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Versatile midfielder Matilda Sergeant will become Fremantle’s ninth debutant of the 2019 season when Freo take on the Western Bulldogs at Fremantle Oval on Sunday.
The 19-year-old is one of three inclusions for the clash, coming in alongside Alicia Janz and Hayley Miller.
Both Sergeant (hip) and Janz (knee) have missed the season to date due to injury and Miller is set to add her star power to the midfield on her return from a one-week suspension.
Janz is likely to share ruck duties with Parris Laurie, who has impressed as Fremantle’s sole ruck for the opening four rounds.
The trio come in for Ashlee Atkins, Katie-Jayne Grieve and Courtney Stubbs, who have been omitted.
Sergeant, who played for Fremantle in the pre-season against Adelaide in Darwin, said she couldn’t wait to get out and play her first AFLW game.
“I’m pretty stoked, it’s a big surprise and I’m just so excited to get out there,” Sergeant said.
“I trained for quite a while in preseason but because of the injury, I’ve been on the sidelines a bit so I’m really excited to be getting back and playing footy.
“I called mum, she was very excited for me. Both of my parents have been a big support for me throughout my whole footy career and it’s really exciting to see her reap the rewards as well.”
Assistant coach Lisa Webb said Fremantle fans can be excited about what Sergeant will bring to the team.
“She’s a really smart payer, fantastic overhead, she reads the play really well and she’s quite a versatile, so I imagine she’ll play in a few positions,” Webb said.
“She’s very intelligent in the way she reads the play and she also trained really well over the pre-season.
“The way she’s fought back into the side following her injury is a real credit to her.”
SQUAD V BULLDOGS
Backs: Evie Gooch, Tayla Bresland, Angelique Stannett
Half backs: Alex Williams, Ebony Antonio, Kara Donnellan
Centre: Philippa Seth, Dana Hooker, Stephanie Cain
Ruck: Parris Laurie
Half forwards: Gemma Houghton, Ashley Sharp, Hayley Miller
Forwards: Kiara Bowers, Kellie Gibson, Sabreena Duffy
Interchange: Alicia Janz, Laura Pugh, Gabby O’Sullivan, Matilda Sergeant, Mel Caulfield
The clash at Fremantle Oval commences at 3.05pm on Sunday and is free entry. It is also broadcast live into Perth on Channel 7 and Fox Footy from 3.00pm WST.