Hooker delivers bad news to Freo direct

What do Travis Cloke, Alex Rance, Lance Franklin, Jack Riewoldt, Harry Taylor, and Cale Hooker all have in common?

They’ve all turned down Fremantle’s millions – and it’s no laughing matter for the AFL club.

Hooker became the latest key position player to turn down a lucrative offer from the Dockers when he chose to re-sign with Essendon on a five-year deal on Wednesday.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon’s eyes would have lit up when he saw Hooker’s incoming call on Tuesday night.

But the initial excitement soon turned to disappointment when Hooker informed Lyon of his intentions to stay at Essendon.

“He was respectful and rang last night and said he wanted to talk to me before he spoke to his mum,” Lyon said.

“We’ve got a really strong relationship. And does it surprise me (that he’s stayed)? No, because he’s very loyal to his football club.

“He had a number of Melbourne clubs (interested), so I wish him all the best. He’s a really good person.”

Fremantle have been trying to lure big-name key position players for years.

But their attempts have fallen flat, with Cloke, Rance, Franklin, Riewoldt, Taylor, and Mitch Clark all saying no.

Instead, Jack Anthony and Scott Gumbleton were the only key-position players Fremantle could lure.

Gumbleton failed to play a game because of ongoing soft tissue injuries, while Anthony’s form was so bad his contract was cut short.

With Luke McPharlin retired, Matthew Pavlich on the way out, and Michael Johnson injured again, Fremantle’s need for key-position players at both ends is more urgent than ever.

Melbourne’s Jesse Hogan remains on Fremantle’s radar, but GWS forward Cam McCarthy looms as their best chance.

McCarthy was eager to join the Dockers via last year’s trade period, but the Giants blocked the move.

The 21-year-old has since been granted indefinite leave from GWS in order to deal with some personal issues.

McCarthy is currently in Perth training with WAFL club South Fremantle, but Lyon insists he hasn’t been in the forward’s ear to try to lure him to the Dockers.

“He’s a GWS player, being paid well by GWS. Clearly I’d like to respect his privacy,” Lyon said.

Fremantle’s on-field struggles this year will make it even harder to convince some of the competition’s biggest stars to join the club.

But Lyon isn’t going to give up.

“My mum told me there’s no such word as can’t,” Lyon said.

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