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JAMES Frawley is expected to join Hawthorn when the free agency period opens on Friday.
Several clubs including Geelong and Fremantle expressed interest in the 26-year-old key defender but it is understood he has chosen to join the defending premier.
Frawley informed Melbourne yesterday he was leaving the club after nine years but did not inform the club of his destination.
He met with Fremantle during the finals series and with Geelong
AFL.com.au understands Hawthorn expressed interest in Frawley but were deterred by the terms on offer and decided to move out of the race.
The Hawks then re-entered the race after it was clear Frawley remained interested in the possibility of joining the club.
Hawthorn stepped up efforts recently but was unable to deal with the decision properly until after the Grand Final.
Hawthorn has two veteran key defenders in Josh Gibson, 30, and Brian Lake, 32. It also has Ryan Schoenmakers, 23, who has been making slow progress as he returns from a knee reconstruction.