Dockers torn between choosing Mitch Clark and Jaeger O’Meara
Fremantle is torn between trading for Brisbane forward Mitch Clark and winning the frenzied auction for 17-year-old potential superstar Jaeger O’Meara.
The Dockers are keen on sealing both deals but doing that could rip the heart out of their list.
Fremantle will likely hold the upper hand in negotiations for Clark if the 23-year-old utility asks the Lions for a trade to the Dockers this week.
Clark, who was drafted from East Fremantle, has kicked 61 goals in 82 games in six seasons with Brisbane, but has played his best football in the ruck.
Clark’s manager, Colin Young, said a decision on his client’s future would not be made until after Brisbane’s club champion dinner, held last night.
“Michael Voss will speak to Mitch and Mitch will go to the best-and-fairest, have a think about it and make a decision after that,” Young told Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail earlier this week.
The Dockers face a crucial dilemma as they weigh up the lure of going for a premiership while champion pair Aaron Sandilands and Matthew Pavlich are still near their peak, versus planning for the long-term.
Coach Mark Harvey who enters the last year of his contract next season believes the imposing presence of Clark in Freo’s forward line could be the missing piece of the jigsaw in the Dockers’ bid to win their first flag over the next two seasons.
But it is understood the club’s recruiting team have placed a greater emphasis on securing the silky O’Meara.
O’Meara is too young to go into the draft this year but can be “on-sold” to the highest bidder by Greater Western Sydney during Trade Week as part of the Giants’ special entry concessions.
O’Meara is rated the best of several outstanding juniors whose birthdays fall in the January-April 1994 window that allows them to join an AFL club one year early.
The Dongara product is barred from playing in the AFL next season, so would be no help in the Dockers’ 2012 premiership quest.
Fremantle, searching for at least one and possibly two new assistant coaches, is unlikely to finalise its coaching set-up for next season for another month.
Highly rated Collingwood assistant Mark Neeld is understood to top the Dockers’ wish list and it is believed he has been tabled a lucrative offer to move west to assist Harvey.
But Fremantle is casting its net wide given Neeld is in the race for at least two of the vacant senior coaching jobs. It is also understood he has been offered assistant roles at Geelong and Gold Coast.
Neeld, the Magpies’ midfield coach, has been praised by veteran Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse. Malthouse said Neeld was more advanced than another of his former assistants, Brad Scott, when Scott left to take over North Melbourne.
Fremantle’s ability to wheel and deal was made more difficult on the final day of the regular season last Sunday.
Had Melbourne and Richmond won their Round 24 games, the Dockers would have finished 13th and had pick 12 in November’s national draft.
But losses to the Demons and Tigers meant Fremantle finished 11th, dropping four places in the first-round draft order.
The Dockers’ first selection is currently due at 16, with picks 34 and 52 to come in the second and third rounds.
It could take giving up pick 16 and a player to secure Clark, leaving Freo with precious little currency to mount a realistic bid for O’Meara.
Gold Coast is understood to be willing to hand over its pick 4 to GWS for access to O’Meara, leaving the Dockers stretched to deliver a package that would entice the Giants.