Giants lurch at Fremantle stars
By Kim Hagdorn
Greater Western Sydney recruiting heavyweights have made a flying tackle in their bid to sign uncontracted Fremantle players.
Giants football manager Graeme (Gubby) Allan and list manager Steve Silvagni stormed into Perth on Thursday for what is believed to be initial discussions with leading agent Colin Young on his stable of players.
Speculation is raging through AFL circles that top Dockers Rhys Palmer, Michael Johnson, Paul Duffield, Chris Mayne and Kepler Bradley are all out of contract at the end of this season and high on Allan and Silvagni’s recruiting hit list.
It is understood Allan and Silvagni have not targeted any West Coast Eagles players as possible Giants from next season.
Allan, who was football manager of the Brisbane Lions under coaching great Leigh Matthews as they orchestrated their history-breaking triple premiership early last (2001-03) decade and Silvagni made a flying visit to Perth on Thursday and left again early the next morning.
Young confirmed discussions with the GWS recruiting scouts.
“I did meet with Gubby and Steve for a discussion on my players,” Young said.
“As a player agent I see it as diligence to ascertain what they might have to offer any of my players at the appropriate time for further discussions.
“It’s only discussions at this stage and the priority of the players is to play football.
“Gubby and Steve are just trying to realise what players might be open to offers and have further discussions at the right time.”
Young will meet with GWS officials at least once a month until the end of the 2011 season.
The Giants have access to sign at least one uncontracted player from each AFL club, except new outfit Gold Coast at the end of this season as well as after the 2012 AFL season.
Gold Coast had a similar recruiting concession to sign uncontracted players but only at the end of last year and not over two seasons.
Fremantle officials have admitted they expect poaching raids from Allan and his recruiting staff.
Dockers assistant-coach and former Carlton and Sydney rover Barry Mitchell conceded this week they expected out of contract players to be targeted.
First-up GWS coach Kevin Sheedy has been especially vocal in his intentions to attract top players through his recruiting strategy.
Sheedy and Allan are understood to have set a plan to attract players under the age of 25 who can offer the new franchise lengthy service well into the new club’s first decade in existence.
Mitchell said speculation on GWS recruiting attempts could surface weekly through the 2011 season.
“That has been going on every week. Kevin has been targeting some club,” said Mitchell.
“We are all in the same boat, every team has got players that are not signed up.
“That is the marketplace and I am sure our management is endeavouring to sign all our guys up.
“We’d be confident in keeping players and I think the group last year made a positive step forward.”
“The group got a lot out of last year, there are a number of the group that have been through hard times here and I sure they would want to stick together.”