Western Bulldogs Training Session
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs in action during the Western Bulldogs AFL training session at Whitten Oval on May 18, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says the club has moved on from Josh Dunkley’s trade request but declared his midfield spot is under pressure this season.

Dunkley sensationally requested a move to Essendon during last year’s trade period, with a desire to have a bigger midfield role being one of the key factors behind his decision after spending more time up forward in 2020.

A deal couldn’t be reached between the two clubs, however the Bulldogs acquired star onballer Adam Treloar to add to an already deep midfield featuring the likes of Dunkley, Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Bailey Smith and Tom Liberatore.

Speaking on SEN radio this morning, Beveridge said there was no hard feelings between he or the club with Dunkley as they put the trade period behind them and prepare for 2021.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 22: Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs celebrates kicking a goal during the round five AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on April 22, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

However, Beveridge said Dunkley’s spot in the engine room and the best 22 is far from safe.

“We have moved on and I have mentioned that whatever the reasons were and the weight of the influence doesn’t really matter anymore,” Beveridge told SEN Breakfast.

“He has applied himself, he’s trained extremely hard with the rest of the boys.

“He’s not at his best at the moment, as far as his production on the ground. He didn’t play his best game against Hawthorn, so he’s fully aware that there’s pressure for game time in any role in our time.

“Every year, you endeavour to bolster your list, ensure its healthy, create new levels of competitiveness – and that’s what we’ve been able to do bringing Adam in and keeping Josh – so, there’s still pressure on for his spot and the role that he plays. He understands that and he’ll be treated the same as every other player.

“His teammates adore him, he’s always had close connections – as much as (the trade request) was a bit of a head-scratcher. We’re in a good place with it.”

Dunkley enjoyed a career-best year in 2019 playing as a pure midfielder – where he averaged 28.3 disposals, 6.1 tackles and 5.2 clearances per game.

However, his production dipped last year after spending less time on the ball, averaging 18.2 disposals, albeit in reduced quarters.

The 24-year old has played 78 AFL games since making his senior debut in 2016.