Fremantle will head into the 2017 NAB AFL National Draft holding arguably the strongest hand in the AFL after the club secured pick no.2 and Brandon Matera in exchange for Gold Coast receiving Lachie Weller, pick no.41 and a future third round pick.
The deal means Fremantle will have two early first round picks - selections two and five - in the 2017 NAB AFL National Draft, their strongest since taking Paul Hasleby and Matthew Pavlich with picks two and four in 1999.
Pick no.2 is Freo’s highest selection in the draft since securing Stephen Hill with pick no.3 in 2008.
In agreeing terms to a three-year contract, Matera joins former GWS Giant Nathan Wilson as West Australians returning home to play for Fremantle during this trade period.
The South Fremantle product was pre-listed by the Suns as a 17-year-old in 2010 and made his debut in Round 2, 2011 against Carlton at the Gabba.
The creative small forward played 101 games for Gold Coast, kicking 124 goals and was assessed and given the all-clear by Fremantle medical staff after missing the second half of the 2017 season with a foot injury.
Despite the injury, Matera produced some of his career best footy in 2017 – kicking 22 goals from 10 games including a six-goal haul in round three against Hawthorn.
Taken with pick no.13 in the compromised 2014 National Draft, Weller made his debut in round 18, 2015 against Greater Western Sydney at Subiaco Oval.
The Tasmanian earned a 2016 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination against Brisbane in round 12, where he kicked four goals and collected 22 disposals.
Weller played every game for Fremantle in 2016 and 2017, totalling 47 games for the club.
Fremantle will now head into the draft holding picks two, five, 42, 60, 66 and 71 in the opening four rounds.
General manager of list management Brad Lloyd wished Weller well at his new club.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the outcome of the trade period,” Lloyd said.
“Firstly, Lachie Weller is an outstanding young player and person so we’re sad to see him go but we think he’s going to be a really good fit and a good player for the Gold Coast so we wish him well there.”
“To come away holding picks two and five in the draft is an enormous opportunity for the football club, so we’re really excited.
“On top of that to bring in Nathan Wilson and Brandon Matera, both young West Australians who are 24 and 25 years of age, will bring some experience and also a high level of football ability to the club and the playing group.”
Recent draft history – pick 2
2016 – Tim Taranto (GWS)
2015 – Josh Schache (Brisbane)
2014 – Christian Petracca (Melbourne)
2013 – Josh Kelly (GWS)
2012 – Jonathan O’Rourke (GWS/Hawthorn)
2011 – Stephen Conigilo (GWS)
2010 – Harley Bennell (Gold Coast/Fremantle)
2009 – Jack Trengrove (Melbourne)
2008 – Nic Naitanui (West Coast)
2007 – Trent Cotchin (Richmond)
Recent draft history – pick 5
2016 – Will Setterfield (GWS)
2015 – Darcy Parish (Essendon)
2014 – Jordan De Goey (Collingwood)
2013 – Kade Kolodjashnij (Gold Coast)
2012 – Jake Stringer (Western Bulldogs)
2011 – Matthew Buntine (GWS)
2010 – Jared Polec (Brisbane/Port Adelaide)
2009 – Ben Cunnington (North Melb)
2008 – Michael Hurley (Essendon)
2007 – Jarrad Grant (WB/Gold Coast)