Armed with two selections after the Cerra trade, the Dockers drafted Jye Amiss with the eighth pick and Neil Erasmus with the tenth pick on the opening night of the AFL Draft.
“Most clubs will say we’ll take the best available talent, it doesn’t matter where they’re from, but clearly it’s a bonus and it makes a huge difference,” Pavlich told Wide World of Sports.
“Maybe in the back of their mind Adam Cerra going home and leaving, that might’ve played a small part in it. But clearly they would say they chose the best available talent and it obviously helps if they’re West Australian.
“The two longest-serving members of Fremantle aren’t from Western Australia, so it doesn’t always work out that way that players leave.
“Getting two homegrown guys makes it a little easier, even just to settle into training and there’s no assimilation to the West Australian lifestyle.”
While Fremantle may deny it, Pavlich admitted that the ‘go-home factor’ is a real thing and applies to every team in the AFL.
“Every player that leaves their state at some level would consider or want to go home to their home state,” he said.
“It really comes down to the individual and their desire to move, to stay, to have success at one club, to drive standards, to be a leader. It is very much a horses for courses situation.
“In the Adam Cerra example, my understanding was he loved the club, he loved the playing group, loved the coaches, but it was just that family pull was too significant.
“The Queensland teams have had trouble in the past keeping players. The Giants clearly have had a lot of players leave, and you think about the Adelaide Crows and how many players have left over the last 10 years, I don’t think it’s quarantined anywhere. The pull to go home wherever you’re drafted to is real, no matter the club and the location.”
Originally hailing from South Australia, Pavlich himself fought the lure of going home, eventually playing every one of his 353 AFL games for the Dockers.
He had a simple piece of advice for any youngster drafted interstate.
“Just get into working hard,” he said.
“Focus on wringing the sponge as dry as you can when you play, and absorb as much as you can from players and coaches, and ingratiate yourself with the community.
“For me, it was going to university and doing other things outside of the game in the local community was actually really important to me, to meet people outside of the people that I worked closely with on a daily basis.
“You’re getting drafted to a city and a state, you’re not getting drafted to a club alone, so there’s great opportunity and great things that can come if you do ingratiate yourself with the West Australian community, or wherever you end up going. Don’t quarantine your focus to the club alone.”
Pavlich is familiar with both Amiss and Erasmus having worked with the pair during their time with the WA team, and he said Fremantle is getting a future leader in Erasmus.
“Neil in particular, in terms of his leadership and sense of speaking up in front of the group was first class,” he said.
“For a young guy, I think he’s one of the younger players in the draft, I think there’s great upside there not only on-field, but how he can become another one of those young leaders and join the likes of [Andrew] Brayshaw and [Caleb] Serong.
“There’s tremendous upside there. Obviously a great athlete and good size for that mid-forward position.
“It’s hard to see them not being given an opportunity if they’re ready, but the question mark of whether they’re ready means they have to hit the ground running in the first few months and their bodies have to be right.”