The Dockers are reportedly prepared to drop anchor and hold Rory Lobb to his contract if unsigned teammate Griffin Logue requests a trade away from the club.
It comes as Fremantle prepares to conduct exit interviews this week, with Lobb tipped to request a trade to the Western Bulldogs when he meets with club officials.
Fremantle players this week returned to Perth after being eliminated from the 2022 flag race, with up to six contemplating their footy futures.
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Rival clubs for months have suggested Lobb – the Dockers’ leading goalkicker this year and player with the highest profile of the sextet – won’t be playing for Freo in 2023, despite being contracted to the club until at least the end of next season. It’s understood the key forward seeking a three-year, $1.5 million deal.
Lobb is scheduled to have his meeting on Wednesday, with AFL Media reporting the key forward will request a trade to the Western Bulldogs – the club he’s been linked to for most of the year.
But The Age reported the Dockers intend to keep Lobb should Logue ask to be moved to another AFL team.
When approached by reports at Perth airport on Tuesday, Lobb remained coy on his future.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet because I have to do my exit review. I’ll know more by Friday,” Lobb said.
“It’s only been a couple days. It’s a bad to have a loss but we’ll reflect in the next week or so.”
Logue has been tipped to leave the Dockers, whose four-year deal – worth just under $500,000 per season – isn’t in the same ballpark as more lucrative offers from rival clubs.
The 24-year-old has attracted interest from several clubs throughout the season, although North Melbourne has emerged as the front-runner for his services.
“There’s been plenty of rumours going around but I haven’t seen much of it,” Logue told reporters at Perth airport on Tuesday.
“The focus is to sit down with my manager and coach at the end of the year and sort it out. I’m only just getting back today so we’ll get the chance to sort it out.”
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Fellow off-contract Docker Blake Acres is expected to be traded to Carlton, while rival clubs have also made inquiries about ruckman Lloyd Meek and wingman Darcy Tucker, despite both players still having one year remaining on their respective Fremantle contracts. Fox Footy’s Jon Ralph also reported on Saturday that Liam Henry, the Dockers NGA graduate that was drafted by Freo with Pick 9 in 2019, will “at least consider his options” this off-season after managing just 27 games since his debut in 2020.
The potential array of exits comes as the Dockers make a significant play for premiership ruckman Luke Jackson, who told Melbourne on Tuesday he wanted to be traded home to Western Australia. The Dockers have also been linked to Suns duo Jeremy Sharp and Josh Corbett.
The Demons will fight hard for a premium return for Jackson, with the Herald Sun reporting the club will demand two top-10 draft picks in return for their 198cm ruck-forward.
Speaking on Fox Sports News’ AFL Tonight, premiership Eagle Will Schofield said he was surprised so many players wanted out at Fremantle.
“They’ve got some changes to be made to their starting 18. A lot of those players played a lot of games this year,” Schofield told AFL Tonight.
“Is it troubling? No. But it’s strange in a young club that’s had a great year and won 17 games … so you’d think people would want to stay around.
“Clearly there’s been a lot of talk around the Jackson trade, which may be moving some numbers around to get him in.
“Personally if I was a player I’d want to stay at Fremantle. I think they’ve got a great future, a great footy club behind them and the only way is up.”
But Schofield said the Dockers would be acquiring an “A-grade talent” if Jackson ultimately chose to join them.
“If they lose Lobb, it’s pretty much a like-for-like but just a younger version,” he said.
“He’s not a ruckman, he’s not a key forward, he’s a hybrid player and I think an addition that any team would be happy with.
“The price tag will be hefty, but that’s what Fremantle, or whoever signs him, has to live with.”
The Dockers were one of the surprise packets of the 2022 season, finishing fifth on the ladder and winning a final.
Despite being soundly beaten by Collingwood in a semi-final last weekend and now facing the prospect of losing several players, Schofield said the Dockers were well placed to challenge again next year.
“They’re a building side, they’re a young side. The experience in a final at the MCG against Collingwood, you’re going to get better from that,” he said.
“Yes they lose some players … but Fremantle will get better, so that’s the exciting thing for fans.”