Fremantle football boss Peter Bell has flagged an “interesting” role for big-name recruit Luke Jackson in 2023.
Jackson confirmed footy’s worst-kept secret this off-season when he requested a trade home to West Australia, with Fremantle trading to secure the 21-year-old on a lucrative contract.
The premiership player worked alongside Melbourne captain Max Gawn and is now expected to work with another one of the competition’s best rucks in Sean Darcy at Fremantle.
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In an interview with SEN WA Breakfast, Bell indicated the majority of Jackson’s time would be spent in the forward 50.
“It is interesting. We’ll definitely play him a large proportion forward,” Bell said.
“Clearly, he’s going to do some ruck work as well and maybe even some midfield, which we’ve spoken about.
“But he’ll spend a lot of time forward.”
While Jackson was part of Melbourne’s successful premiership push in 2021, Bell seemed to suggest the Dees’ game plan was not set up to get the most out of Jackson.
“It is interesting statistically, he does win one-on-ones a lot as a forward,” Bell said.
“For a few different reasons – and look, far be it from me to criticise Melbourne with the way that they play given the success they’ve had – they do play when they go inside 50 quite a narrow sort of entry, they’ll go narrow to the pockets a lot and Luke did often find himself as that tall on the other side of the 50 if you like.
“He didn’t get used maybe as much as other clubs might look to use their key forwards. We’ll try and give him a lot of one on ones, we think he can mark it and kick some goals.”
Jackson played 52 games for Melbourne after being taken with pick No.3 in the 2019 draft.
He won the AFL Rising Star award in the Dees’ premiership-winning 2021 year.
Fremantle gained Jackson’s services, but lost a fellow ruck-forward option in Rory Lobb, who was traded to the Western Bulldogs in the dying stages of the trade period.