Luke Jackson has been traded to Fremantle for two first-round picks (Image: AFL; Design: Will Cuckson)

After months of speculation, Luke Jackson has finally landed home in WA, getting to Fremantle and adding much-needed flexibility to Justin Longmuir's team

After months of speculation, Luke Jackson has finally landed home in WA. A three-way trade has seen Jackson land at Fremantle, while GWS get Toby Bedford and Melbourne get pick 13 and a future first, among other pick swaps.

One of the major stories of the trade period, Jackson has been linked to Fremantle as far back as last season. The trade was a long time coming, however from the outside it appears he’s just moved to the other side of the country to remain a second ruckman.

While he never quite took the mantle of Melbourne’s main man, Jackson showed flashes when he got his opportunity in the ruck. He turned the momentum of the 2021 grand final in the third quarter, but it was round 15 of 2022 against Brisbane where he announced his potential as a solo ruck.

With Max Gawn out due to a syndesmosis injury, Jackson led the Demons to a 64-point thrashing of the Lions. He collected 10 contested possessions on his way to 21 disposals, along with nine tackles and 10 score involvements.

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The first two-metre midfielder?

Head of Player Personnel David Walls was ecstatic to reveal the signing of Jackson and was full of excitement when talking about the possibilities of what he brings to Fremantle.

“Luke has been our number one priority all year,” he said.

“To be able to bring someone as rare as him with so much talent and character, we’re just thrilled.

“His strengths are his athleticism and his ground ball. He averaged nine and a half ground balls a game at under-18 level and there’s potential there for him to play as a big-bodied mid.

“He is a real hybrid type with his ground ball, his follow-up, his tackle, and reading of the play.

“This allows JL to play him where he thinks is most advantageous to the team. There is so much flexibility and scope and we’re just scratching the surface with him.”

Fremantle General Manager Peter Bell said the club will “seriously consider” Jackson’s potential as a midfielder. Explaining he has all the characteristics of a replacement for the outgoing David Mundy.

The 21-year-old averaged 4.4 ground ball gets per game, ranked fourth in the league for a ruckman who played 10 or more games. He was also the third-ranked ruckman in the league for tackles and fourth for pressure acts.

A new ruck dynamic

Outside of the midfield, Jackson will most likely fill the void in the forward line left by Rory Lobb who is expected to get to the Bulldogs. He’ll be able to shoulder some of the ruck burden from Sean Darcy, who took 78 percent of Fremantle’s ruck contests last year.

The Dockers could also use him in a similar role to Max Gawn this year, resting in the backline as an interceptor. The duo of Darcy and Jackson looks to be an opportunity for the resting ruckman to be a constant threat both in front and behind the ball.

Fremantle was middle of the pack for intercepts in 2022, adding a player of Jackson’s quality who was a top 10 ruckman for marks and top 5 for contested marks will only strengthen their ability to turn the ball over.

Darcy is only 24, which gives Fremantle the potential to have one of the most dangerous ruck combinations for the next 10 years. Giving them a point of difference that all sides chasing a flag need.

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