Sports Freo boss ‘extremely positive’ Neale will stay
Fremantle is confident star midfielder Lachie Neale will stay with the club
FREMANTLE CEO Steve Rosich feels “extremely positive” star midfielder Lachie Neale will resist overtures from Brisbane and commit long-term to the Dockers.
The Lions have targeted Neale to add experience to their developing engine room, and their pick No.4 is on the table for Freo.
Since reports surfaced about Brisbane’s interest, Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe has called Neale, and Rosich met with the Doig Medal favourite on Friday.
“Based on what we know about Lachie, the comments Lachie made publicly as recently as Tuesday’s media conference about his love for the club and belief that we’re on the right path and my conversation, I feel extremely positive about Lachie continuing on beyond his current contract,” Rosich told 6PR radio.
GET TO THE GAME All your finals ticketing info
Fremantle is in discussions with Neale’s manager about a reported four-year contract extension.
The 25-year-old is tied to the Dockers until the end of next season, when he would become a restricted free agent.
While any trade involving Neale could improve Fremantle’s weak draft hand – the club’s first two selections are pick five and 77 – Rosich hadn’t considered dealing the consistent onballer, who averaged 30 disposals and seven clearances this season.
“That’s not something we’ve even really contemplated because of how we feel about Lachie as a person,” Rosich said.
“He’s a fine young man, he’s a leader at our club, he plays consistent, really good AFL football.
“He’s durable, he has very good bonds with the playing group and the coaching group and the staff group.
“He’s about to be married, so he’s just weighing up his future, that’s a normal thing.
“But I feel very positive about it continuing (at Fremantle).
“At this point in time, our mode is attracting players to our club not trading players out, to keep us on the path to improvement.”
Earlier this week, wingman Bradley Hill laughed-off reports he wanted out from Fremantle after being linked to former club Hawthorn and the Lions.
The Dockers are looking to add experienced players and draft picks this off-season and out-of-contract players including Cam Sutcliffe, Brady Grey, Ethan Hughes and Tommy Sheridan are in limbo for the time being.
“Any player that isn’t contracted for next year was told (at exit meetings), quite conclusively, that no final decisions had been made on their contracts,” Rosich said.
“We’re waiting to see how a few of our plans in the off-season develop.”
Rosich revealed Freo’s search for a new list manager was down to a shortlist of candidates.
The Dockers CEO has taken over list duties in the interim after Brad Lloyd recently joined Carlton as head of football.