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Tigers upbeat Rance will stay in AFL

Alex Rance will have unrestricted AFL free agency, meaning the Richmond defender is in an ideal bargaining position if he decides to test the market.


Rance had decided earlier this year to put off contract talks until the season is over, but the Tigers remain confident he will stay.

His unrestricted status was the most notable feature of the AFL free agency list, published on Tuesday afternoon.

A media report last week stated Fremantle were prepared to make a big offer to Rance, originally from WA and who made his first All-Australian team last year.

It was well known Rance would qualify for free agency later this year, but not that it would be unrestricted.

While a restricted free agent’s club can match any offers made to him, an unrestricted free agent can go where he wants.

“We were aware of Alex’s free agency status, and whether he’s restricted or unrestricted, it doesn’t change how the club approaches his contract,” said Richmond football manager Dan Richardson.

“He’s an important player for us, we’re in regular discussions with his management and understand Alex is very happy at Richmond.”

Richmond have reason to be upbeat about Rance staying.

There has been none of the rampant speculation that marked the months before Gary Ablett’s high-profile move from Geelong to Gold Coast in 2010.

There was similarly plenty of talk surrounding Lance Franklin (Hawthorn to Sydney), Brendon Goddard (St Kilda to Essendon) and James Frawley (Melbourne to Hawthorn) before their bumper free agency deals.

This year, there is a widespread belief Adelaide star Patrick Dangerfield, who is a restricted free agent, will try to move to Geelong at the end of the season.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and star onballer Dustin Martin have re-signed in the past few months, leaving Rance as the highest-profile Tiger yet to commit to a new deal.


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