WA AFL clubs chase Nick Malceski
The Swans Nick Malceski, eyed by the Eagles and the Dockers. Picture: Will Russell/AFL Media

West Coast and Fremantle are in the running to lure Nick Malceski to Perth from Sydney, with the Swans' ace rebounding defender delaying a decision on his future until later in the year.

Malceski, 29, will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and has told the Swans he will focus on football and wait until the season is over before he makes a choice on what is almost certain to be his last contract.

His manager Ben Niall has stressed that discussions with clubs and interest from others did not mean Malceski was halfway out the door at Sydney.

_The West Australian _understands the 188cm left-footer remains at least as likely to stay with Sydney as he is to leave.

But Niall did confirm the Perth clubs were among a group which had expressed their interest in Malceski.

"There have been some discussions with teams in Perth, along with other clubs in Melbourne, and we expect there may be some interest when we enter the free- agency window from that part of Australia," he said.

There are underlying reasons the WA clubs could feel they are a chance to lure Malceski away from the Swans, where he has played in two grand finals for one premiership.

His wife is from WA and still has strong family ties here. The couple have a young child.

West Coast shape as a strong bidder for the highly-skilled defender.

The Eagles are in need of elite ball users. Coach Adam Simpson commented at the start of the season that one way to stop other teams locking down on their own rebounder Shannon Hurn was to have alternative routes for the ball out of their back line.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is a known admirer of Malceski, but the Dockers may have higher recruiting priorities than a running defender when they finalise draft, trade and free- agency strategies.

With doubts mounting that champion defender Luke McPharlin will go on next year, the Dockers could be looking for a tall defender ahead of one Malceski's size.

There are also concerns at Fremantle about how much salary cap room the club will have next year with big contracts secured by Nat Fyfe and David Mundy and changes to the veterans allowance rules forcing a higher proportion of Aaron Sandilands' and Matthew Pavlich's pay into the salary cap.

Malceski, who kicked the winning goal in Sydney's 2012 premiership, has overcome a string of knee injuries to become one of the competition's best defensive ball users in the past three years.

The 167-game player finished second in Sydney's club champion award in 2007.

Fremantle announced yesterday that defenders Lee Spurr and Alex Silvagni and ruckman Jack Hannath had signed until the end of 2016.

"There have been some discussions with teams in Perth, along with other clubs in Melbourne …""Nick Malceski's manager *Ben Niall *


The West Australian

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