CONTRACTED St Kilda ruckman Tom Hickey has been traded to West Coast, a team he said "wants" him, after he was told by the Saints to explore his options.

The deal sees the Saints receive pick No.39 in this year's NAB AFL Draft from the Eagles, while also giving up pick No.60.

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The clubs also swapped next year's fourth-round selections. reported in September Hickey, who was contracted at the Saints until the end of 2019, was put through a medical by West Coast. 

Hickey told reporters after the trade went through he could play alongside star star Nic Naitanui when the Eagle returns from his right knee reconstruction.

"Nic's obviously injured for a little bit, and the opportunity to work under him –  and he'll be the coach – is awesome. I'll get to learn a lot off him," Hickey said.


"Also, we'll probably be working in tandem. He plays about half to 70 per cent game time and there's a chance there I can play forward and then help him out.

"Just being part of a team that wants me as well. (I was) told to look elsewhere and to explore my options, and West Coast were there. It's pretty hard to turn down a really good team, and the security."

Hickey isn't bitter with his former side.

"I understand where (the Saints) are at. I hold absolutely no animosity," Hickey said.

"I'm so proud to have played six years for that club and I still love the club, and I love all the boys there."

A big benefit is not having to go up against Naitanui.

"I don't have to be scared of him anymore, which is good," Hickey said.

"I spent the last eight years of my career hating the flight over to Perth so I'm really looking forward to working under him and learning a lot off him."

St Kilda list manager James Gallagher told the club was keen to alter its ruck division.

"It's no secret that we've been wanting to maybe make a bit of a change with our ruck dynamic, and this one's a pretty good story in that it's a win for all parties," Gallagher said.

Adding a second-round selection, considering St Kilda didn't have any picks in the second or third round, was key.

"It was an opportunity for him to get a bit of a longer contract too, so it's a good outcome for Tom, and also for us. He played 13 games this year, but we probably need to change the look of our rucks," Gallagher said.

"It gets us in earlier in the draft, which is a priority as well."

St Kilda also has Billy Longer on its list, who is expected to be at the club next year.

A decision is yet to be made on rookie Lewis Pierce, while Rowan Marshall is seen as a tall forward who can pinch hit in the ruck.

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The Eagles need ruckmen after the departure of premiership big man Scott Lycett to Port Adelaide, while star Nic Naitanui is expected to be sidelined for 2019 as he recovers from a right knee reconstruction.

"We're delighted that we have been able to bring Tom to our club," list manager Brady Rawlings told

"He is an athletic big man who led the ruck for St Kilda in many of his 67 games.

"Obviously, with the departure of Scott, there was a vacancy on our list for a ruckman and we believe Tom's athleticism and ruck craft will really complement our current ruck stocks.

"We are looking forward to welcoming Tom and his partner, Chloe, to our club."

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It will be the third club for the 27-year-old, who started his career at Gold Coast before moving to the Saints at the end of 2012.

A left hamstring tendon injury ended his season early.