Home

AFL Trade Period: Fremantle veteran defender Joel Hamling officially signs with Sydney Swans

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
Joel Hamling has officially joined Sydney as a free agent.
Camera IconJoel Hamling has officially joined Sydney as a free agent. Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos

Fremantle has controversially received no compensation from the AFL for losing Joel Hamling to Sydney as an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.

Hamling, 30, informed the Dockers he would not be accepting an offer to play for them in 2024 and instead would be joining the Swans on what is believed to be a two-year deal.

It was announced on Sunday that the AFL had received and approved the paperwork for the deal, but the Dockers would not receive any compensation under the rules.

Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney both received a pick at the end of the second round as compensation for losing James Jordon and Matt Flynn to Sydney and West Coast respectively this week.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.

READ NOW
Joel Hamling is officially a Swan after joining Sydney as an unrestricted free agent on Sunday afternoon, becoming the latest player to leave Fremantle. 
Camera IconJoel Hamling is officially a Swan after joining Sydney as an unrestricted free agent on Sunday afternoon, becoming the latest player to leave Fremantle.  Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

But the Dockers won’t get an extra pick for losing Hamling, with the AFL’s formula taking in age and the length of contract when it is determining compensation.

The Game AFL 2024

Hamling played 68 games for the Dockers in seven seasons but managed only six in the past four seasons because of injury and falling behind Brennan Cox and captain Alex Pearce.

As revealed by The West Australian, Fremantle reportedly offered Hamling a one-year rookie deal, which he rejected, before they made an 11th-hour bid to keep him with an improved deal.

Hamling still decided to head to Sydney, which will be the fourth club he’s been part of in his more than-decade AFL career.

The Claremont product was drafted to Geelong with pick 32 in 2011 but did not play a game in three seasons.

Hamling was picked up by the Western Bulldogs as a delisted free agent before the 2015 season and would play 23 games for them in two seasons, including the 2016 premiership.

That would be his last game for the Bulldogs before he requested a trade back to the Dockers where he would become their first-choice full back, playing 62 games in three seasons.

Joel Hamling is officially a Swan after joining Sydney as an unrestricted free agent on Sunday afternoon, becoming the latest player to leave Fremantle. 
Camera IconJoel Hamling is officially a Swan after joining Sydney as an unrestricted free agent on Sunday afternoon, becoming the latest player to leave Fremantle.  Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

A serious ankle injury would hinder his career, but he had an excellent 2023 season for Peel Thunder, finishing runner-up in their fairest and best as well as showing his quality in four AFL appearances for the Dockers.

Hamling joins wingman Liam Henry in wanting to leave the Dockers, with the next generation academy product requesting a trade to St Kilda after 43 games in four seasons.

Fremantle have already delisted veterans Nathan Wilson and Travis Colyer as well as bigman Eric Benning after an underwhelming season in which they missed the finals with only 10 wins.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails