West Perth loom as a likely home for Kepler Bradley next year after the Fremantle fan favourite announced his retirement yesterday.

The 28-year-old will leave the AFL at the end of the season after battling to return to full fitness following a knee reconstruction last year.

The decision comes after 117 games for the Dockers and Essendon since being selected by the Bombers with the sixth selection in the 2003 national draft.

Bradley has played 11 games for Peel this season, but told the Fremantle website his body was not allowing him to handle the requirements of the elite level.

He is expected to continue playing in the WAFL next season.

"I've tried to come back this year as soon as my body would let me, but I've done about five hamstrings on the way," Bradley said.

"Just with the pace of the game now, how fast it is, it looks like the game has gone past me.

"I played WAFL on the weekend and my body was a bit sore.

"That was the final nail in the coffin, that it wasn't meant to be."

Bradley said he had enjoyed his time mentoring the young group at the Thunder this season, but his chances of staying there next season could be compromised by recruiting restrictions placed on the club as part of its alignment with Fremantle.

Once Bradley retires from the AFL he returns to being a West Perth-zoned player.

Falcons president Brett Raponi said the club would be hunting for an experienced key forward next season and would be keen to lure Bradley home.

"He'd certainly be of interest to us," Raponi said. "Kepler is a premiership player in 2003, won a Larke Medal the same year, was an (under-18) All-Australian.

"It sounds cheesy, but he is a favourite son of West Perth. He's well loved by the football club.

"It would be pretty obvious to say we're interested."

Raponi also said Collingwood and former West Coast forward Quinten Lynch was a target.

Lynch played in the Falcons' 2003 premiership team.

The West Australian

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