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Official: AFL releases list of 2018 free agents

Rory Sloane is expected to be much sought-after as a restricted free agent - AFL,Free Agency
Rory Sloane is expected to be much sought-after as a restricted free agent

WESTERN Bulldogs premiership stars Tom Liberatore and Luke Dahlhaus – already both in the news this week – are the standout names on the AFL's unrestricted free agents list. 

League headquarters have released this year's 51 free agents, 11 of which are restricted, including Adelaide's Rory Sloane, Gold Coast forward Tom Lynch and West Coast's Jeremy McGovern. 

Players must serve eight years at the same club to become a free agent and those paid in the top 25 per cent at their club are restricted free agents.

An unrestricted free agent can move to the club of his choice without any hurdles, whereas clubs can match any offer a restricted free agent agrees to. 

One report this week suggested the Dogs offered Dahlhaus as trade bait last year and also mentioned that rival clubs were of the belief Liberatore and teammate Clay Smith were 'gettable'.

Coach Luke Beveridge vehemently denied the story in an exclusive interview with AFL.com.au. 

Making Dahlhaus' and Liberatore's unrestricted status more interesting is that fellow Bulldogs Jordan Roughead and Mitch Wallis are restricted free agents.

Clubs' ability to front and back-end contracts to suit their salary cap situation also muddies the waters. 

Tom Boyd's monster deal to join the Kennel from Greater Western Sydney a year after being the No.1 pick in 2013 is understood to be heavily front-loaded. 

Jason Johannisen re-signed at the Bulldogs last year on a lucrative five-season deal, while superstar Marcus Bontempelli comes out of contract next year and will be a priority signing.

North Melbourne speedster Shaun Atley and West Coast ruckman Scott Lycett were surprises among the restricted free agents.

The AFL will award compensation in the form of a draft pick to a club that loses a player through free agency if that club has not gained a player the same way.

Restricted

Rory Sloane (Adelaide); Cam Guthrie (Geelong); Tom Lynch (Gold Coast); Tom McDonald (Melbourne); Shaun Atley (North Melbourne), Bachar Houli (Richmond); Andrew Gaff (West Coast), Scott Lycett (West Coast); Jeremy McGovern (West Coast); Jordan Roughead (Western Bulldogs); Mitch Wallis (Western Bulldogs)

Unrestricted

Richard Douglas (Adelaide); David Mackay (Adelaide); Andy Otten (Adelaide); Rohan Bewick (Brisbane); Ryan Lester (Brisbane); Marc Murphy (Carlton); Kade Simpson (Carlton); Jarryd Blair (Collingwood); Alex Fasolo (Collingwood); Tyson Goldsack (Collingwod); Ben Reid (Collingwood); Tom Bellchambers (Essendon); Hayden Ballantyne (Fremantle); Michael Johnson (Fremantle); David Mundy (Fremantle); Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle); George Horlin-Smith (Geelong); Daniel Menzel (Geelong); Jarrod Harbrow (Gold Coast); Michael Rischitelli (Gold Coast); Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn), Taylor Duryea (Hawthorn); Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn); Ryan Schoenmakers (Hawthorn); Brendan Whitecross (Hawthorn); Neville Jetta (Melbourne); Scott Thompson (North Melbourne); Sam Wright (North Melbourne); Justin Westhoff (Port Adelaide); Reece Conca (Richmond); Shaun Grigg (Richmond); Sam Gilbert (St Kilda); Heath Grundy (Sydney); Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney); Nick Smith (Sydney); Mark Le Cras (West Coast); Eric Mackenzie (West Coast); Luke Dahlhaus (Western Bulldogs); Tom Liberatore (Western Bulldogs); Dale Morris (Western Bulldogs)