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Strong culture to stop draftees giving Freo the heave-ho

Brady Grey of Tasmania in action during the 2013 NAB AFL U18 Championship match between Tasmania and Northern Territory at Visy Park on June 29, 2013. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Tasmanian Brady Grey has already been impressed by the welcome from his new Fremantle teammates
It's a very supportive culture. I'm proud to be part of the club
Fremantle draftee Brady Grey
FREMANTLE'S strong culture is one of its key assets in retaining interstate players, according to senior development coach Simon Lloyd.

The Dockers' cross-town rival West Coast recruited three West Australians and a South Australian with its four picks in last week's NAB AFL Draft but Fremantle had no concerns in drafting Victorian Michael Apeness and Tasmanians Alex Pearce and Brady Grey.

Lloyd believes player retention is a real concern for AFL clubs after five young players quit the Brisbane Lions at the end of the season, but he had enormous belief in the culture that has been built at Fremantle.

"We have a retention committee that really works hard on making sure that our players are Fremantle Dockers players for life," Lloyd said.

"It is important. Often if you have a home grown [player] it's a lot easier to keep them in the state but we do have a lot of players, particularly coming through our first, second and third years, that are very happy here and have gone in with good host families from the start and are now living with other players and we've really tried to set up the right environment for them."

New recruit Brady Grey says he was immediately made aware of the strong culture among the Dockers' playing group from the moment he got drafted to Fremantle.

"Since Thursday night I've received five to 10 calls from the players," Grey said.

"It's a very supportive culture. I'm proud to be part of the club.

"Matthew Pavlich rang me on the Friday morning and I received a text message from Hayden Ballantyne on the Thursday night straight after the draft.

"I was actually a bit star-struck when they both texted me.

"I thought it was my mates having a bit of a gag. Once they started talking you realised what the goals of the club are and I really want to be a part of that."

Grey and Pearce have known each other for a decade and both believe their friendship will help them make the move from Tasmania to Perth a lot easier.

"The feeling you get when you're drafted is incredible and to have a close mate like Brady get picked up as well makes it even better and it's going to be great to have him help with the transition of moving across," Pearce said.

Apeness was born in Perth and lived there until he was seven years old before moving to Melbourne with his mother. The 201cm key forward still has a host of relatives in Perth, many of whom are Dockers members.

"Both my grandparents live in WA, one in Mandurah and one in Rockingham," Apeness said.

"I've got lots of aunties and uncles and cousins here as well."