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Hogan bombshell: Freo pulls out of Jesse chase

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FREMANTLE has withdrawn from its prolonged pursuit of star Melbourne forward Jesse Hogan. 

The Dockers said they weren't prepared to meet the Demons' asking price of two first-round picks. 

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Fremantle head of football Peter Bell has informed Melbourne the Hogan deal won't proceed. 

"We have been undertaking a due diligence process as part of a possible trade to secure Jesse Hogan," Bell said.

"As part of that process, we have had discussions with Jesse, the player's management and Melbourne.

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"While discussions were proceeding it became clear that what Melbourne would be seeking for a trade would not be possible for our club to meet.

"As such, we have informed Melbourne and Jesse's management that we will not be continuing further with the due diligence process."

Responding to the Dockers' statement on Friday afternoon, the Demons said it was expecting Hogan to return to the club in 2019.

"At the end of the season, Jesse expressed his interest to explore other opportunities, and to return to Perth and play for Fremantle," head of football Josh Mahoney said.

"We believe our offer was reasonable given Jesse’s record as a 71-game player.

"Jesse has been with us since he was 17 and has gone through some well-documented personal issues, particularly in the last two years, so we were comfortable to support his request.

"It was made clear to Jesse that if we were unable to complete an appropriate deal for both clubs, he will remain a Melbourne player.

"Both us, and Jesse, were happy with this."

The Dockers had met with the Demons spearhead on multiple occasions and last week toured him through the club's Cockburn facilities.

While Hogan had indicated his desire to play for the Dockers in 2019, Fremantle's withdrawal ensures he will return to the Demons to play out his contract unless another suitor emerges.

Fremantle's attempt to lure Hogan home had been a work in progress over a number of seasons, but this year marked the first time Melbourne had been prepared to part ways with the 23-year-old.

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On Friday morning, the Demons reiterated their stance that unless Hogan moved on, they wouldn't be in a position to land Gold Coast captain Steven May.

After landing Jake Lever from Adelaide last year in a deal that included this year's first-round pick, Melbourne doesn't enter the draft until pick No.36.

With Fremantle ending its approach for Hogan, it will now turn its focus into retaining contracted dual best and fairest Lachie Neale, despite his wish to move to Brisbane.

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Speaking on the opening day of NAB AFL Trade Period on Monday, Bell said it was his priority to keep Neale, less than a week into taking the reins of the football department.

"Lachie Neale is a two time best and fairest winner at our footy club. We would love to keep him," Bell said.

"Being a new footy manager, or general manager of football, on day three, it would be a feather in my cap if Lachie stayed at the footy club, so that’s what we're working towards."

Fremantle's current draft hand includes picks 11, 23, 30 and 49 which it will use in talks with Greater Western Sydney for contracted Giant Rory Lobb.