Bond explains draft strategy
Fremantle football manager Chris Bond has defended his club’s handling of the Mitch Clark trade.
After repeatedly insisting he wanted to return home to Western Australia and play with Freo, Clark dropped a bombshell on Saturday night when he chose to accept a lucrative offer from Melbourne.
Although disappointed to have missed out on Clark, Bond is adamant that Fremantle could not match the amount of money the 23-year-old big man will be paid by the Demons over the next four years.
“On Saturday night, he advised us that he would take the Melbourne offer,” Bond said at Etihad Stadium.
“I spoke to him at length on Saturday night … From our point of view we had an opportunity to revisit our offer … and I’m really comfortable that if we had done that he would be with Fremantle.
“We had an opportunity to match that, but we made a conscious decision to walk away. That was important.
“I spoke to Mitch and explained to him why we weren’t going to do that, and from there we really parted company. He went to Melbourne and we wish him all the best.”
Bond admits that Fremantle had been working on recruiting Clark for a number of months.
“We are a club that does a fair bit of due diligence on the people we bring into our footy club, so we have been working on it for a long period of time,” he said.
“But we had the opportunity to revise our contract. We decided not to do that because it didn’t fit into our list-management model.”
Bond says Freo offered Clark a very enticing contract.
“It was certainly a high amount of the term of the contract [over the four years],” he said.
The deal between the Demons and Lions – Melbourne gave up its round one selection (pick 12) in the upcoming NAB AFL Draft – was made official on Monday morning, three hours before the trading deadline.
At the same time, Freo rounded out its involvement in trade week by exchanging some draft picks with Hawthorn.
The key part of that bargain was that the club managed to get selection 29 from the Hawks.
“We all know what trade week’s like,” Bond said. “It’s a tough week for everyone.
“From our point of view, we walk away and we’ve ended up now with three picks under 30 in the draft.
“We’re incredibly excited because that’s what we’ve done from 2008 onwards. We’ve gone through the draft and we’ll go again.
“We weren’t prepared to give away our [pick] 16 until we got something back in.
“We were able to do that with our compensation pick, we were able to get [pick] 20 in. Once we got that we visited with the 20 and then immediately threw up the 16.
“From our point of view our strategy was right. We wanted to make sure we were in there capable of getting a young player through the draft that’s going to play at our club for 10 or 12 years.”