East Fremantle coach Bill Monaghan bracing to lose ruckman Luke Strnadica to West Coast Eagles
East Fremantle coach Bill Monaghan is already planning not to have first-choice ruckman Luke Strnadica next year, such is his confidence that he’ll end up on West Coast’s list.
Strnadica, 23, is one of two current train-ons at West Coast hoping to earn a rookie spot through the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period, alongside East Perth midfield bull Kade Dittmar.
The athletic 203cm ruck-forward, who spent two seasons on Fremantle’s rookie list without playing an AFL game, appears a good fit at the Eagles with their ruck stocks a little thin.
Premiership tall Nathan Vardy retired at season’s end, Tom Hickey was traded to Sydney last year and Scott Lycett headed back to Port Adelaide the year before.
Superstar Nic Naitanui is the main man but his injury history is a concern with two knee reconstructions.
Uncapped Claremont product Callum Jamieson is sidelined after a post-season leg operation, while Bailey Williams has only featured nine times at AFL level.
“There’s not a whole lot of ruckmen around and not many in WA,” Monaghan told SportFM 91.3.
“I would think that they need to add a ruckman and he’s the only ruckman training there so I’m planning not to have him, so his magnet has been moved to one side of my board.
“If he gets that opportunity, it’s fantastic. It’s good for Luke, it’s good for us because he’s worked hard.
“Whether he gets taken in February or gets drafted in November, if he finds a way back onto an AFL list then we’ll be rapt for him.
“That’s what we’re planning for, if he stays it’s a bonus.”
Monaghan backed 203cm Northampton product Brynn Teakle as the Sharks’ lead ruckman should Strnadica fill one of West Coast’s list vacancies, with the club also in discussions with an experienced big man.
Teakle, 22, has made nine senior appearances for East Fremantle to go with 37 in the reserves, stuck behind Strnadica and previously Jon Griffin.
Teenager Josh Cripps, the 199cm younger brother of Carlton co-captain Patrick, is another East Fremantle product who’s a chance of finding his way onto a list after spending the pre-Christmas period at Ikon Park as a train-on.
“Brynn Teakle is ready to take over,” Monaghan said.
“We are talking to another ruckman, planning for Luke not being available for us but it’s a little bit tricky because Luke is our number one ruckman and backed up by Teaks so the other ruckman is probably not that keen to come if we keep Luke.”
It comes after Strnadica’s former Dockers and Sharks teammate Griffin endorsed the “matured” player.
“He’s definitely matured physically and now that he’s 23, he’s matured mentally and emotionally,” Griffin said last week.
“I think he gives any AFL team the possibility of being able to come in and hold his own.
“It allows a team like West Coast, if Nic Naitanui goes down, he would be a fitting replacement and a solid contributor week to week.
“He’s worked really hard over the last couple of years and he’s definitely earned his opportunity so fingers crossed he can get back into the AFL system.
“It’s a testament to his character to be able to come back and put together a strong couple of seasons for East Fremantle to give himself the best opportunity to get back into the AFL.”
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