Sydney recruit Joel Hamling has opened up on his Fremantle exit and the "disrespectful" circumstances that saw him opt for a move away from Western Australia.

While Hamling hadn't initially planned to leave Perth, the 30-year-old was keen to get closer to Melbourne so his young family could be with his partner's relatives.

They would soon settle for Sydney after the Swans made their move for the premiership ex-Bulldog after the Dockers lowballed Hamling an offer for 2024.

Believing the Dockers thought no external interest would arise for his services, Hamling would soon be tabled the chance to join the Swans, piquing his interest in a move and seeing Fremantle double the length of their offer

After his manager met with Swans list manager Kinnear Beatson earlier in the year, Hamling met with the seasoned recruiter and subsequently agreed to join Sydney as a free agent.

Speaking to, Hamling said the situation with the Dockers felt "a bit disrespectful", with the former Geelong, Western Bulldogs and Fremantle backman noting he knew it was "time to get out of" Cockburn.

"I never really wanted to leave Perth. I still had a contract there, but it wasn't as good as I would've liked. It was a bit disrespectful, to be honest," Hamling told the publication.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 25: Joel Hamling of the Dockers looks to pass the ball during the round 23 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Collingwood Magpies at Optus Stadium on August 25, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

"... I really enjoyed my time at Freo, they're a good club. But I don't think they thought anyone else would take me. So they gave me a contract, it's probably bottom end but then someone else (Sydney) popped up. And then Freo come back with (an offer of) two years, but it didn't eventuate.

"I sort of had enough in the end and it was time to get out of there. So yeah, I packed up and took off to my fourth club."

Now at his fourth club, Hamling is hoping to be part of another premiership side after helping steer the Bulldogs to their drought-breaking grand final win seven years ago.

The Western Australian-born backman has battled an ankle injury for most of the past three seasons, playing just six games since the end of 2019.

With an opportunity to be part of Sydney's flag push next year, Hamling said he's excited to play a full season in the red and white where he could play his first final since defeating Sydney in 2016's decider.

"It's a very interesting one. I hadn't missed a lot of footy in my career through injury and then I got a bad ankle injury and missed two and a half, three years," he said.

"I've never had a soft tissue injury, so the only risk is my left ankle. But the only thing sore in my body at the moment (is) just my right foot. But other than that, hamstrings, calves, everything feels quite good.

Sydney Swans recruit Joel Hamling at pre-season training, 2023 (Image via Sydney FC)

"I've been given one last crack by a team that you could say is in the (premiership) window, I'm really excited about the prospect."

Hamling was one of four trade/free agency recruits for Sydney this off-season, with Melbourne pair Brodie Grundy and James Jordon also making the trip north with Collingwood's Taylor Adams.