The Richmond Tigers and Geelong Cats do battle at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the first preliminary final for a spot in the decider. Set to be played on Friday, September 20, the first bounce is scheduled for 7:50pm (AEST).
West Coast Eagles midfielder Scott Selwood has officially accepted an offer to join the Geelong Cats as a restricted free agent.
The deal isn’t done yet – as a restricted free agent, the Eagles have the right to match Selwood’s offer, and have three days in which to make that decision.
If the Eagles elect not to match Geelong’s offer, then Selwood’s transfer will be processed immediately and he will become a Cat.
Rumours have persisted throughout the season that Selwood was weighing up his options and likely to join the Cats, and now it appears those rumours have come to fruition.
The Eagles vice-captain and 2012 best-and-fairest winner has struggled for gametime this season, falling out of favour in coach Adam Simpson’s new-look midfield.
He played in the Eagles’ qualifying final win over the Hawthorn Hawks starting as the substitute, but was dropped for the preliminary final when Chris Masten and Matt Priddis returned.
He was selected as an emergency for the 2015 AFL Grand Final which the Eagles lost by 46 points.
The Eagles face a difficult choice over whether or not to match Geelong’s offer after the AFL earlier this week released clearer information regarding free agency compensation.
The Eagles might previously have considered themselves a strong chance of gaining a first round pick as compensation for Selwood, but that now appears unlikely.
A second round pick is the most likely compensation for Selwood and the Eagles may well decide to match Geelong’s offer in order to seek greater compensation for Selwood’s departure via a trade.
With Geelong also looking to make trades for Lachie Henderson, Zac Smith, and mostly likely Patrick Dangerfield, that could prove difficult to achieve.
Scott is one of four Selwood brothers all of whom have had AFL careers. His older brother Joel is the current Geelong captain and his movement to the Cats will reunite the two.
Troy Selwood played 75 games for the Brisbane Lions before being delisted in 2010, he then captained Geelong’s VFL team from 2011-2013, captaining the side to a VFL premiership in 2012.
Adam Selwood, twin of Troy, played 187 games for West Coast and was a member of the 2006 premiership side, but retired in 2013.
Scott has played 135 games with the Eagles since joining them at pick 22 in the 2007 AFL draft. However, he has played just 25 of a possible 47 games in the last two seasons, struggling with injury and form.
This makes Selwood the first free agent to accept an offer from a rival club in 2015, and potentially the first player to move clubs in 2015 should the Eagles choose not to match his offer before any other moves are completed.
“Highly-regarded West Coast Eagles midfielder Scott Selwood has today informed the club that he wishes to return to Victoria as a restricted free agent.
“Under the AFL’s restricted free agency process, he has nominated Geelong as his preferred destination. West Coast will now commence the consideration of its next step.
“The West Coast Eagles will be making no further comment on this matter.”