FREMANTLE is well placed to retain three Victorian youngsters who loom as important members of its next generation, but will almost certainly lose homesick Harley Balic at the end of the season.
Freo has a host of Victorian players due to come out of contract at the end of the season, including Hayden Crozier, 23, Ed Langdon, 21, Darcy Tucker, 20, and Balic, 20, along with Tom Sheridan, 23, and Matt Taberner, 24.
AFL.com.au understands Langdon, pick No.54 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, is poised to re-sign with the Dockers for two more years, with a new deal expected to be finalised soon.
Crozier, pick No.20 in the 2011 national draft, and Tucker, pick No.27 in 2015, are not as advanced in their talks with Freo but both appear likely to recommit.
Balic, however, is set to request a trade home to Victoria after a difficult 2017 season when he has twice returned home on personal leave.
The talented midfielder, pick No.38 in the 2015 national draft, spent most of his first season at Freo overcoming a persistent wrist injury. He started this year on a far brighter note when he debuted in round three against the Western Bulldogs and played four senior games in a row before taking leave in May.
Balic returned to the Dockers in mid-June after a month in Victoria but played just one WAFL game, starring with 27 possessions and five clearances, before taking another leave of absence, which remains ongoing.
The former Sandringham Dragon is now fixed on a move home in October's trade period.
Langdon's looming recommitment and the likely re-signings of Crozier and Tucker are a vote of confidence in the progress the Dockers have made in their list rebuild this season.
Langdon would only commit for one season when he re-signed at the end of last year. At the time, the midfielder, whose elder brother Tom plays for Collingwood, turned his back on approaches from clubs in his home state, but seemed to leave the door open for them to renew their interest at the end of 2017.
But it's believed Langdon has been buoyed by Fremantle's development in 2017 and sees a bright future for the club.
After making five finals appearances in six years from 2010-15, the Dockers hit the wall last season, losing their first 10 games on the way to a four-win season and 16th spot on the ladder.
With three rounds remaining in 2017, Freo has won eight games while blooding seven debutants and successfully introducing mature recruits Bradley Hill, Cam McCarthy, Joel Hamling and Shane Kersten.
Like most rebuilding teams, the Dockers have had their share of disappointing losses this year, but they have laid the platform for future seasons by piling games into their youngsters.
Langdon played 10 of the first 11 rounds before suffering a knee injury, while mercurial forward Crozier has played a career-high 17 games and midfielder Tucker has also played 17 games on top of the 12 he played in his debut season.
Fellow youngsters Lachie Weller, Connor Blakely and Brady Grey have also played more prominent roles this season.
The Dockers' youthful makeover has given them an on-field zest that stands in stark contrast to the air of decay that hung over 2016's proud but battle-scarred group.
The futures of Sheridan and Taberner won't be decided until the end of the season.
From round seven, 2015, until the end of last season, Sheridan missed just one game, through illness.
But the midfielder, who was Freo's first selection in the 2011 national draft at pick No.16 overall, has been in and out of the Dockers' team this season, playing just eight games. He has been sidelined since injuring a hamstring in round 16 against North Melbourne.
Former rookie Taberner played 32 games from 2015-16, but the 199cm forward had managed just five senior games this season before earning a recall for Saturday's clash against Sydney.