Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley with Jared Polec after the round 23 loss to Essendon in what might have been Polec’s last game for the club. Picture: Sarah Reed.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley with Jared Polec after the round 23 loss to Essendon in what might have been Polec’s last game for the club. Picture: Sarah Reed.

Great Scott! Port poised to secure ruckman Lycett

PORT Adelaide appears to have won the race for out of contract West Coast ruckman Scott Lycett.

It is understood the former Port Magpie - a restricted free agent at the end of the season - has told the Eagles and his other main suitor, St Kilda, that he wants to play for the Power next year.

While nothing will become official until after West Coast's finals campaign - and the Eagles do have the right to match any rival offer for Lycett because of his restricted free agency status - Port is believed to have all but stitched up a deal for its No. 1 off-season recruiting priority.

Scott Lycett contests the ruck with Demons star Max Gawn. He is looking likely to return to South Australia next year. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Scott Lycett contests the ruck with Demons star Max Gawn. He is looking likely to return to South Australia next year. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Lycett, 25, will have a key role to play in the Eagles' finals campaign as he leads the ruck in the absence of injured star Nic Naitanui.

But he will fall to No. 2 in the ruck pecking order when Naitanui returns from a knee reconstruction late next year.

And while the Saints' offer for Lycett is bigger than the reported $600,000 a season he will get from the Power, the lure to return home to SA and eventually replace All-Australian Paddy Ryder as Port's lead ruckman appears to have won him over.

Ryder will be 31 by the start of next season and is battling chronic Achilles issues.

West Coast wanted a decision from Lycett before its round 23 clash against Brisbane and it has been actively pursuing another ruckman, with Western Bulldog Jordan Roughead already in talks with the Eagles.

Lycett, 203cm, has played 72 games for West Coast since being drafted at pick 29 at the 2010 national draft.

He has enjoyed a career-season, playing all 22 home-and-away games.

Power coach Ken Hinkley has indicated Port wants support for Ryder, with the club believing Lycett and Ryder can play in the same side - one in the ruck and one up forward.

Hinkley, meanwhile, has defended the Power's decision not to break the bank to keep Jared Polec at Alberton while demanding a first-round draft pick from North Melbourne for the classy wingman.

While Hinkley has indicated that Polec, 25, will finish in the top three of Port's best and fairest voting, he said the numbers just don't stack up to keep him.

Polec is understood to have been offered a five-year, $3.5 million deal to join the big-spending Kangaroos.

The Power has offered him a three-year deal worth about $1.8 million.

"All the decisions we make are based on all the evidence we have, that includes medical (Polec has battled a chronic foot problem) and long term viability and I won't bust the bank or bust the club to keep one (player), it's just not right,'' Hinkley said.

"We think Jared is an outstanding player and we made him a really sound and good offer to be a part of our football club for (the next) three years.

"But he's got a godfather offer sitting in front of him, a five-year deal from a football club (North Melbourne) that is incredible money, ridiculously good money.

"We've gone to a point where we say 'that's it', we were fair. If Jared was to leave us we would get a first-round draft pick for him.''

andrew.capel@news.com.au



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