Kyle Dunkley, one of the newest faces in the Lions VFL side, is loving life in Brisbane with his siblings right by his side.
The youngest Dunkley joined his brother and Lions AFL midfielder Josh in moving to the sunshine state, with the pair following the path of older sister Lara.
It was Lara who split the trio up when she left the sibling share house in Melbourne after signing with Suncorp Super Netball side the Queensland Firebirds in 2019.
And it seems it’s her that the Brisbane Lions have to thank for leading the Dunkley brothers to the Club’s den.
“It is pretty funny, I remember when Lara first came up to Queensland, she said to us ‘you’ve got to come up to Brisbane it is the best’,” Kyle recalled.
“Josh and I had never really spent any time up here and were kind of ‘oh yeah righto we’ll see’ but all three of us used to live together in Melbourne before Lara moved to Brisbane.
“So, to think back and now be back together it is pretty bizarre.
“Lara is actually going to move in with us in a few weeks so we will actually all be back living together which is pretty funny.
“It’s great having both Josh and Lara here, obviously Josh and I lived together for a bit longer but to be able to have Lara here too is pretty special. “
Kyle joined the Lions when his brother Josh was traded from the Western Bulldogs to Brisbane in November last year.
Taking part in the preseason with the Lions AFL and VFL squads, the younger Dunkley is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue to chase his dream.
“I was lucky enough that Brisbane allowed me to come up and do the preseason,” he said.
“It was probably the first point where I thought ‘well if I can do a preseason then why not have a crack at playing’ it is what I want to do.
“I hadn’t really done a full preseason in years due to injuries so to get though it and be lucky enough to be able to be a part of it, I was always going to come up here it is the sunny state so why not.”
The preseason was the beginning of building strong relationships according to Kyle.
It is a trait that he believes will hold the VFL team and the Club as whole in good stead.
“(it’s an advantage) Being able to train together, because a lot of footy clubs especially in Victoria, the VFL can’t train with the AFL, so sometimes you’re trying to build relationships and get to know people on game day which is hard,” he said.
“Whereas being up here we can build those relationships throughout the week, and you learn to play with each other and I think then everyone becomes really tight.
“If you’ve got good, solid relationships with everyone come game day you’re going to play better together I feel.”
The last few weeks Kyle has taken on the role of inside midfielder in the absence of the injured Rhys Mathieson and has relished his opportunity.
Averaging 25.5 disposals in the past four games, including a stunning 29-disposal performance in Saturday’s match with his former side the Northern Bullants, it’s safe to say the off-season recruit is happy in the role.
“I’ve been pretty happy with the last few weeks, and it helps playing back inside again and getting my opportunity there,” he said.
“Obviously we’ve been unlucky to lose Matho (Mathieson) but it has opened the door for me which is nice in a way.
“I’ve had a couple of small focuses in the last few weeks, and it has been working for me.
“I feel really good, I’ve been recovering from games well and my body is all sweet so I’ll keep building from here.”
Speaking on the form of the VFL side so far in 2023, the first-year Lion is excited to see where the year will end and hoping for big things.
“I don’t think I’ve started a year 9-0, maybe when I was under 12’s back when Josh, Lara and I all played together but it’ very exciting,” he said.
“It is exciting to be up there and hopefully playing finals at the end of the year would be special and something I want to be part of.
“To come up here has been pretty special, it feels like a second family and hopefully we can get into finals, go deep in finals and see how we go.”