Established ruckmen in the mix as Dockers explain “strange” player exits

Fremantle’s General Manager of Football Peter Bell has outlined the reasons why the club experienced a player exodus of sorts in the most recent trade period.

The Dockers lost five players – Rory Lobb, Griffin Logue, Darcy Tucker, Blake Acres and Lloyd Meek – to rival clubs for varying reasons.

Bell explained why a particular trio of that quintet opted to leave the club, starting with Tucker whose opportunities with Freo had simply dried up, prompting a move to North Melbourne.

“They’re individual circumstances there. It (money) is part of it, I would assume,” he said SEN WA Breakfast.

“We can take Darcy Tucker out of the (money) situation. I think with ‘Darce’, he had committed a lot over his time. It wasn’t really working for Darcy, and we had tried him in a few different areas, inside, half-back, and he just wasn’t getting the momentum going in his career.

“We had a difficult conversation, but a great conversation with him where we both agreed it was the best thing for him to get a fresh start and start again.

“Plus, he had a family pull, his partner had received a gig back in Melbourne, so it made sense. Absolutely fine with that one.”

Logue also made the shift to the Kangaroos despite producing his best year in purple in which he played 20 games and finished sixth in the Doig Medal.

“‘Griff’ was a difficult one to lose, he was very much a part of what we thought was our best 23,” Bell said of the 24-year-old.

“Clearly he saw himself as a defender, and we saw him as that for the right matchups, but with Alex (Pearce) and Brennan (Cox) going consistently we were finding it hard to get that mix.

“North Melbourne put an attractive offer in front of Griff and maybe the promise and lure of playing more in defense was able to secure him.”

Key forward-ruckman Lobb also exited the club, moving to the Western Bulldogs after kicking a career-high 36 goals in 2022.

It was for that reason that Bell described some of the departures as “strange”.

“There’d been a bit of noise around ‘Lobby’ for a while. So there were no surprises that he wanted to go as well,” added Bell.

“The interesting thing, which all the players acknowledge, they will be difficult to replace from some sense because they all had career-best years last season.

“That was a bit strange that after career-best years you decide to go somewhere else.”

Having lost developing ruckman Meek to Hawthorn, the Dockers now have a need to replace him.

Sean Darcy holds the mantle as the club’s number one big man and big-money recruit Luke Jackson will support him, but there is an opportunity for the Dockers to add another tall this off-season.

Bell outlined their plans to add depth via next week’s National Draft or over the course of the pre-season through other methods.

The Dockers’ first pick in the draft this year comes at 30.

“We’ve identified some taller players, whether that be key defenders, it might be some young, developing ruckmen that we’re interested in,” he added.

“We don’t know if they’re going to be available, but they’re the types of players we might look at.

“The other thing we are looking at is keeping a list spot open.

“So maybe trialling some players to train on over the pre-season and maybe there’s a more established ruck or two who might get an opportunity to come down and just see how they slot into a program.

“We’re talking about a more mature player there. I’m not saying that’s definitely going to happen but that’s something that we’re open to.”

That mature player who might be of interest to Fremantle is recently delisted Sydney Swans ruckman Sam Naismith.

What might make the opportunity more feasible is that Naismith is moving to Perth with his partner Ally Barrass, the sister of West coast defender Tom.

“He’s got a lot of talent, obviously,” Bell said of the three-time ACL victim.

“I think clubs want to see him have a bit of continuity with all the injuries that he’s had. His talent is undeniable.

“Without committing to Sam, these are all the options that potentially we might look out for in that ruck space.

“I think everyone would like to see him play a bit of footy.”

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