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A new name for 29 as jumper numbers revealed

Draftee jumper numbers revealed Our 2018 draftees get their jumper numbers

The famous no.29 will return to Fremantle in 2019 under a new name, with Luke Valente taking on the number last worn by club legend Matthew Pavlich.

Valente and his fellow draftees Sam Sturt, Lachie Schultz, Brett Bewley, Jason Carter and Tobe Watson were all presented their new numbers on Wednesday by the former Fremantle captain.

Pavlich wore the no.29 for 17 seasons between 2000 and 2016 and captained Fremantle between 2007 and 2015. 

He played a club-record 353 games, winning six Doig Medals, six All Australian honours and kicking a club-record 700 goals.

Following Pavlich’s retirement in 2016, the number was temporarily rested in honour of his outstanding contribution to the club.

Valente will be just the third Freo Docker to wear the number, joining Pavlich and Brad Wira, who wore the jumper for 21 of his 35 games for Fremantle.

General manager of football Peter Bell said that Valente was a fitting choice and was capable of handling the added attention the no.29 brings.

“With both Luke and Matthew hailing from South Australia, we liked the connection of passing the jumper on to someone from Matthew’s home state,” Bell said.

“But Matthew was a once-in-a-generation player and it would be unreasonable to expect anyone to emulate his outstanding achievements on the field.

“We were impressed with the maturity and professionalism Luke showed in his draft year, particularly captaining South Australia to the NAB AFL U18 Championships title.

“After a two-year hiatus without the no.29, and at Matthew’s encouragement, we decided it was an appropriate time to bring back the number and we know Luke will be able to take any of these external expectations in his stride.”

Sturt, Fremantle’s first round selection at no.17, will wear the no.27 previously worn by two-time Doig Medallist Lachie Neale for 135 games. 

The 18-year-old is set to become the seventh player to wear the no.27.

In the no.28, Schultz will become the fifth Fremantle Docker to wear the number, previously worn by Brady Grey for 21 games and also worn by Steven Koops for 78 games between 1996 and 2003.

Bewley has been allocated the no.34, previously worn by Lee Spurr and also worn by Paul Medhurst for 87 games between 2002 and 2005.

Both Spurr and Bewley arrived at Fremantle as mature age recruits, with Spurr enjoying a successful seven seasons at Fremantle, playing 120 games while winning the Beacon Award in 2012 and Best Clubman in 2013.

NGA recruit Jason Carter will wear the no.35 at Fremantle, previously worn by Michael Apeness. 

Rookie Tobe Watson will look to become the second player to wear the no.45, last worn by Gavin Mitchell for 36 games between 1996 and 1997.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs