A VACANCY has opened at Fremantle for assistant coaching target Jaymie Graham after forwards coach David Hale departed for Hawthorn.
The Dockers are attempting to progress talks with Graham, who remains contracted to West Coast for one more season but has expressed a desire to explore other coaching opportunities.
Hale has joined the Hawks as an assistant coach under former teammate Sam Mitchell, ending a six-year stint with the Dockers where he has been in charge of the club's ball movement and forwards.
The three-time premiership ruckman, who played 108 games with the Hawks and 129 for North Melbourne, joins coaching recruits Andrew Collins and Adrian Hickmott in a new-look group that also includes re-signed assistant Chris Newman.
"David obviously had an outstanding playing career which he has then gone on to complement with six years’ worth of valuable coaching experience at Fremantle," Hawthorn football manager Rob McCartney said.
"Through meeting with David a number of times, we’ve become acutely aware that we’re bringing in someone with a very strong understanding of the game and someone who knows how to get the best out of his players.
"We’re really looking forward to seeing the impact that David can have on our playing group as well as our broader football department."
Hale was Fremantle's senior coach for one game in 2019, taking the reins against Port Adelaide in the final round of the season after Ross Lyon was sacked.
General manager of football Peter Bell said the Dockers were understanding of Hale’s decision to return to his home state after discussions about broadening his coaching experience.
"We had an understanding that at the appropriate time, if an opportunity came up for him at another club, then we’d be really supportive of him exploring those possibilities," Bell said.
"We’re really excited for the opportunity that lies ahead for David, as well as his wife Teresa and their three children."
The Dockers have all their assistant coaches contracted but could be in the market for two more if one of Justin Longmuir's team takes charge of WAFL affiliate Peel Thunder.
AFL.com.au has confirmed their interest in progressing talks with highly rated West Coast assistant Graham.
Given Graham is contracted, he would need the Eagles' permission to switch to the club's crosstown rival.