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Steve Rosich on Trade Radio, Friday 5 October

Reece Conca joined Fremantle on Friday. Conca talks about joining Fremantle in 2019

Do you have an update on meeting you had with Jesse Hogan yesterday?
Firstly with Reece (Conca) because that shouldn’t go without comment, really pleased to secure Reece in what ended up being the first trade of the 2018 period. He’s a fine young man, as you probably know, 26-years-of-age, some good footy ahead of him and he will really add to us in a midfield sense and leadership sense and also, an off field sense so we re really happy to lure Reece back (to WA). With respect to Jesse Hogan, we have done due diligence on various players who are looking to possibly come to our footy club and in most cases that includes a tour of our facilities - cameras obviously caught that yesterday, but he is one of many that we are looking at.

How confident are you of landing Jesse Hogan?
Firstly, he needs to make a call whether he is interested in coming to Fremantle. We are doing a stack of work to determine if Jesse is someone we want to add to our footy club, and secondly what does that transaction mean and does it makes sense. If all those things are ticked then you have a conversation with Melbourne but we are not there yet.

Have you asked Jesse to work to a time frame?
No, we don’t think that’s required. This trade period doesn’t start until Monday and then there is a bit of transaction time that follows. We don’t think we are under huge time pressure but we are trying to do the work and, ideally, we will make a call if he is a fit for us, and us for him, by early next week.

Will you be using pick five for Jesse Hogan?
That’s a valuable pick – when you talk to our recruiting team they are pretty excited about the top end of the draft, so it’s either going to be valuable to us in adding to what we are trying to do here in bringing in really good, young talent or it’s going to be useful in a trade. We are a couple of steps away from weighing that up, but that’s the sort of consideration we are going through at the moment and we are looking at a number of players.

From a list management point of view – are your key position stocks strong enough at the moment?
You have to add to it with the right people, both on and off the footy field. We think we have some emerging talent in Brennan Cox who won a NAB Rising Star nomination this year, Matt Taberner showed at the start of the season and end of the season what he does for our structure and how he straightens us up but we want to add to that because when you have the more mobile forwards in (Cameron) McCarthy around, and the smalls, we think we would like to add someone through the draft or trade period that can assist in that area.

Rory Lobb v Jesse Hogan – what is your preference and can you accommodate both?
Jesse and Rory are young West Australians – Rory is 25, Jesse 23 – so they fit a profile for us and we are doing the work on them and with them at the moment to see if there is a possibility for us and for them, and if all that transpires and it was appropriate to engage with their clubs and get deals done then there’s no doubt that has the potential to add a lot to our footy club. So that’s the work being done at the moment and, hopefully, we will see how it plays out over the next couple of weeks.

Can you have both?
It’s a possibility, there are other players we are considering as well from other footy clubs. We are in a zone where we want to add players from other footy clubs to help with what we’ve done over the last two drafts, where we brought in 22 new players – the vast majority of those are 18 to 19 years old  – so we’ve got a significant portion of our list that is under 20 and we think it’s a great opportunity if it’s appropriate to add some players in that 23 to 26 year age bracket. Obviously, one has come in today in Reece Conca which we are really pleased with and potentially there are some more.

Have you conceded that Lachie Neale won’t be part of your mix next year?
Certainly not. We’ve been very consistent through the external conversation on Lachie. He is a fine young man, 25 years of age, resilient player, great player. Second in the Doig Medal last year, winner the year before and he will be right up there in contention for the individual award again this year, and rightly so. He is a very good player and one we would be very happy to continue on post 2019. He is contracted for next year and we remain positive he will be at our footy club not just next year but beyond that. 

If he was to go, you would be getting a high-end pick back from the Brisbane Lions which would obviously make life easier for you on the other two players we’ve spoken about (Hogan and Lobb). Do you think you have a scenario where you get Hogan and Lobb in and also keep Neale?
What I can say is our first preference in all those scenarios is to retain Lachie. We’re clearly in a good position to do that because he is already contracted for next year and he is someone that we want to retain. That's our starting point.

The industry feels he is gone to Brisbane.
I can only reiterate it again, he’s a fine young man. We value him, respect him, he’s contracted and that's where we sit with it.

Would you be demanding Brisbane’s first pick if they were to go down that path?
I don't normally go down the path of discussing those things and probably I should follow that in this instance but if for example Brisbane saw fit to offer that pick, we wouldn't be accepting of it.

You wouldn't accept their pick four?
No, because our position is that we want to retain Lachie.

Sean Darcy, he’s contracted but he is a Victorian. Will clubs come knocking for him?
I’m not sure, pretty similar answer with Sean in a different circumstance to Lachie, we were delighted to get Sean in the draft two years ago. He’s played some senior football in the ruck which at his age is quite unusual. He’s got many qualities what we like both on and off the football field. Sean’s contracted already for another two years and he’s someone who we will look to explore with his management to even add to that reasonably soon. We are very much in player acquisition mode and also in retention mode, so we are not looking at trading players out at this point in time.

How far advanced you are with discussions with Rory Lobb and what’s your gut feeling with what’s likely to happen with him?
He’s a contracted GWS player, so there is a bit to play out there. He’s doing his own due diligence looking at a potential move to WA. We’ve put our best foot forward on that, we’ve done the work on Rory to see if he can fit with our footy club. Once we get an indication from Rory if he would like to join our football club then the next step would be to sit down with GWS to see if something could be worked out. We’d like to get to that position, if not then there’s potential to do it again next year.

How difficult is it dealing with players who have one year of a contract left but having such a strong stance on your player who has one year of a contract left?
That’s why you can’t assume anything, it’s a good question. I think it’s the evolution of the competition, it’s certainly happening in society that people like to consider their options. I don't have a problem with players doing that as long as it is done in the right manner. I think in most instances that's absolutely the case. You just step through it and the reality is if you have a contracted player that's us or another club, you only do a transaction if it makes sense for both parties. I think that sits well with most people and most clubs in the competition.

Tim Kelly, another player who has one year to run on their contract, has gone public today with his desire to head back to your town. He has indicated to us that his preferred club is West Coast. Will you attempt to get involved in the future of Tim Kelly?
Tim’s clearly made a big impact in the AFL in his first season, that's not surprising from what we saw the year before with his performance that grew at South Fremantle. He’s to be congratulated on the season that he has had at Geelong. We’ve been in contact regularly with his manager Anthony Van Der Wielen, we have been told that he is keen to return to WA and that his first preference is West Coast. Again, you’re negligent if you don't explore all these possibilities and we have had some preliminary conversations with Geelong and we will see what transpires with that over the next week or two.

Back on Lachie Neale, if pick 4 as it stands wouldn't get it done, what else would need to be added to that if you were to transact?
It’s a tricky, hypothetical question to answer because as I said off the top, our first, second and third preference is to retain Lachie. It’s not something we’re giving a lot of thought to at this point in time and that's fine because he’s a contracted player. It’s not something we are likely to give too much thought to in a proactive sense.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs