Hasleby shocks WA footy
Recently retired AFL star Paul Hasleby is set to rock WA football foundations with a sacrilegious switch to end his career with South Fremantle.
Hasleby is a decorated product of traditional WA heavyweight East Fremantle but he is understood to have agreed to end his playing days at South and not with his original club.
The respected Dockers veteran of 208 senior games in a distinguished career launched in 2000, has explored various coaching options at AFL and local level for his initial professional steps after his playing days at the highest level.
Hasleby last played with East Fremantle in 1999 when he was the club’s fairest and best player in his only season before he was plucked by Fremantle as a priority pick choice and second player taken in the national draft.
He will play at South and commence a coaching career as an assistant to highly decorated local coach John Dimmer, who has engineered four premierships across two WAFL clubs.
Hasleby, 29, will be South Fremantle’s new high performance coach as well as play for his adopted red and whites club.
A final meeting with East Fremantle officials next Monday is expected to be the final confirmation of Hasleby’s intentions to commit one of the most explosive switches in WA football’s rich history.
The last such audacious coup from within the bitter arch Fremantle rivals was more than more 50 years ago when WA legends Steve Marsh in 1957 went from South to East Fremantle and Ray Sorrell went the other way and swapped from East to South in 1964.
Hasleby is expected to be a prominent WAFL performer in 2011 after he reluctantly ended his AFL career in the last home-and-away game of this season before being overlooked for Fremantle’s two finals games in September.
Hasleby played 20 of a possible 22 qualifying games after he played all 22 last season after he missed the entire 2008 season in rehabilitation from a full knee reconstruction.
He wanted to play on with Fremantle next year, but could not win full assurance from senior coach Mark Harvey that he would get regular senior team selection.
Hasleby has considered coaching, playing and employment options back at his inaugural WAFL club and South as well as reigning premiers Swan Districts who are seeking a new senior coach.
He met with Swans officials early into his considerations, but elected not to pursue either playing as senior coach or a non-playing appointment.
He has also been offered a lucrative deal for similar roles back at East Fremantle, under new senior coach and WA playing great Steve Malaxos.