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Demon hunt: Fremantle circling Sylvia

Peter Ryan  October 2, 2013 10:00 PM

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Colin Sylvia is out of contract, with the Dockers keen on him


FREMANTLE has emerged as the most likely destination for Melbourne's unrestricted free agent Colin Sylvia if he chooses to leave the Demons.
 
Sylvia is yet to make his intentions clear but AFL.com.au understands the Dockers – who lost Saturday's Grand Final by 15 points – are the frontrunners for his services.
 
The 27-year-old would be an attractive option for the Dockers as he can play as a midfielder and a high half-forward. He uses the ball well, has clean hands and can hit the scoreboard.
 
He has kicked 129 goals in 157 games with Melbourne. 

Fremantle has been prepared to use free agency to fill gaps under coach Ross Lyon. It gained Danyle Pearce from Port Adelaide under free agency at the end of 2012. Pearce played every game this season.
 
Sylvia had a very consistent year in 2013, playing 19 games and finishing fifth in the club's best and fairest. He also won the club ambassador award.
 
He has played at least 15 games every season since 2005 but has never reached 20 games in a year. He has twice polled 10 Brownlow votes in a season.
 
Sylvia returned from overseas on Grand Final weekend and was expected to sit down with new Melbourne coach Paul Roos for the first time this week.
 
Roos has declared him a required player and Melbourne has put an offer to Sylvia.
 
However, Sylvia is contemplating whether he should take the opportunity to join a club with a higher likelihood of finals success. The Dockers have reached three of the past four finals series and will enter 2014 as one of the premiership favourites.
 
Sylvia has played in just 48 wins in 157 matches and just six wins in two years. He has played in just two finals in 10 years, with his most recent appearance in a finals series being 2006.
 
Most observers suspect Sylvia would be at his best in an environment that contained many quality players.
 
Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney told AFL.com.au's Gillette Trade Radio on Wednesday the club still hoped to hang on to Sylvia but respected his right to weigh up his options under free agency.
 
"We've done everything that has been required to hold onto Col, now he's taken a bit of time to make his decision," Mahoney said.
 
"[We] expect an answer from Col in the next couple of days.
 
"We see him as an experienced player through the midfield, that's one thing that we still do need, there's a role for him to play but ... he's got to make a decision on where he finishes his career."
 
If he was to depart, it would be a loss for the Demons but it would also free up some space in their salary cap. Melbourne is restricted financially to paying just 95 per cent of the cap as it tries to win back respect on field under Roos. 
 
The club could also expect reasonable compensation for the No.3 pick of the 2003 national draft, with a late second round pick likely for a player of Sylvia's talent.
 
Melbourne re-signed 22-year-old Jack Watts for three years a fortnight ago and is hoping to secure some talented midfielders in the exchange period.