Essendon forward Scott Gumbleton is likely to become a trade target for Fremantle as they contemplate the likelihood that Collingwood’s Travis Cloke will reject their free agency overtures.
Gumbleton, 24, has been offered a one-year contract by Essendon but finds himself a long way back in the tall forward pecking order, with highly-rated teenager Joe Daniher set to join Michael Hurley, Stewart Crameri and Paddy Ryder at the club next season.
The Dockers are looking to bolster their tall stocks at either end of the ground because skipper Matthew Pavlich and power defender Luke McPharlin will turn 31 at the end of this year.
Cloke and Collingwood broke off contract talks two-thirds of the way through the season, deadlocked on the club’s four-year $750,000-a-year offer.
But if Cloke does leave Collingwood he is expected to follow former coach Mick Malthouse to Carlton.
Fremantle is set to launch an audacious bid on free agents across the league.
Speaking on radio on Saturday, Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich declared the club an attractive destination for the competition’s stars.
Rosich told Crocmedia’s AFL Live the club was not only targeting Collingwood star Travis Cloke.
“We need to keep adding to our list, more quality all across the ground and if that includes a key forward and some midfielders, well, fantastic,” Rosich said
“We’ve been talking to a select number of players that are eligible for free agency.”
Cloke remains at the top of the club’s wishlist, with the club reportedly offering the out-of-contract Magpie forward $1 million-a-season over five seasons.
“We have spoken to Travis’ management and he’s one of a few players we’ve spoken to.”
Fremantle could have revealed two of their likely rookie squad additions for 2012 after Claremont pair Tom Lee and Kane Mitchell today joined the AFL club’s pre-season training.
The Dockers today received permission from the AFL for the Tigers duo to join in their skills sessions.
The pair were key members of Claremont’s 2011 WAFL premiership team, Mitchell collecting 27 possessions and applying eight tackles while Lee had 15 possessions.
Lee spent time with Adelaide after being drafted in 2008.
Former Collingwood squad member Brad Dick and delisted Docker Clancee Pearce have also been training with Fremantle int he hope of getting another chance at AFL level.
Fremantle have committed to securing former St Kilda defender Zac Dawson in next month’s pre-season draft.
East Perth’s Freddie Clutterbuck is training with Melbourne in the hope of winning a rookie squad berth.
Last Thursday Shane Kersten was a second-year apprentice painter and decorator, an Essendon supporter from way back, and an admirer of the on-field achievements of Brendan Fevola.
This Thursday, he will become to be one of the top picks in the AFL draft – and what will make him standout is he is won’t be going to GWS.
Where he is going, no-one seems to know, although with elements of Fevola in his own game – strong hands, an eye for goal and blistering pace over 20m – then Brisbane, Fremantle, Essendon and Richmond will all know his name and draft number.
Fremantle is torn between two local products for its No. 1 pick at this Thursday’s national draft, with South Fremantle youngsters Shane Kersten and Josh Bootsma both firmly in the club’s sights.
The Dockers are almost certain to have Kersten’s name pencilled in for their opening selection, with the 18-year-old revealing he has met with the club twice most recently in the past fortnight and was told “if I got my body right, I’d be in the mix to play early on next year”.
West Perth wingman Bradley Hill says he’d love to join Fremantle at next week’s draft and play alongside his brother Stephen, but would also relish the opportunity to go head-to-head as an opponent.
Hill is one of the draft’s biggest bolters after testing brilliantly at the AFL Draft Combine. The 18-year-old broke the beep test record, then ran the second fastest time ever for the 3km time trial.
Those efforts came after he’d already placed fifth for the 20m sprint and 10th in the 30m repeat sprints. The athletic brilliance prompted AFL Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan to elevate Hill into his top 30 draft prospects.
Fremantle have three picks inside 30 – 16, 20 and 29, then don’t re-enter the draft until number 58. Hill is unlikely to still be available by then.
Many clubs have expressed interest in the wingman but West Coast and Gold Coast are the only clubs to have interviewed Hill twice. The Eagles have picks 23 and 28 while Gold Coast have 25.
After walking out on Greater Western Sydney almost two weeks ago, promising key position player Simon Tunbridge has nominated for the 2011 NAB AFL Draft in the hope of launching his AFL career in Perth.
Tunbridge, who hails from Dongara in WA’s mid west, joined the Giants in December as a 17-year-old under the club’s pre-draft concessions, but battled homesickness for much of his time in Blacktown.
The 18-year-old’s draft nomination was confirmed late this week, however, his path to either Fremantle (which provisionally holds draft picks 16, 20 and 29) or West Coast (23 and 28) is not clear cut.
It is understood a number of Victorian clubs are interested in the versatile key forward and would not be deterred by the teenager’s battle with homesickness if he were the best player available to them.
Tunbridge’s stocks appear to have dropped in the 12 months since he was pre-listed by GWS, and recruiters are struggling to place him in this year’s draft pool after a season interrupted by injury.
Collingwood’s Brad Dick is likely to join Fremantle as a rookie, with the former Magpies forward meeting Ross Lyon and Dockers officials as soon as this morning.
Dick had been delisted by Collingwood at season’s end, with the expectation that the club would try to select him in the rookie draft if he was still available. But Dick said yesterday he wanted to return to Perth and would seek an opportunity to play there.
The Dockers are understood to be prepared to look at Dick for a rookie position. The light-bodied forward has been cruelled by injury in his short career, having had both shoulders and knees reconstructed.
”Brad has told Collingwood he is keen to return home to Perth and he will probably meet with Fremantle in the next 24 to 48 hours,” his manager, Alex McDonald of Stride, said.
Another departed Pie, All-Australian Leon Davis, reportedly drove to Adelaide yesterday ahead of a meeting with officials from Port Adelaide.
Davis is said to be open to a move to Adelaide, the home-town of his partner, despite having made it clear that he left Collingwood because he wished to return to Perth. West Coast has also been linked with the running defender, as have a string of WAFL clubs.
Brisbane Lions forward Mitch Clark is still on track to move to his preferred club Fremantle by the end of Trade Week, despite fielding what his manager described as an “outstanding” offer from Melbourne late on Wednesday.
Fremantle, which holds selections No.16 and No.20 in this year’s NAB AFL Draft, has been the frontrunner to secure Clark from the Lions, but the clubs are yet to agree on a satisfactory trade.
Brisbane Lions list manager Rob Kerr said on Thursday that he was surprised Fremantle was yet to table a formal offer for Clark.
Melbourne could potentially trump Fremantle with its pick No.12 in this year’s Draft, with the Demons also holding compensation picks for losing midfielder Tom Scully to GWS.
However, Young maintained that his client’s preference was to return to his native Western Australia and play with Fremantle.
Port Adelaide are searching for a mature-age ruckman in trade negotiations other than Jonathon Griffin, with the Fremantle big man appearing likely to remain a Docker next year.
Hawthorn premiership player Brent Renouf is believed to be firmly on the Power’s radar.
Sydney coach John Longmire also confirmed yesterday that Port had shown interest in former West Coast ruckman and now Sydney back-up Mark Seaby.
Both Renouf and Seaby battled injuries in 2011 before struggling to force their way into their respective sides.
Renouf, 23, missed out on the Hawks’ finals campaign on the back of WA giant Max Bailey’s successful return from a third knee reconstruction, while Seaby, 27, has battled for game time, with Shane Mumford preferred as a solo ruckman.