Kyle, last trade period despite his request to join the Bombers.
Could the signing of Kyle to their seconds be a form of bargaining tool to try and acquire Josh again at the end of the season?
Kyle, 20, played five games over two seasons at Melbourne after joining them via the inaugural mid-season rookie draft in 2019.
The 22-year old is the younger brother of North Melbourne defender Shaun.
Essendon’s new VFL senior coach Leigh Tudor said the pair’s mature bodies and grunt work would be valuable in 2021.
“They’re both good inside players. They’re strong at the ball, strong at the man, and have some experience and bigger bodies, which is exactly what we need to help our younger guys,” Tudor told essendonfc.com.au.
“They’ll be great for our program and we expect them to lead us in the VFL this year.
“We’re going to be a young (AFL) side, so we’re trying to put together a strong VFL list to complement those guys.”