THE raid on the 2018 AFL premiers is well underway with Port Adelaide pinching West Coast free agent Scott Lycett.
Port reportedly lodged paperwork with the AFL on Saturday which should see the 26-year-old switch clubs after 75 games with the Eagles, with his last being the grand final win over Collingwood.
Lycett is a restricted free agent, however, which means West Coast have three days to decide if they will match the deal — thought to be for five years — offered by the Power.
It’s not expected the Eagles will match the bid and the 203cm ruckman will be free to join his junior footy club after being selected 29th overall by the Eagles at the 2010 draft.
The Power’s move for Lycett was the only official paperwork to be lodged on the second day of the AFL free agency period.
The Eagles however received a major boost, with star midfielder Andrew Gaff reportedly informing the club of his intentions to stick around.
Gaff was in the process of informing people within the club he was set to sign a new contract to stick around with West Coast, reported by AFL’s Nick Bowen.
He was forced to watch on as his teammates enjoyed the ultimate success as they claimed the 2018 premiership after a monster game against Collingwood.
The decision to stick with West Coast means he has spurned a reported multi-year, multimillion-dollar off from North Melbourne.
Questions began to be raised over his future following his eight-match suspension after delivering a horrific blow to Fremantle youngster Andrew Brayshaw.
With Nic Naitanui set to miss most of 2019 with a second knee injury in three years, the Eagles are looking at bringing St Kilda ruckman Tom Hickey west, but the news of Gaff sticking around is a major boost to their premiership chances.
HAWTHORN LOCK UP CLARKSON
Four time Hawthorn premiership coach Alastair Clarkson has signed a contract extension that ties him to the AFL club until the end of the 2022 season.
The Hawks announced the new three-year deal at their best-and-fairest ceremony, won by Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell, on Saturday night.
Clarkson, who took over from Peter Schwab ahead of the 2005 season, will have been at the helm for 18 seasons at the conclusion of his new contract.
Hawks president Jeff Kennett has long held the view that such leadership positions shouldn’t be held for longer than eight years but has conceded Clarkson is a special case.
“Coaches, including this one standing in front of you, are pretty rare beasts, very strange beasts, very competitive beasts and very difficult to manage beasts,” Clarkson told guests at the Crown Palladium.
“I’m one of them, I acknowledge that, and what Jeff says about the life span of an AFL coach (being) between six and eight years, he’s probably right.
“We’ve got a footy subcommittee that doesn’t allow a coach, player, administrator or anyone else to take charge of the football club. We’ve always had a shared, family decision-making model.
“The reason why it’s so easy to accept the enormously attractive offer by the club to continue to be involved is I’ve got genuine belief in the club and its direction and genuine belief in this group that we can do something special again.”
Hawthorn upset Geelong in 2008 to win their first premiership under Clarkson and won three flags in a row from 2013 to 2015.
The Hawks have made the finals in 10 of their 14 seasons under Clarkson, who’s the club’s longest-serving coach with 329 games in charge.
Reports are former champion Hawks midfielder Sam Mitchell will return to Hawthorn as well next year under Clarkson.