UPDATE: Former Fremantle rising star winner Rhys Palmer has confirmed one of football's worst-kept secrets today, signing a four-year deal with new franchise Greater Western Sydney.
The 22-year-old midfielder told the Dockers this morning that he was leaving the club.
A website linked to Palmer's manager said the former NAB Rising Star informed the Dockers that he was heading over east.
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Despite speculation he was to meet with a Melbourne club, the website this afternoon confirmed Palmer had accepted a contract with GWS.
He said the move would hopefully allow him to lock down a starting role which had avoided him at the port club.
“It was the hardest decision that I have ever had to make,” Palmer said.
“The relationship with my mates and the staff at Fremantle is very strong.
“However, the opportunity to play in the midfield that is being given to me at GWS is what I trained for all through my football career.”
Palmer, who has made 54 appearances for Freo, missed of most 2009 and a large chunk of last season after snapping the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Fremantle will be compensated under the AFL provisions regarding out-of-contract players moving to GWS, most likely a second-round draft pick.
General manager of football operations Chris Bond told the club website said that the club was disappointed to lose Palmer.
“But we fully understand the changes in the AFL landscape following the introduction of Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney,” Bond said.
“We wish Rhys all the best for the future. Given Rhys’ decision to leave, our role is to now seek the best possible outcome for the Fremantle Football Club.”