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WESTERN Bulldogs premiership defender Joel Hamling has joined Fremantle, effectively in exchange for pick No.35. 

The Dockers sent pick 35, 43 and 61 to the Bulldogs in exchange for Hamling, pick 40 and pick 63. 

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Hamling agonised over the decision to return to Western Australia after playing in the Bulldogs' premiership but decided to head home on what is understood to be a three-year deal.

He began his career with Geelong after the Cats used pick No.32 in 2011 to select him, before joining the Western Bulldogs as a delisted free agent at the end of 2014.

He made his debut in round nine, 2015 and played 23 games for the Bulldogs where he played in 16 wins.

Fremantle general manager of list management Brad Lloyd said the club had been monitoring Hamling since he played for WA in the AFL Under-18 Championships in 2011.

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“Joel’s really grown physically over the past couple of years and we think there is more growth in him as a player,” Lloyd said. 

“He is a promising key defender who we believe will come in and be a long-term player for Fremantle.”

Bulldogs list manager Jason McCartney wished Hamling all the best on the club website.

"We believe we have reached a fair and equitable deal for Joel, and will keep our options open as to what we do with our picks ahead of the trade deadline on Thursday," McCartney said.

The Bulldogs hope to recruit Collingwood forward Travis Cloke and also need to work through trades for Koby Stevens, who hopes to join St Kilda, and Nathan Hrovat, who could be traded to North Melbourne or Carlton.