Fremantle have made their first signing of the 2018 off-season, securing free agent Reece Conca from Richmond.
It was also the first deal lodged with the AFL in the 2018 Free Agency/Trade Period.
Conca’s signing continues a recent trend of Fremantle recruiting WA-produced talent playing interstate, with the former Perth Demon signing a three-year deal to become a Fremantle Docker.
The 26-year-old said he was delighted to sign with Fremantle and return home to WA.
“I’m super excited. I’ve spent eight years over in Melbourne and it’s a great opportunity to come home and be close to my family and friends,” Conca said.
“I just think that Fremantle’s a fantastic club. They’re really exciting, they’ve got a great playing list and obviously, coming home, it was a fantastic opportunity.
“I think I was just ready to make that change and continue my footy career and, hopefully, for a lot of years to come.”
Fremantle CEO Steve Rosich said the Conca signing was in line with Fremantle’s aims of securing WA talent from interstate.
“We’re delighted to have Reece on board at Fremantle,” Rosich said.
“He’s already shown what he’s capable of at a top four club in Richmond and we’re very positive that he will become a long-term player at Fremantle and help drive our young midfield.
“In signing with Fremantle, we hope he can join the likes of Bradley Hill, Joel Hamling and Nathan Wilson as recruits who have come home and made an impact.
“Reece is a fine young man who will not only help us grow on-field but contribute to the development of our young and emerging players.”
Conca was drafted with pick no.6 in the 2010 National Draft and earned a 2011 Rising Star nomination, with his debut season compared to that of Dustin Martin’s – who arrived at the Tigers the year prior.
Despite starting the 2017 season in excellent form at half back and playing the opening six games, Conca missed Richmond’s flag tilt due to a foot injury, instead playing in all four of Richmond’s VFL finals, including their grand final loss to Port Melbourne.
Conca returned to Richmond’s starting 22 in 2018 and played 18 games, including both of the Tigers’ finals appearances.
Playing as a defensive midfielder, Conca averaged 18.6 disposals, a career-high 7.2 contested possessions and a career-high 5.1 tackles.