Grover in Freo’s best 22
Veteran defender Antoni Grover has been told he is still in Fremantle’s best 22 after seeking out new coach Ross Lyon for assurances on his future.
The 31-year-old is out of contract for 2012, with negotiations over a fresh one-year deal reaching a stalemate.
Grover is understood to be weighing up his future.
He has the option of re-signing a contract on significantly reduced terms but wants a deal similar to 2010.
A role as an indigenous officer in the mining industry looms as a post-football career option if Grover were to retire.
His manager, Anthony van der Wielen, confirmed the 201-game Docker visited the club’s headquarters at Fremantle Oval on Wednesday specifically to speak to Lyon.
Until that point, the back man had not talked to the former St Kilda coach in the three weeks since Lyon’s surprise appointment to the senior position at Fremantle.
Lyon will address the entire playing group for the first time this morning.
The Doig Medal presentation for the club’s best and fairest player will be held tonight.
Van der Wielen said Grover had wanted to know his chances of earning a regular game next year and had been reassured by the coach’s response.
“He was told he is a required player and in Lyon’s best 22,” van der Wielen said.
Grover played all but two matches this year in his 13th AFL season.
The 189cm defender is still of significant value to Fremantle, with Alex Silvagni and Luke McPharlin the only specialist key defenders on the club’s list.
Utility player Adam McPhee will be another defensive option next season, with Lyon already declaring the former Bomber’s best role was as a half-back. Jack Anthony also finished the year off as a defender after struggling to earn a senior berth up forward for Fremantle this year.
Out-of-contract forward Michael Walters is believed to have been presented with a new contract to stay at the port next season.
The 20-year-old’s chances of remaining a Docker had appeared in jeopardy after playing only three matches this year.
Walters battled knee tendonitis during the pre-season, with form issues and subsequent knee and ankle injuries contributing to a disappointing season.
The 2008 No.53 draft pick could now re-sign during next week’s trade period. He has attracted some attention in South Australia, with at least one Adelaide club understood to have shown interest in recruiting Walters.
Fremantle’s priority during trade week remains finalising a deal to secure key-position player Mitch Clark from Brisbane.
The Lions are believed to want a first-round draft pick and a player or a late draft selection in exchange for the 200cm Clark.