MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 19: Luke Dunstan of the Saints is tackled by Brodie Grundy of the Magpies during the round nine AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Collingwood Magpies at Etihad Stadium on May 19, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Former Saints midfielder Luke Dunstan has opened up on the last-minute move that saw him land with the Demons this off-season.

St Kilda had made Dunstan aware that he would not be offered a contract for 2022 prior to the season's end, igniting interest in the South Australian from several clubs.

The Bombers and Suns were among the sides known to be linked to Dunstan's services ahead of the free agency window, with the 26-year-old having to nervously wait throughout this year to know whether he would find a new club at AFL level.

"I [wasn't] freaking out but because I knew most of the year that I wasn't gonna be staying, but [there was] mild stress for a long time," Dunstan said on The Unlaced Podcast. "It did sort of build up.

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"When it all sort of happened and went through I was pretty exhausted for a couple of days, but I couldn't be happier with the end result."

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - JUNE 12: Luke Dunstan of the Saints is tackled by Matthew Wright of the Blues during the round 12 AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Carlton Blues at Etihad Stadium on June 12, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Despite interest from Essendon and Gold Coast, the Demons miraculously emerged as frontrunners for the 116-gamer and signed Dunstan as an unrestricted free agent.

Speaking on the Demons' late bid to land his signature, Dunstan revealed the rapid turnaround that saw the premiers begin their move.

"It came up pretty late just because they were still planning for the grand final," Dunstan said.

"I sat down with my manager and we never sort of picked Melbourne as a team that was sort of going to be a candidate. We had sort of narrowed it down to probably two opportunities.

"I was talking about teeing up another phone call with a head coach, and my manager just kind of throw it in at the end, he goes, 'Melbourne want to meet with you on Monday'."

After opening further discussion with the Demons, Dunstan revealed he was amazed by the "professional" presentation that Melbourne had planned over a Zoom call, with his decision soon becoming a "no-brainer".

"I was really impressed by it all and things moved pretty quickly after that," Dunstan said. "It was very professional.

"They had basically just a PowerPoint presentation and took me through why they wanted me and made me feel a bit of love, which was something I probably haven't had for a little while so it was a good feeling.

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"Within two or three days I was in at the footy club and signed.

"In terms of what they spoke about and what they were valuing at the footy club, it was really a no-brainer for me in the end."

The Woodville-West Torrens product stated that the Suns were leading the race for the tough onballer, before Melbourne emerged as suitors.

"I had spoken to a couple of other clubs," Dunstan revealed.

Mav Weller (L) and Luck Dunstan (R) during the round four AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the St Kilda Saints at Etihad Stadium on April 16, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.

"It was probably looking like maybe Gold Coast were going to be the one, but then it all turned around pretty late."

Dunstan played eight seasons with the Saints and was limited to just the 12 appearances after starting the season on the outer with the coaching and football department at Moorabbin.

The St Kilda midfielder still managed to poll the second most Brownlow votes for his club this year, recording 11 votes following a strong back-end to his 2021 campaign.

Now joining the Demons off the back of their drought-breaking premiership win, Dunstan is sure to add further depth to a star-studded midfield ensemble at Gosch's Paddock.