FREMANTLE has locked away small forward Lachie Schultz for two seasons with an option for a third after completing drawn out negotiations.

Schultz was pursued heavily by Hawthorn but AFL.com.au understands he has opted to re-sign with the Dockers for a shorter guaranteed deal.

The Hawks, whose new coach Sam Mitchell was keen to secure Schultz, offered a three-year contract in their attempts to land the hard-nosed Victorian but fell short.

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Soaring Schultz takes a massive MOTY contender

Lachie Schultz with a speccy and an important late goal for Fremantle

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It appears Fremantle's offer of a third-year trigger got the deal over the line, with the club keeping him on its rookie list for the next two seasons.

Schultz, who would then need to be elevated for the third, ranked second at the Dockers for goals this season with 22 from 20 games.

It is understood he was a long way down the line to completing a deal when Hawthorn's significant interest emerged, leading to drawn out negotiations.

The Hawks would have been able to snare Schultz as a free agent if he did not come to terms with the Dockers, given he was delisted last year and re-listed as a rookie.

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The club shapes as one of the central players in the upcoming NAB AFL Trade Period, given the bombshell Channel Seven report that Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale wants to return to the club.

Young midfielder Adam Cerra is also seeking a trade out of the club and has started holding video calls with multiple Melbourne clubs as a starting point in deciding where he will play in 2022.

Carlton remains the frontrunner for his services, given its ability to trade pick No.6 and accommodate Cerra under its salary cap.