Forward Lachie Schultz and midfielder Brett Bewley have been confirmed as Fremantle players for 2021 after the club added the pair to the rookie list under the AFL’s new list provisions.

The move was made after the AFL cut primary list sizes from a minimum of 38 in 2020 to a minimum of 36 for the 2021 season.

To give clubs extra flexibility, the AFL allowed clubs to delist two players from the primary list and re-list them as rookies after the AFL Delisted Player Free Agency Period (1) closed on Sunday 29 November.

Executive general manager of football Peter Bell said the rule meant Fremantle avoided having to wait until the Rookie Draft on Thursday 10 December to select Schultz and Bewley. 

“Under the new provisions that are only applicable this year, today we informed the AFL that we’ll be pre-listing Brett Bewley and Lachie Schultz as rookies for 2021,” Bell said. 

“It means they’ve come off the primary list and we were able to rookie them without going through the Rookie Draft, which has, historically, been the way it had needed to take place. We were able to do that just by notifying the AFL and that will be processed in the next 24 hours or so.”

Bell said that Fremantle were committed to select midfielder Bailey Banfield during the Rookie Draft.

“That pre-listing mechanism was only available for a maximum of two players per club, so with that in mind, we have committed to drafting Bailey Banfield onto the rookie list at the Rookie Draft,” Bell said.

The additions of Schultz and Bewley mean Fremantle’s list is now set ahead of the NAB AFL National Draft on 9 December.

Fremantle currently hold selections 12, 32, 55, 56 and 63 are Bell said the club was looking to select four players in the National Draft and one additional player alongside Banfield in the Rookie Draft. 

“We are most likely to have four selections in the National Draft and we have a commitment to re-rookie Bailey Banfield, which would leave one opening on the rookie list,” Bell said.

“We’ve also committed to Leno Thomas for an additional year as a Category B rookie. Should certain circumstances arise, we do have the capacity to add a second Cat B rookie.”