Grover on track to double ton
Popular Fremantle defender Antoni Grover has secured an extension to his career and the chance to cross a milestone that only four other Dockers have achieved.
Grover, 30, has ended months of speculation on his future with a new one-year contract to possibly reach 200 games late into next season.
The durable full-back has played 181 games since his debut against Sydney colossus Tony Lockett at the WACA Ground back in 1999.
Grover would join reigning Dockers games record-holder Shane Parker (238), champion captain Matthew Pavlich (236), centreliner Shaun McManus (228) and recently retired follower Paul Hasleby on 208 games over the double-century mark.
Grover will form the backbone of Fremantle’s defence next season along with fellow veteran Luke McPharlin, 28, who signed a lucrative new two-year contract late last month.
While Grover secured his immediate future with a new deal, clouds linger on the security of fellow defender Steven Dodd and inconsistent forward Ryan Murphy.
Dodd is facing the chop as the Dockers finalise their senior list for next season on the back of Hasleby’s reluctant departure, the retirement of follower Des Headland and expected relegation of Murphy and injury-ravaged utility Brock O’Brien.
Fremantle and Grover had surprisingly delayed contact discussions until after trade week when the Dockers confirmed the departure of converted defender Chris Tarrant back to his home club Collingwood.
Grover’s manager Anthony Van Der Wielen confirmed the new deal.
“Antoni is a very proud and loyal Fremantle player and his intention is to see out his career in a successful era at the club,” he said.
“This extension, while it took some time to come to fruition, gives Antoni a good chance to join a very elite group of players at Fremantle if he can get up past that illustrious 200 games mark.
“He is very pleased that we have finally put pen to a new deal for him to continue his career with Fremantle.”
Dockers management is now expected to make final choices on elevations onto the senior list for star 2010 recruits Michael Barlow and Alex Silvagni, as well as consistent performers Jay van Berlo, Matthew de Boer, Clancee Pearce and Michael Walters.