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Dockers axe AFL defender Conca

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18th August, 2021
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Fremantle have delisted Reece Conca, despite the 29-year-old building an excellent reputation of shutting down the AFL’s best small forwards over the past 18 months.

The Dockers announced on Wednesday that Conca would not be offered a deal for next year.

The former Richmond defender hasn’t given up hope of joining a third club and building on his 150-game AFL career.

Conca played 104 games for the Tigers before moving to Fremantle at the end of 2018.

The midfielder-turned-defender flourished under Dockers coach Justin Longmuir last year, performing a key shutdown role on some of the league’s best small forwards.

He played the first eight games this year before being dropped from the 22, with his last appearance coming in round 13.

It’s understood Conca needed to play just two more games this year to trigger a contract extension for 2022.

Longmuir took offence when those rumours were put to him last month.

“It’s just a totally inaccurate assumption and rumour,” Longmuir said at the time.

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“If that was the case – because of the trigger – we wouldn’t have played him as the sub against Essendon (in round nine).

“I’m really offended by whoever is saying that. It’s totally inaccurate.”

Fremantle’s general manager of football Peter Bell thanked Conca for his team-first attitude and leadership.

“The players made it clear how highly they valued his leadership and selfless attitude, voting him into the leadership group after completing just one pre-season ahead of his first season at Fremantle,” Bell said.

“Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to not renew Reece’s contract as we prioritise the development of our young defenders, but we cannot understate the importance of his guidance to this group since his arrival.”

Fremantle take on St Kilda in Hobart on Sunday in a match they must win to keep their finals hopes alive.

The Dockers also need two of the three teams directly above them on the ladder to lose in order to have a chance of sneaking into the top eight.

© AAP

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