The manoeuvre surrounds talented forward Henry, who is tied to the Dockers as an NGA player.
Much like Greater Western Sydney did earlier in the week in trading with Adelaide to get ahead of a potential bid for academy player Tom Green, Freo were keen to ensure that they could make two selections ahead of Henry being drafted.
Fremantle’s first selection is at No. 7. The Dockers were confident no club would bid on Henry before that point, but could not be certain of dodging a bid before pick 10 for the classy Claremont product, who is also capable of playing in the midfield.
Henry had been rated by rival clubs as capable of going as early as pick No. 8, while industry sources had suggested this week that the Blues were interested in bidding on Henry at pick No. 9.
However with picks seven and eight in their keeping, Fremantle now look well-placed to take two players before a bid for Henry. They can then use points gained in the Crows trade to gain Henry as well, meaning that the Dockers could end with three top-15 picks on Wednesday night.
Freo footy chief Peter Bell said the Crows became involved due to an AFL ruling.
“We originally received pick No. 22 from Melbourne in the trade period,” Bell said.
“Under AFL rules, that selection cannot be traded back to Melbourne, so we involved Adelaide in the exchange to ensure the trade could be done.”
Fremantle had the chance to avoid this situation by taking pick No. 6 from St Kilda in a trade for Bradley Hill. However the Dockers baulked at that deal, with the Saints instead trading that pick to Greater Western Sydney. Ultimately the Dockers landed pick 10 as well as Blake Acres in a multi-faceted deal with St Kilda which went through on the final day of trade period.
Freo are set to draft as few as four and as many as five players across the two-night national draft.
Earlier on Thursday the Brisbane Lions traded pick 48 and a future third-round selection to Collingwood for the Magpies’ future second-round pick.