Fremantle is “extremely confident” it will land Luke Jackson this trading spell as Melbourne “loses hope” of retaining the young superstar, reports Jon Ralph of the Herald Sun.
The ruck-forward, from Perth, is due to end his contract at the end of this year and is likely to land a rich long-term deal wherever he signs, given his talent and youth, turning 21 the week after this year’s grand final. But he’s not a free agent.
He is divided on whether he will go home and join Fremantle or West Coast, or stay with the Demons where he was drafted with pick 3 in the 2019 draft and won a premiership in 2021.
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But according to Ralph, Jackson has told friends that he wants to become a Docker, although he’s not sure yet.
“In Melbourne, the feeling is that the club is losing hope that they are losing their superstar unicorn, as Kingy called him, Luke Jackson,” Ralph said on Fox Footy’s post-game coverage of Cats-Demons on Thursday night.
“Fremantle is very confident that he will join the club. I understand that he has told some friends that I would like to be in Fremantle.
“Certainly, he will come home at some point – it just depends on whether it’s this contract or the next one. The official word as recently as tonight is that no decision has been made yet. He has had some talks with the club this week .
Melbourne CEO Gary Pert tells me that today the club told Jackson and their fellow free agent Angus Brayshaw that there is no ultimatum, there is certainly no timeline that we are urging you to.
“He said we’ve made it clear to Jacko and Gus Brayshaw that we’ll be working with your managers, there’s no date or no rush. Nobody pressures them. We would like to think that this is the club they want to be.
“If Jackson leaves it will create real cap space, Max Gawn is contracted until 2025. There is still some hope in Melbourne (he stays), but I think it’s a glimmer of hope now.”
Jackson’s former team-mate Jordan Lewis is also losing confidence that his former club can keep the insanely talented 199cm star.
“It’s huge (if he leaves). He would go back to the state where he grew up, the city where he grew up, so he has a lot of family and friends there,” Lewis said on Fox Footy.
“I was pretty optimistic at first to say he would stay because of the culture and the success of what he’s been through, but as it goes on I’m getting more and more… think he may be leaving.”
As a recent pick 3 that has adhered to that draft billing and then some, but isn’t yet a free agent, Jackson would warrant a trade bounty from the Dockers.
They currently only have pick 15 in the upcoming draft (plus a pick in the fourth round), meaning the Demons would probably ask for both, their future pick in the first round and probably even more in return.