Hawks open AFL free agency with Tiger bid

Hawks open AFL free agency with Tiger bid

Hawthorn moved to bolster their tall stocks with the addition of Richmond free agent Ty Vickery on a quiet opening day of AFL free agency.

The Hawks offered the 200cm forward-ruckman a two-year deal on Friday, the only official paperwork lodged with the AFL on the first day of the 10-day free agency period.

Adelaide veteran Scott Thompson was an unrestricted free agent, but signed a one-year deal on Friday to remain with the Crows as expected.

North Melbourne’s Daniel Wells, also an unrestricted free agent, is expected to take up an offer to move to Collingwood, but chose not to make his intentions known until after the Roos’ best and fairest count on Friday night.

The Pies are also reported to be in the market for Fremantle free agent Chris Mayne.

Vickery is a restricted free agent, which means the Tigers have until Monday to match Hawthorn’s offer if they want to keep him at Punt Road or force Hawthorn to trade for him.

“Ty is keen to come to the Hawks and we are hopeful that we have provided him with a deal that will see this come to fruition,” Hawthorn list manager Graham Wright said.

“His ability to play both ruck and forward is an extremely valuable asset, making him a fantastic addition to our list.

“At 26 years of age, Ty has plenty of football left to play and we look forward to seeing what he can produce at the Hawks.”

The Tigers said they would consider their options over the three-day period allowed under free agency rules, in a statement released late on Friday afternoon.

They would be the first club to match an offer to a restricted free agent since the introduction of the new system at the end of the 2012 season.

The addition of Vickery could help the Hawks cover the losses of key forward Jarryd Roughead, who missed this season as he underwent cancer treatment, and ruckman Jonathon Ceglar, who is on the comeback trail from a knee reconstruction.

The Hawks have a track record of getting the best out of players who started their careers elsewhere.

Brian Lake, Josh Gibson, David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Stuart Dew and James Frawley are among the players to play in premiership teams after switching clubs.

Vickery was the eighth overall selection at the 2008 draft, but was largely unable to establish himself as an effective foil for full-forward Jack Riewoldt in eight seasons.

He has kicked 158 goals in 119 games and was dropped twice this season, finishing his year in the VFL.

Despite the demotion, coach Damien Hardwick was staunch in his support, claiming Vickery was a key part of his future plans.

In other player news, St Kilda veteran Sean Dempster agreed to a one-year deal to play on with the Saints in 2017.

The AFL trade period gets underway on Monday, with interest centred on the futures of Gold Coast pair Jaeger O’Meara and Dion Prestia and Sydney onballer Tom Mitchell.

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