Duffield’s ‘one-club’ hope
Fremantle half-back Paul Duffield says he is yet to start contract negotiations for beyond 2011, but the 25-year-old would like to be a one-club player.
Duffield, who played all 24 games last year and is a member of Fremantle’s leadership group, comes out of contract at the end of this season and could be a target of new franchise Greater Western Sydney.
The important rebounder said he hadn’t started talks with Fremantle or been approached by GWS, but playing out his career with the club that recruited him to its rookie list in 2004 would be ideal.
“Every player would say they’d love to be a one-club player and that’s certainly something that we’d all aim to be … hopefully that’s the way it goes,” Duffield said from Fremantle’s Telstra community camp in Kalgoorlie on Wednesday.
“It’s something that I haven’t even considered at the moment. I’m just looking forward to fine tuning what I’m going to try and achieve this year personally and with the team.
“I haven’t thought about anything further ahead than that.”
Duffield has grown into one of the AFL’s top-line rebounding defenders in the past two seasons, averaging more than 20 disposals last year and leading the AFL for rebound 50s.
Recent GWS speculation has focused on prized Melbourne youngster Tom Scully and Collingwood premiership stars Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas, and Duffield said the decision facing any player in the Giants’ sights would be a tough one.
“It’s the difference between loyalty and then also the best decision for your future as well,” he said. “It’s not a position I would envy for any player.
“It would be a very tough thing to have to decide and do, but each player will make their mind up based on what’s right for them.”
Fremantle has been rocked by injuries this pre-season, with Garrick Ibbotson (ankle) the latest in a string of setbacks for the club.
Duffield said the club, which has received excellent service from its NAB AFL Draft recruits and rookie list in recent seasons, would again be able to turn to youth if necessary in 2011.
“We have had a few injuries, which is always hard at this time of year, and we’re possibly not quite as healthy as we’d like to be going into the NAB Cup,” he said.
“But at the same time we are a fair way away from round one, and we’ve got a lot of younger players that have a lot of talent and ability.
“Certainly you can see that the improvement of the youngsters over the last couple of years has been rapid, and the club puts a lot of money and resources into that area.”
Duffield joined assistant coach Simon Lloyd and teammates Aaron Sandilands, Jay van Berlo, Clayton Hinkley and Jesse Crichton at East Kalgoorlie Primary School on Wednesday as part of the club’s community camp.
The players visited classrooms and spoke about the importance of eating well and exercising regularly.