Former Melbourne and Carlton defender Oscar McDonald received an AFL lifeline from Fremantle on Wednesday.
The defender spent last season playing with Williamstown in the VFL but was signed by Fremantle on a two-year deal for 2024 and 2025 as a delisted free agent.
With 86 AFL games to his name, McDonald has shown that he can compete at the top level and Fremantle great Paul Hasleby believes the 27-year-old is good cover after the club lost Joel Hamling to Sydney.
While McDonald may not be as strong defensively as Hamling, Hasleby believes he could offer more to the Dockers from an intercept marking and offensive point of view.
“Oscar McDonald joins Fremantle on a two-year deal,” Hasleby said on SEN WA The Run Home.
“He’s a 196cm key defender who played 81 games with Melbourne and five games with Carlton.
“He's been playing at Williamstown last season after being delisted (by Carlton) through injury.
“He is good coverage for (the loss of) Joel Hamling … but in reality, he hasn't been on a list for the last 12 months and there have been legit excuses with his back, he's been trying to get over (his health struggles).
“He had a really good season with Williamstown. From all reports, it's not like every club is chasing him, but for Fremantle given the loss of Hamling, I think that's a like-for-like coverage.
“He may not be as good defensively as Joel, but he may offer a bit more from a marking and offensive point of view.”
While McDonald was named at full-back in the VFL team of the year, Hasleby can’t see him usurping any of Alex Pearce, Brennan Cox and Luke Ryan in Fremantle’s line-up.
“You never say never, you just don't know (whether he’ll be a best 22 player),” Hasleby said.
“He did play some good footy for Melbourne with his brother (Tom) there.
“But it comes down to the pre-season and injuries whether he can play.
“I can't see him getting past their first-choice three defenders at this point in time.
“But you just never know in this game.”
The swingman’s two years at Carlton were derailed by significant back injuries as he played just five games across 2021 and 2022.