SWAN Districts star recruit Rhys Palmer feels he still has a lot to give in football after spending 10 years in the AFL system at three clubs.
The 28-year-old played 123 AFL games and kicked 95 goals for Fremantle (53 games), Greater Western Sydney (69) and Carlton (one) after being taken at pick seven in the 2007 National Draft.
Palmer, originally recruited from East Fremantle, won the 2008 AFL Rising Star award in his first season at Fremantle.
He came back to WA before Christmas to “freshen up” and spend time with his family and friends.
“I still had the passion to play, I just wanted to take that time off mentally, physically as well – my body had been through 10 years of AFL plus the rest before when you were coming through the ranks,” Palmer said.
“It is good to just relax, be comfortable and happy.”
The Ardross resident, who worked in property, said it was nice to feel “loved” again when Swan Districts and other clubs chased for his services.
“I have got a great relationship with (general manager of football operations) Phil Smart,” he said.
“I want to incorporate not just football but developing kids, coaching aspect whether it be senior level or colts level – I have got the opportunity to do that here with (colts coach) Greg Harding.
“Swan Districts has got so many good players coming through the ranks and got so many players in the AFL system.”
He hoped to share his experience of being drafted as a teenager with the younger players.
“I remember that time for me was probably the most exciting time…playing 16s and 18s in WA and you get drafted and before you know it, you are on a list,” he said.
“It happens very fast and if I could teach those boys a few things before they get drafted so hopefully when they do get drafted, they are ready for a big career.”
Palmer said while his AFL days were over, he felt he had a lot to prove in the WAFL because of his competitive nature.
“I still felt when I was playing VFL footy I was playing well and then not getting an opportunity through senior level was probably the most frustrating bit,” he said.
“My body was fine last year.
“I didn’t really want to come back here and play country with a couple of my mates.”
Palmer said he looked forward to playing as a goal-kicking midfielder alongside old friends Matt Riggio and captain David Ellard, who he played under-18s with, on the big surrounds of Bassendean Oval.
“I know a lot of my ex-Fremantle teammates have come back and signed with other clubs around the league,” he said.
“It is going to be a good competition and hopefully we can have a really good season.
“I think every game you come to win, so it’ll be nice to win a WAFL flag.”