Fremantle CEO Simon Garlick went on 6PR’s Sports Day program to discuss the new hiring of former Western Bulldog Bob Murphy as the head of football operations and performance as well as the upcoming trade and draft periods with hosts Paul Hasleby and Karl Langdon.

KL: Simon welcome. Let’s start with Bob Murphy. For those that haven’t heard, what role has he taken on?
We were really pleased to announce today that Bob’s joining the Club. He’s in a role across footy operations and performance, both within our AFLW and AFL programs. I’ve been fortunate to know Bob over a long period of time. He’s a person of outstanding character and capability and he’s got a unique experience in the game with a rare ability to bring people together. This role will be across a number of different functions across both (AFLW and AFL) programs, whether they be high performance, coaching, medical, player development and welfare and the like - being that real conduit to make sure that we’re all working together as well as we possibly can. That leadership component, as well and cultural development within the organisation. It’s a wide-ranging role but specific to footy and we’re really excited to have Bob on board.

PH: You’ve got Bob and Matt Boyd as well, so it is starting to build up the Western Bulldog influence at the Fremantle Dockers. But what about Bob as a person, he’s a different thinker and will add a different element to the football club?
Just to clarify, Matthew Boyd was a Justin Longmuir instigation. They had a close relationship at Collingwood. He’s a ripper person that teaches the game incredibly well after an amazing career. We’re lucky to have ‘Boydy’ in that capacity.
You’re right, Bob is a bit of a different thinker, he comes from different angles which is great. As much as anything, he’s a really good footy club person. He invests fully, he loved the trials and tribulations that come with a shared motivation to succeed and building something as an organisation where we want to try and achieve something special. That’s what drives him and ultimately, in some discussions that we’ve had along the way, it’s what’s brought him back to footy. He’s really enjoyed his time in the media with SEN over in Melbourne, but lucky for us the draw was strong to come back into the game.

PH: The story though is Lachie Neale. How confident that, if he does request a trade to Fremantle, that you get a deal done?
I think it’s really important to note that at this stage, no request to trade has been made yet. Obviously, there’s been reports over the last couple of days that Lachie and his wife are currently considering some really important decisions regarding their future. That’s something that they’ve got to work through themselves and with that in mind, and with due respect to all the parties, we’re loathe to make any detailed comments at this point in relation to that. Clearly, if that (the trade request) were to occur, and it’s hypothetical at this stage, it’s a really exciting prospect based on the player he is and what he’s achieved so far in the game, but that’s what it is at the moment in reality, a hypothetical situation.

PH: Does he fit your list management strategy, having a player like that join the Club?
It’s an interesting thought. The reality is, we’ve got some strong coverage in that area of inside mids. The reality also is, a player of that ilk and quality, is clearly something that you’d be enthusiastic to look into closely. I think about some of the games that are occurring this weekend and you look at the likes of Melbourne, the Bulldogs, who really topped up in the area of midfield depth over the past 12 months, Port Adelaide, they just have numerous players coming through in that area. Like any club, we’ve got areas that we’ve got strong coverage in. The back half, injury depending, is another area where we’re well covered but having depth in the midfield has shown to be a bit of a premiership trait for clubs in the past, so it’s something we’d consider closely.

KL: As a lot of people have called in on this program (saying) you just don’t want to sell the farm.
Our members expect us to be pragmatic about these things. Regardless of who the player is, whether it’s potentially someone coming in or by the same token, with a player departing, we’ve got to make decisions that are really objective in relation to the long term. We clearly have been on the record strongly, of going hard in the draft in the last few years in particular, and we’ve got a core of young talent and we want to make sure we set ourselves for a long tilt at being competitive instead of something that might get us there for a few years and then drop off again.

PH: What about Adam Cerra, are the many suitors out there for him at the moment?
We haven’t had detailed discussion around that yet. Adam has indicated to us that he wants to head back to Victoria. He hasn’t nominated a club directly through himself or his management just yet. Obviously, we’re hearing reports in relation to a number of different clubs at this point in time. A player of Adam’s calibre, both from an on-field performance perspective in terms of what he’s done so far, and clearly what he’s going to do, which is without much doubt - if you throw in the character he is, he’s an absolute rock-solid citizen who can add a lot to a club, I’d think there should be a significant amount of interest. It’s still really early but that will start to heat up in the next two to three weeks in particular.

PH: Outside of Lachie and Adam, do you think you’ll be a big player at the trade table this year?
Just when you think you might not be involved (in the trade period), things can change relatively quickly. We’ve got a preference to really hit the draft in particular as a priority. Clearly, there’s circumstances that might warrant a tilt from that strategy - when there’s players of outstanding character and capability, that’s something we would consider. But the overriding preference is being in the draft and that’s what we’ll continue focusing on.

KL: Do you get scared off (investing in the draft) a little bit given what’s happened with Adam Cerra?
It’s a balance. We completely understand that drafting locally where we can is of really high value and we’re really mindful of that. But if you took that to the absolute extreme, then we might not have had our top to games records holders and Club icons in (South Australian) Matthew Pavlich and (Victorian) David Mundy in that sense. I think you have to be achieving that balance. If you flip it slightly, while the Adam Cerra scenario is clearly in the forefront of our mind and disappointing on a number of levels, you’ve got to take into account that (Victorian) Andrew Brayshaw was taken three picks ahead of him in the same draft and he’s just extended for another four years. Andy really does head a group of talented youngsters who hail from interstate who are very committed to what we’re doing. There is risk attached to it, we understand the value of drafting locally and it’s a real priority of ours but we have to get the balance right.

KL: Do you have a say when it comes to your list and future picks?
Very late in the piece is my approach in that regard. I’ve got a history in footy and like to think that I know the game relatively well. We have a whole team that are genuine professionals at this, they do all the viewings themselves. I might come in late in the piece and certainly ask a number of pointed questions around the background and the history of the player, innate competitiveness and things like that. Certainly I wouldn’t be talking about the way these young players in particular, who I just haven’t had the time viewing, can play in detail. That’s up to the people that we employ to do that on a daily basis.

PH: There’s some contracts extensions. We’re hearing about Bailey Banfield and Nathan Wilson. And Travis Colyer has been rewarded for a really good season?
Add into that Lachie Schultz as well, too. Who’s extended for a couple of years as well too. We’re really pleased to work through that with the players you mentioned. We’ve made some really hard calls in the last 12 to 18 months in particular and are working towards a culture and environment with JL and the coaching team. The guys you mentioned are really buying into that and we think there’s a real opportunity to add to what we’re tying to achieve.

02:08 Mins
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Simon Garlick interview | Channel Nine news

Simon Garlick talks about Neale and Cerra, Justin's contract, and Bob Murphy joining the club.

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