PLAYERS who request to be traded to specific clubs when asking to be moved to a different state have become a growing point of frustration, Fremantle list boss David Walls says.
The Dockers this year lost important forward Lachie Schultz, who informed the club of his desire to head home but picked premiers Collingwood as his preferred destination, rather than being open to any Victorian club.
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Walls told Continental Tyres AFL Trade Radio it was unfair for clubs to be restricted in negotiations for wantaway players that they had invested in.
"We see it a lot, but when a player requests to go back to a home state, particularly when the relationship's been strong with the club and the player's been looked after … I feel like there should be more of an openness to look to any club within that state," Walls said.
"I feel like there needs to be a strong relationship between the player, the manager and the club to ensure that happens."
Walls said Schultz's late trade request took the Dockers by surprise following positive talk on a potential contract extension for the goal-kicker to remain in purple.
"We had previous conversations with him and knew that he was going to be a free agent next year, (but) we'd had long discussions about extending his contract, some quite good discussions and positive ones," Walls said.
"But his situation did change, and mindful of some personal circumstances, it changed with Lachie which he made us aware of. It did come late and not ideal."
Fremantle was also forced to bargain with just one club in a trade for up-and-coming wingman Liam Henry, who wanted to move to Victoria but specifically chose St Kilda.
The Dockers lost leverage in negotiations for Henry because he was out of contract, ultimately receiving a future second-round pick from the Saints as well as a swap of future fourth-rounders.
"It's not ideal. If you were to put Liam in this year’s draft, he'd be a little bit higher than that, but it highlights the value of the player being in-contract as opposed to being out of contract," Walls said.
"When a player's out of contract and there is the threat of the pre-season draft and us ending up with nothing in return … makes such a difference when you're negotiating, and the leverage that you have."