Day 4 of free agency was a bit more lively than the past couple of days, with clubs re-signing and searching as the beginning of the trade period looms. Two players officially found new homes today, while others expressed and changed their interest. A key signing for the Dockers leads the ‘hands off’ section today.
The two movers today weren’t big surprises, but were welcome news for their new clubs all the same. Port Adelaide chose not to match Richmond’s offer for restricted defender Troy Chaplin, citing injury worries as their reason. Football manager Peter Rohde fronted the media yet again today.
Troy needed serious knee surgery towards the end of 2012 and while we hope he has many years off football left, we’re not prepared to commit to the extent Richmond is. We would have liked Troy to remain at Alberton, but on terms suitable to the Port Adelaide Football Club as well as the player.
In fact, we had what we considered a fair contract in front of Troy and his management for a long period this year, but unfortunately they were unwilling to sign.
Chaplin becomes Port Adelaide’s second loss to free agency after Danyle Pearce, with Steven Salopek still on the market after leaving the club to look for other opportunities.
Geelong dual-premiership player Shannon Byrnes was the other mover today, signing with the Melbourne Football Club for 2 years. Although it was expected by many, it represents a fairly quick change of heart for Byrnes, who less than a month ago opened the paper and was caught off-guard when his name popped up in a move to Melbourne. But the opportunity to play more senior games and fitting in with the young group was a big lure for Byrnes. He also sung the praises of the free agency system from a players point of view:
It is just the best possible thing that could have come for me at this stage. To be able to have a choice and a bit of control over my own future instead of just throwing yourself in a lottery…you can actually go somewhere you want to go.
Over at Windy Hill, things aren’t as rosy for a group of Essendon players, according to recently outgoing player Henry Slattery. He said he’d been thinking of leaving for nearly a year, and that other players in the Bombers group ‘in limbo’ may also seek to leave. “There’s a lot of players that don’t know if they’re still wanted” said Slattery today.
The South Australian product also acknowledged he was speaking to Port Adelaide today, saying that he’d “love” to play for the Power next year and would “definitely take it (any opportunity)”.
Meanwhile, in news of players who are off the free-market, Fremantle All-Australian defender Luke McPharlin signed a new two year deal with the club at 30 years of age. Although he was unlikely to leave the club, the Dockers will be happy that they have such an important player sealed and delivered after an outstanding season.
There was little talk of the ongoing Kurt Tippett and Josh Caddy sagas today, but Brisbane Lions head recruiter Rob Kerr said that he wished for Tippett to make his decision within 48 hours. Kerr went on to speak about the possibilities for the Lions in free agency, with Melbourne’s Brent Moloney and Hawthorn’s Clinton Young looming as key targets if they don’t snag Tippett.
This came after news from Moloney’s management that he was ‘unlikely’ to sign with Essendon despite rumours, due to the recent Brendan Goddard signing.
As the Monday trade period opening draws ever closer, clubs are working out how to play their cards. BigFooty News will have all the updates tomorrow night.
Troy Chaplin (Port Adelaide, restricted) moved via FA to the Richmond Tigers
Shannon Byrnes (Geelong, unrestricted) moved via FA to the Melbourne Demons
Keep up with all the latest moves and rumours on the BigFooty Drafts and Trading Board.