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Tigers feared Deledio AFL free agency exit

AAP logoAAP 21/10/2016 Michael Ramsey

Richmond have admitted Brett Deledio's trade to Greater Western Sydney was driven by fears he would walk out the door as an AFL free agent next year.

Deledio was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, allowing rival clubs to secure the 29-year-old forward's services without giving up any compensation.

The Tigers had declared Deledio a required player as recently as a fortnight ago, when it emerged he had expressed interest in a move to Geelong, but worked behind the scenes to secure a deal.

Geelong eventually pulled out of talks, allowing the Giants to pounce as the trade was sealed with minutes to spare before Thursday's 2pm trade period deadline.

"I guess that's the age of free agency," Richmond list manager boss Dan Richardson told the Tigers website on Friday.

"With (Deledio) coming out as a free agent at the end of next year, we felt that it was best to fulfil his desire to seek a fresh start but equally to secure a first-round pick."

Deledio's addition, in exchange for first and third-round picks in the 2017 draft, bolsters the Giants' already strong list and thrusts them into flag favouritism after falling at the penultimate game this season.

Giants football boss Wayne Campbell said the 2004 No.1 draft pick had long been in the club's sights and had agreed to take a pay cut to fit into a tight salary cap.

"He's probably been a name on the board for a fair while," he told SEN radio.

"He's taken a fair sacrifice to come. He wants to come to a place where he thinks we can win some games at the back-end of his career and he thinks he can add to that."

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