Rival clubs to target Wagstaff
Rival clubs to target Wagstaff

Out-of-contract Perth Wildcats forward Jesse Wagstaff is eager to stay in WA but is yet to enter negotiations over a new deal with club management.

The versatile Wagstaff often plays a support role behind regular starters Matt Knight and Shawn Redhage, but would no doubt command a more prominent role is most teams around the competition.

He could also likely command a bigger salary elsewhere, with the Wildcats facing a challenge to keep their talent-laden roster under the cap.

Captain Damian Martin, grand final MVP Jermaine Beal and rookie-of-the-year Tom Jervis are also out of contract and will receive offers from rival clubs.

Wagstaff, who turns 28 this month, has played 153 games in five seasons at the Wildcats and has been a part of two championships.

He was hopeful he could extend his career in Perth and will discuss his options with his agent and Wildcats management next week.

“I’ve been here for five years and hopefully I would (stay here), but it’s not as simple as that,” Wagstaff said.

“Hopefully I can and hopefully we can sort something out. I spoke briefly to my agent but it’s still very early days.

“We played on Sunday and it’s still very fresh, so I’m sure that will happen in the next couple of weeks.”

Wagstaff was named rookie-of-the-year when the Wildcats won a drought-breaking championship under Rob Beveridge in 2010.

Wagstaff said his experiences over the past few seasons had helped give him a greater appreciation for the achievement this time around.

“I think in my first year I was a bit young and a bit naïve and kind of thought it would happen every year that you just kind of turned up and won a championship,” Wagstaff said.

“I think I’m taking this one in a bit more. I’m just a bit more mature, I think, and actually realise what it means and the accomplishment that it is.

“First year I don’t think I really appreciated it as much as I could’ve.

Losing consecutive grand finals to New Zealand in 2012-13 also made this year’s triumph more special.

“That adds to it, too. To lose the last two and especially last year on our home court,” Wagstaff said.

“We were in Adelaide’s shoes last year and we know how much it hurts, so to definitely win it, it kind of makes it a little bit better.”

The West Australian

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