Patrick Dangerfield has confirmed he’s leaving Adelaide and wants to play for a Victorian-based AFL club.
Adelaide issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon saying Dangerfield had told the club of his intention.
Geelong is favoured to win Dangerfield’s services and have reportedly offered the brilliant midfielder a long-term contract.
“Whilst disappointing, we understand that Patrick’s decision has been made for personal reasons,” Adelaide’s chief executive Andrew Fagan said in a statement.
“We will now consider our options. However, our members and supporters should rest assured that in doing so we will make decisions and take action that is in the best interests of our football club.”
The announcement ends season-long speculation that the brilliant midfielder was seeking to play for Geelong, located near his family home of Moggs Creek.
Dangerfield told Adelaide’s players of his decision at an inner-city hotel on Wednesday for an end-of-season function.
Geelong has reportedly offered Dangerfield, 25, a five-year contract worth about $800,000 a season.
Dangerfield has fallen off contract with Adelaide, but having been on the Crows’ list for eight seasons, is categorised as a restricted free agent.
That means the Crows are entitled to match Geelong’s offer – but no other club in AFL history has opted to match a free agency offer.
Adelaide is believed to favour matching Geelong’s offer, which would then force the Cats to strike a trade deal.
If the Crows opt not to match the offer, compensation for Dangerfield would be decided by the AFL and likely be a first-round draft selection which Adelaide deem unsuitable compensation for losing the three-time All Australian.
The other option, considered most unlikely, is that Dangerfield nominates for the pre-season draft, stating he wants to play for Geelong and no one else, and nominates his salary.
But that scenario is high-risk as other clubs with pre-season draft selections before Geelong could call his bluff and match the salary offer.