It’s the time of year in the AFL for transformations but typically players are either bulking up or shredding weight as they prepare for the season ahead.
As the narrative goes, the young players are putting on muscle and the older players are slimming down, but in the case of others, it’s also the time of year to experiment with a new look.
So far we’ve already seen GWS Giants star duo Harry Himmelberg and Lachie Ash stepping out with extreme makeovers for the summer.
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After trimming his longer locks last year, Himmelberg’s bleached buzz-cut has made him unrecognisable this pre-season, while a beard on Ash has somehow completely transformed his face.
While those new looks were certainly eye-catching, they didn’t quite match the heights of a star Brisbane midfielder.
On Tuesday the Lions stopped their fans in their tracks when they published a photo of their gun player on social media with the caption, “New do … who dis?”
Josh Dunkley seen at training with his new ‘do’. Credit: @brisbanelionsA hairy Dunkley with famous US basketballer Steph Curry in December. Credit: Getty Images
Fans soon came to realise that the unrecognisable shaved head did in fact belong to Josh Dunkley.
“I honestly had to do a double take … OMG,” one fan wrote on social media.
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While another said: “It’s not growing back, Josh! Premier look though.”
Dunkley has quickly become a Lions’ favourite after leaving the Western Bulldogs and heading north for the 2023 season.
He averaged over 24 disposals last year and was above average for contested possession in an impressive season that saw his new team play off in a grand final.
After falling agonisingly close to Collingwood in the decider (they lost by four points), it’s been a relatively quiet summer for the Lions as they aim to go one better in 2024.
Expectations are already high, however, after the club added star Adelaide defender Tom Doedee to its list.
Giants pair Lachie Ash and Harry Himmelberg also have new looks for the summer. Credit: @GWSGiants
The injury-cursed Doedee chose to head to Brisbane as a restricted free agent after playing 82 games for Adelaide.
He is not expected to play until the middle of the year, however, as he recovers from his second ACL injury in the space of four years.
At the end of last year Doedee said Brisbane’s famed medical staff were crucial to his decision to change clubs.
When he does get on the park, the gun defender will wear the No.12, the number worn by Brisbane Brownlow medallist and triple premiership hero Jason Akermanis.
Former Hawk Brandon Ryan — who was part of the deal that saw Jack Gunston head back to Hawthorn — will wear No.24 at the Lions.
Another player to undergo a transformation over the off-season was new Sydney Swan Taylor Adams.
The veteran midfielder and former Magpie and Giant underwent a medical procedure on his teeth after his bombshell move to the Swans in November.