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Bombers heave-ho Gumbleton to Freo

Adam McNicol and Jennifer Phelan  October 25, 2013 1:24 PM

AFL 2012 Training - Essendon 280512

Former No.2 pick Scott Gumbleton will play at Fremantle in 2014

SCOTT Gumbleton's manager says his client is in good shape and is confident the injury-prone forward will make an impact at his new club Fremantle. 

The Dockers sent pick 55 to the Bombers in exchange for the 25-year-old, who has played just 35 games over seven seasons.

He has signed a one-year deal with a trigger clause for a second with the Dockers. 

Player manager Paul Connors said he believed Gumbleton's well-known injury issues were behind him.

"The body has been great, he hasn't missed a beat for two years, so we're really confident in how he'll shape [up] and what he'll do at the Dockers," Connors said. 

"It's an opportunity, he's keen to get home and have a run on the big ovals.
"He has a huge tank and we think he's going to be a good player."

All the Gillette Trade news here

A star junior with WAFL club Peel Thunder, Gumbleton was chosen by Essendon with its No.2 pick in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft.

But a series of back injuries prevented him from making an impact during his time at Windy Hill.

Although he played only seven games this year, Fremantle hopes Gumbleton will add depth to its forward line ranks.

"We've done our homework - we think we're a pretty thorough organisation," said Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond.

"[Gumbleton] played some good footy last year. He played 16-17 games both in the VFL and the AFL and we think it's worth the risk. 

"He's a player who's going to be given every opportunity through the pre-season. I think our first step and Scott's first step is to really work hard through the pre-season and we'll go from there.

"Bottom line we're really keen to bring really good people in and he's certainly that."

Fremantle had been on the lookout for a key forward to support the ageing Matthew Pavlich, considering former Cat James Podsiadly over the trade period after attempting to lure Travis Cloke amongst others in the past.
"When you say we've targeted forwards we’ve certainly spoken to forwards in the past, but we've been on the record to say that certainly the best thing to do is to draft your own and develop your own and make sure they're there for a long time," Bond said.

"Scott's a player who is from Perth and he's a player who is keen to get back to Perth to play with us and we're keen to give him that opportunity as well.

Connors said Essendon fans shouldn't begrudge the West Australian for leaving the club after his restricted career as a Bomber. 

"Scotty rejected a three-year offer at the 'Dogs last year on significant money to stay at the club," he said. 
"He gave it his best shot - I think no-one is begrudging Scotty and I think the fans aren't either."

Connors also said there was only one other suitor interested in Gumbleton and they didn't have a contract from Essendon; it was "just opportunity".  
The Dockers had already boosted their goal-scoring power by securing free agent Colin Sylvia from Melbourne.

Twitter: @AFL_AdamMcNicol