Fremantle are confident midfielder Rhys Palmer will re-sign before the end of the AFL season, ending speculation he could be part of Greater Western Sydney’s start-up squad for 2012.

A source said Fremantle’s Rhys Palmer neither agreed to terms nor signed a contract to join the AFL’s 18th club in last year’s 10-week window of opportunity.

The Dockers have a dozen players coming out of contract at the send of the season, including Palmer and key-position player Michael Johnson, but Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich was confident the required players would be retained beyond this year.

“Brad Lloyd is in charge of player management and he is in regular contact with the manager (Colin Young) of both Palmer and Johnson about retaining them,” Rosich said.

“We have a good understanding of where they sit and we are confident they will both be with the Fremantle Football Club next year.”

Speculation Palmer was recently demoted to WAFL club East Fremantle during an injury-crisis period for the Dockers because he had already committed to GWS was unfounded, the source said. He said Palmer had been ordered back to the lower grade to improve certain areas of his game, particularly his defensive role, on advice from senior coach Mark Harvey.

After missing games against Essendon and Melbourne Demons, Palmer was recalled for last weekend’s win over Brisbane Lions and played an integral part as he had the better of his duel with star Lions midfielder Luke Power.

Palmer, 22, whose second and third seasons were severely disrupted by a knee reconstruction, has played 48 games since being taken with the seventh overall selection in the 2007 national draft.

The Dockers have avoided potential poaching by GWS or via free agency of their four best players; Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich, David Mundy and Michael Barlow, having re-signed all until the end of 2014.

“We’re well pleased in terms of our list management looking to the future,” Rosich said.

Unlike the Gold Coast Suns, which had one year to fill its priority recruiting of out-of-contract players from rival clubs, GWS has been given two years to attract up to 16 of its wish-list players who are coming out of contract this year and next.

The Suns took half their allocation, preferring a strategy of loading up with younger players.

The Giants targeted Melbourne midfielder Tom Scully, Western Bulldogs midfielder Callan Ward ans Adelaide Crows forward Taylor Walker, with at least two of the trio believed to have committed to GWS late last year.

Brisbane Lions’ out-of-contract key forward-ruckman Mitch Clark is understood to be weighing up his options, with the West Australian understood to be keen to relocate from Queensland.

Clark, who is under the same management as Palmer and Johnson, is believed to be seeking future remuneration of upwards of $550,000 a year, which fits into the Giants’ price range, but could be a bit rich for the financially struggling Lions.

Greater Western Sydney is also confident its senior assistant coach, 2004 Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams, will attract one of his former players, with key defender Alipate Carlile among its priorities.

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