Luke Jackson after being traded to Fremantle on October 10, 2022. Picture: Fremantle FC

PREMIERSHIP ruckman Luke Jackson sensed from Melbourne's mid-season bye in round 14 that he would be returning home to Western Australia at the end of the season, with Fremantle the club he wanted to join.

Jackson, who officially became a Docker on Monday, met in Perth with the Fremantle and West Coast hierarchies in June as both WA clubs pitched for the talented 21-year-old.

It was his meeting with Dockers coach Justin Longmuir and football manager Peter Bell that "felt right", however, and he returned to Melbourne ahead of round 15 leaning towards a future with the Dockers.   

Luke Jackson after being traded to Fremantle on October 10, 2022. Picture: Fremantle FC

"As the season started to go on, I had a bit of a feeling it would land at Freo. I just wanted to get it done in the end. I'm happy it's done," Jackson said on Monday.

"It was about that bye break in the middle of the season. I got home and was able to meet up with 'JL' and 'Belly'.

ON THE MOVE Jackson gets his trade wish

"I was really comfortable around them, so I reckon around that period is when I felt I could lean towards Freo.

"I met with [West Coast] and they did a really good pitch. It was nice to get to know them.

"But when I met with Freo, I kind of knew that was the place I wanted to be playing. It felt right."

Luke Jackson takes a spectacular mark over Sam Walsh in Melbourne's round 22 clash Carlton at the MCG on August 13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Jackson said he had contacted almost all of his Melbourne teammates and coaches, with the club understanding of the opportunity he was presented with to return to Perth and play in front of family and friends.

Winning a premiership in 2021 at the club he was drafted to as a teenager had not factored in his decision to leave, but it had made him hungrier to achieve the same success with his second club.

"Hopefully we can bring a flag to Fremantle. The first one would be pretty nice," Jackson said.

"If it was next year that would be unreal. There's a lot of hard work to go, but it's good to be aiming him."

Luke Jackson and Clayton Oliver celebrate with the premiership cup after winning the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final at Optus Stadium on September 25, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Jackson had a close relationship with former Western Australia under-18s teammate Jordan Clark and had also met with new ruck partner Sean Darcy, with the pair speaking about the possibility of playing together.

He was excited about forming a new partnership in the middle of the ground after winning a premiership with his Melbourne ruck mentor and captain Max Gawn.

"I met with Sean a couple of times, and we were both talking about how good it could potentially be, so I’m looking forward to getting to work with him and seeing how that looks," Jackson said.

"I think he’ll be able to help me in that ruck area, and maybe I can help him in that ground level stuff, and both complement each other's games.

"[The coaches] are pretty open to me playing across the whole ground and I’m looking forward to seeing what that could look like." 


Developing as a forward target is an area Jackson said he looked forward to working on, with the 2021 NAB AFL Rising Star also hopeful he would be lining up alongside Rory Lobb in attack in 2023.

He was tight-lipped on the length of his deal to join Fremantle, who gave up pick No.13 as well as its future first and second-round selections for the young star, receiving picks No.44 and 67 in return from Melbourne.