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Weller a Sun as Dockers claim prized draft pick

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Lachie Weller has secured a trade to Gold Coast - AFL,Trade,Lachie Weller,Gold Coast Suns
Lachie Weller has secured a trade to Gold Coast

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LACHIE Weller has been traded to Gold Coast in a last-minute deal that has netted Fremantle the second pick in this year's NAB AFL Draft along with small forward Brandon Matera.

The Dockers will go to the draft with two picks in the top five after adding the Suns' No.2 to their own No.5, holding their serve until the final moments to extract Gold Coast's prized selection.

Weller joins the Suns on a four-year deal less than a week after requesting a trade to his family's home base on the Gold Coast. 

While Fremantle was reluctant to let one of its best young players go while under contract, it came to a position that a trade would be agreed if the Suns were willing to part with pick No.2 or a top-four selection. 

"It had to be (pick No.2) for us. We wanted a pick inside our No.5, because he's a talented young player … it worked out well," Fremantle list manager Brad Lloyd said.

"It's an unbelievable opportunity to pick from the top end of the draft, that's where all the quality is and that's where our focus is."

Earlier on Thursday, Gold Coast completed a swap of draft selections with West Coast, trading picks No.21, No.26 and No.37 to the Eagles and receiving the Eagles' 2018 first-round pick and this year's No.50.

The deal was completed only for the Suns to be told that West Coast's future first-round selection would not be adequate compensation for Weller and a top-four pick in this year's draft was still the minimum requirement. 

It took until the 2pm AEDT deadline for a deal to be formalised, granting Weller his wish after three seasons with the Dockers. 

Gold Coast list manager Scott Clayton said the Suns wanted to do the deal for a later pick, but their mass of early selections in recent seasons made the deal possible.   

"We certainly would have preferred to keep pick No.2, but when you spread it over three years we've had four top-10 picks last year, none this year, but we've banked two for next year.

"I think the pivotal deal for us was being able to get West Coast's future first." 

It is understood Suns CEO Mark Evans made a commitment to Weller and his management to ensure a deal was done, giving Fremantle the whip hand in negotiations. 

The Docker also remained confident throughout negotiations that Weller would return to the club in 2018 if a deal could not be negotiated.   


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