It’s interesting in following what Ross has said over the years, since he came to Freo, and how he’s adapted. When he first arrived, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know much about Freo and its history with respect to drafts available to an ‘expansion’ club, especially with the gift of what was essentially a state team when the Weagles were formed. On past occasions then, he’s referred to us a blue-collar club; I take it he means that we weren’t born with a silver spoon, like the Weagles were, mentioning a few times that that Freo did not get the same sorts of access to draft picks or WA-based players that the Weagles did. In a presser just the other day, it was interesting to note that he brought up the generous first round draft picks that GWS and the Suns got. Draft-envy, I guess.
Now, he’s being exposed to the fact that some players that Freo targets and can generously pay don’t necessarily want to come to play here, no matter how sweet the deal is. We should celebrate those who want to come (e.g., Bennell) and those who choose to stay (Pav, Mundy, Sandi, and hopefully, Neale), but I think Ross is now fully realising that we are somewhat ‘up against it’ when it comes to recruiting and playing in a ‘national’ competition. I wouldn’t get too cut up about ‘losing’ a guy like Hooker because, as it turns out, he had turned down a past offer to come to the Weagles to stay with Essendon. I personally think that’s why the Cockburn facility is so important as a ‘carrot’ to potential recruits, but that’s my opinion.
As to why we, as a club, did not target some WA-based players in past drafts and recruitment periods when they were available (Darling, Yeo, McGovern spring to mind immediately) is another story.