Fremantle Dockers looming as centre of offseason draft trades
Fremantle is looming as a central player in the most complicated trade and draft off-season ever, as Greater Western Sydney prepares for its AFL launch next season.
Dockers’ midfielder Rhys Palmer is understood to have already verbally agreed to join GWS on at least a four-year deal worth about $2million.
But the Palmer move is unlikely to assist the Dockers in their bid to capture 17-year-old future star Jaeger O’Meara.
O’Meara is one of several outstanding juniors whose birthday falls in the January-April 1994 window that allows them to join an AFL club one year early, as part of the Giants’ entry concessions.
GWS will “auction” four concessionary selections during the next two years, with the other clubs to take part in a bidding war in October for the right to a junior a year before draft age.
The Giants cannot take any of the 17-year-olds for themselves, but can use them to trade to other clubs for packages that can include established players and draft picks.
Fremantle and West Coast are both sure to include O’Meara among several other WA products before this Friday’s deadline for the nomination of players of interest under the special rule.
Any Dockers bid for access to O’Meara would likely include another player possibly utility Michael Johnson and a draft pick.
Assuming Palmer plays no part in a deal for one of the 17-year-olds, the Dockers will be compensated for his loss under the AFL’s revised compensation model.
The 2008 Rising Star winner has already been dropped twice this season, but his form, or number of games he plays this year, has no bearing on what compensation Fremantle would receive for his loss.
An AFL spokesman confirmed a player’s age and the size of the Giants’ contract offer were the only factors considered when his compensation ranking was decided.
Palmer’s youth (he is 22) and his hefty, new pay packet would both work in Fremantle’s favour. His compensation could even prove to be greater than what the Dockers would receive for him on the open market.
Palmer is likely to fall into the second compensation band, which would earn Fremantle a first-round national draft selection at any of the next five national drafts that would fall immediately after their first pick, except for this year, when it would have to be delayed until the end of the first round.
Back-up ruckman Jonathon Griffin is also understood to be disgruntled and could even consider requesting a shock trade back to South Australia.
Griffin is believed to be frustrated by the Dockers’ reluctance to play him and Aaron Sandilands in the same side.
Griffin was highly competitive in his four games for Fremantle while Sandilands recovered from a toe injury, but was dumped for last night’s clash with Brisbane as Sandilands made his return.
Griffin did not play for his WAFL side East Fremantle yesterday, with the Dockers saying he was suffering from general soreness.
It is understood Griffin was told when he joined the Dockers that they envisaged the ruck pair playing in the same 22.
Port Adelaide is likely to be on the lookout for an experienced ruckman to replace veteran Dean Brogan.