Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has confirmed he is interested in signing free agent James Frawley, but he hopes the tyranny of distance won’t scare the Demon away.
Frawley flew to Perth last weekend to tour Fremantle’s club facilities, but the 25-year-old is also being heavily courted by Geelong.
The Dockers are exploring the option of adding Frawley to their list in order to offset the likely retirement of star defender Luke McPharlin.
There are rumours Fremantle are considering putting a seven-year deal on the table for Frawley, but a contract of that length appears unlikely.
Frawley is expected to command in the vicinity of $550,000 per season, and the Dockers should have room in their salary cap to accommodate that if McPharlin retires.
But Lyon said convincing Frawley to continue his career in Perth wouldn’t be an easy thing.
“I think you’d be naive to think that the travel factor isn’t a consideration (for players),” Lyon told Perth radio station 6PR.
“You have to get on the bird for a minimum of three-and-a-half hours every second week.
“There’s a price that goes with that, a loading if you like, to compete with the eastern clubs.
“We’d love the WA sons to come home, that’s a focus going forward for us. But it is difficult.
“At the end of the day we back our environment and leaders.
“We are going to have a new $107 million facility which will help us be the club that appeals.
“But our record of growing people on and off the field is even more important than that.”
Lyon said he was yet to talk to McPharlin about his future.
The 2012 All-Australian managed just 13 games this season due to quad, calf and knee issues, but there is still a chance he’ll decide to play on.
“We need to sit down and look at all the pieces,” Lyon said.
“We’ll give Luke the respect he deserves. He won’t have the final say, but he’ll have the majority of the say.
“He’s been an incredible player since I’ve been at the club.
“He’s been a real leader and driver of cultural change. So he’ll get all the respect and time he deserves.”
Lyon said there would be no aggressive cull of his player list despite Fremantle’s straight sets finals exit.
The Dockers’ flag hopes were extinguished after they coughed up a 31-point lead on the way to a 22-point semi-final defeat to Port Adelaide last Saturday.
Lyon said he was bitterly disappointed with the loss, but has vowed to keep Fremantle in premiership mode next year and beyond.