STAR North Albury recruit Adam Prior is locked in a clearance wrangle with East Perth.
Prior has failed in his bid to be released from the second year of his contract with the WAFL club and the case is now likely to be heard by an appeals tribunal.
The dual Doug Strang medallist, who trained with the Hoppers for the first time this week, has already had one clearance application blocked.
“All along, North Albury has known that East Perth would knock back the clearances,” Prior said yesterday.
“We have had a lawyer look over my contract and I think it will go to the tribunal next month.
“A few other players who have gone back to Melbourne from East Perth are the same.
“It’s a bit of a pain but it’s not hindering me too much.
“At least I can train.”
Prior has cited work and family reasons for his decision to return to the Border and told East Perth’s leadership group of his intentions before signing with North Albury earlier this month.
North Albury will be desperate to sort out Prior’s clearance to complete a dream preseason for the Hoppers who have lured former AFL players Jason Akermanis and Jason Gram to Bunton Park.
Prior will return to Perth next week for work commitments before moving back to Albury next month.
East Perth has not returned calls to The Border Mail.
“The players were fine with it,” Prior said.
“They just said: ‘Yep, you are going home’ and they didn’t have any problems.
“Hopefully, it can get worked out.”
Prior said the landscape had changed significantly since he signed the two-year contract with East Perth.
West Coast’s alignment with East Perth had put a squeeze on the number of available senior positions each week.
“It’s changed a lot with West Coast coming into the club,” he said.
“Not one thing is the same as when I signed.”
Prior played in the Hoppers’ losing 2007 grand final side against Wangaratta before crossing to fierce Ovens and Murray rivals Wodonga Raiders.
He has spent the last three seasons with East Perth where he kicked more than 100 goals in 50 matches.