FREMANTLE finally has the star spearhead it has been coveting for almost a decade after finalising a trade with Melbourne for Jesse Hogan.
The Dockers and Demons' negotiations over Hogan moved at a glacial pace and were so rocky that both parties purported to walk away from the deal last Friday, claiming their expectations were simply too far apart.
However, on Wednesday afternoon Melbourne agreed to trade Hogan and pick No.65 to Fremantle for pick No.6 and No.23.
Hogan said a chat with Dockers coach Ross Lyon and skipper Nat Fyfe had helped seal his decision to pursue a move west.
"I had a few conversations with Nat about the club's direction and I caught up with Ross two weeks ago, we had a really good chat about everything," Hogan said.
"We went through the list and the culture which aligned with where I'm at. The timing seemed right to try and pursue that and here we are."
He said he was delighted to return to his home state after six years and 71 games with Melbourne.
"I'm feeling a bit of relief, excitement, there's a bit of everything," Hogan said.
"There's been a roller coaster of emotions really, but I'm super excited and I can't wait to get started."
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Thankyou to everyone involved in the Melbourne football club. I can’t thank you enough for your unconditional support, care and love over the past 6 years the last 2 especially. From the supporters, coaching staff and of course the playing group I honestly don’t know where I would be. I’ve reached the stage where I feel it’s best I put myself around my family and friends and have a fresh start. I’m Disappointed to be leaving the dees at such an exciting time and can’t wait to see what that group of special players can achieve in 2019 and beyond, but at the same time am extremely excited to start my journey at Fremantle .
Hogan's manager Matt Bain said the Demons had approached negotiations professionally with full consideration of Hogan's circumstances.
"Melbourne was exceptional ... I couldn’t speak higher of their football club, looking at the compassionate terms," Bain said.
"If Melbourne footy club was over in Perth, it would've been a hell of a lot easier.
"It’s been difficult (for Hogan) not having the support (from home) after everything he’s been through."
Mahoney said Hogan's preference was to get the Dockers.
"The Jesse Hogan discussion was a bit different," Mahoney said.
"Fremantle was going through if they wanted to trade for Jesse. We'd had discussions privately with Jesse and his preference was to go to Fremantle.
"In all of those discussions we said we'd look to do the best trade for the club. But if we can get a deal, we'd be open to it. We walk away really happy with the deal we've done.
"We've been able to get two players in and also pick 23, then we've traded for pick 28. So we've improved our draft hand and brought in three key players overall."
Mahoney also said he wasn't worried by Fremantle's scare tactics during the Trade Period, saying the Demons were undeterred by Peter Bell's comments about pulling out of the Hogan race late last week.
"You learn pretty quickly through this period to go about your business and see how things pan out," Mahoney said.
"In the end, trades get done. All you can do is stick to your guns knowing what a good trade is for you. That's the way it played out."
The deal only became possible when the Dockers finally agreed to release contracted midfield star Lachie Neale to Brisbane earlier on Wednesday in return for, among other things, pick No.6.
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That prized selection paved the way for Melbourne to claim Gold Coast full-back Steven May, who the Demons feel will give them the key defender they need to man the competition's best power forwards.
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Hogan kicked 152 goals in 71 games with the Demons and won the 2015 NAB AFL Rising Star award.
He kicked 47 goals in 20 games this year but missed Melbourne's finals campaign after suffering a navicular stress fracture.
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Fremantle undertook a comprehensive due diligence process before committing to a trade for Hogan, which included medical tests on his troublesome foot and back, and checks on his off-field record.
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