MELBOURNE has used pick No.3 in the Mid-Season Draft to recruit versatile contested midfielder Kyle Dunkley on Monday night.
The 18-year-old has spent the start of the 2019 season playing for the Gippsland Power in the NAB League competition, as well as representing Footscray in the VFL on two occasions this year.
After being overlooked in the 2018 National Draft, Dunkley has impressed Melbourne’s National Recruiting Manager Jason Taylor in the early stages this season.
“Kyle’s an inside midfielder who has the ability to play forward,” Taylor told Melbourne Media.
“He can play in that forward role in his own right, he’s good overhead, he’s hard at the footy and has been able to play at VFL level this year for Footscray for a couple of games and hit the scoreboard there.”
While Dunkley may already have the ability to impact at AFL level, Taylor sees the youngster as an exciting long-term prospect.
“I think he’s capable given what he’s shown in the VFL,” Taylor said.
“We see him starting forward and then building into a midfielder in time with his body size.”
Dunkley, the brother of Western Bulldogs premiership player Josh Dunkley, made a strong start to his VFL career with a three-goal haul on the MCG against Box Hill on debut.
The versatile type has proved his worth both in the centre and up forward and is now developing into a strong player.
“He had an injury interrupted year as an 18-year-old and didn’t get the continuity he would’ve liked, but he’s had a VFL pre-season with Footscray and has come back really strong,” Taylor said.
“His footy is starting to show where it should’ve been last year.”
Dunkley will take Aaron Nietschke’s spot on Melbourne’s senior list for the remainder of 2019 after the first-year Demon was placed on the inactive list due to his ACL injury.