Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge claims AFL trade speculation about Lachie Hunter has been "made up" as the former vice-captain prepares to return after taking a break for personal reasons.
Hunter will face Adelaide on Sunday, having featured in last week's scratch match and missed four AFL games while working through what Beveridge termed personal struggles.
Beveridge indicated Hunter, who was stripped of the vice-captaincy and given a four-game ban by the Bulldogs in response to a drink-driving incident earlier this year, would have played AFL last week if not for a calf issue.
A Nine Network report this week linked Hunter, who is contracted to the Bulldogs until the end of the 2024 season, with a move to Brisbane.
"It's a made-up story. I don't know where it's come from ... I'm sure Lachie isn't shopping himself around," Beveridge said.
"He's happy, content and has no desire to leave our footy club ... that's the furthest thing from Lachie's mind.
"We've just had to work through some challenges with him and he'll be fine.
"It's common place for these rumours to start. This one is just really from left field; a player and club who are close, tight, and contracted well beyond this year. It's a real surprise .... it's disappointing."
The 25-year-old trained on Friday morning, rubber stamping his return, but Jason Johannisen was notably absent because of an ankle injury.
Beveridge confirmed 2016 Norm Smith medallist Johannisen will miss Sunday's clash with the last-placed Crows at Metricon Stadium.
"It's not major. I think he'll be in line to possibly play the game following this weekend," he said.
Laitham Vandermeer and Zaine Cordy will also be enforced omissions from the side that was crushed by Brisbane.
Australian Associated Press