UPDATE: West Coast have emerged as the leading candidate in the race for Collingwood premiership midfielder Sharrod Wellingham, with manager Carlos Da Costa yesterday nominating the Eagles as his player’s club of choice for a trade.
The West Australian understands that the Eagles pitched a deal worth close to $1 million over three years to Wellingham in talks that began last weekend. They still face a stern challenge from Melbourne, who could be prepared to offer more than $400,000 a year.
The Demons have also expressed an interest in Wellingham’s Magpie teammate Chris Dawes, raising the prospect that the duo could be a part of a trade to the Demons, who landed Geelong’s dual premiership player Shannon Byrnes yesterday through free agency.
But Da Costa last night made it clear that it was Wellingham’s wish to join the Eagles.
“He was very impressed with the level of professionalism in all of the dealings he had with the club,” Da Costa said.
“Collingwood will have to trade for him. He stresses that he has enjoyed his time at Collingwood.
“Hopefully Collingwood will be fair with West Coast because that is where he wants to play.”
Wellingham, who was recruited from WAFL club Perth, has played 92 games for Collingwood, including grand finals in 2010 and 2011.
He averaged 19 possessions a game and kicked 13 goals in 20 matches in 2012.
The 24-year-old said that he was eager to return to WA and continue his career at West Coast.
“I will always have some very good friends there, but it is now time to move on,” Wellingham said.
“The dealings I have had with West Coast have been really impressive and I will now go on a break overseas and wait for the two clubs to reach a deal on the terms of my move back home.
“It will be exciting to get back to Perth and to play in front of my family every week.
“That was a very strong influence on my decision to leave and I look forward to playing with the Eagles.
“Playing against them, we had enormous respect for West Coast, and I believe they have a young list capable of winning a premiership in the next few years.”
Da Costa said the chance to come home to be near immediate family was an important factor in his choice of the Eagles.
“There are two reasons behind this,” he said. “He thought it was the right time to come home. Sharrod always had two dreams with his football, one was to play is a premiership and the other was to play for West Coast.
“He has played in a premiership. He would like to play for the team he has barracked for all his life.”
It is understood that Wellingham met Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley earlier this week.
It was made clear the Pies would not budge on their offer, believed to be two years at $300,000 a season.
Meanwhile, 24 hours after losing speedster Danyle Pearce to Fremantle, Port Adelaide let key defender and free agent, Troy Chaplin go to Richmond.
Port didn’t match the Tiger’s reported four-year deal, citing medical advice.