Main content
Fremantly Football Club

Draft wait suited ‘late developer'

'I have the same chance as anyone else here' - Watson Tobe Watson talks to the media for the first time in purple

Selected by Fremantle with pick no.22 in Friday’s NAB AFL Rookie Draft, defender Tobe Watson feels he benefited significantly from a two-year wait to get drafted to an AFL list.

Watson addressed the media on Monday during his first day at the club and spoke about the progression from his first eligible year for selection in 2016.

In the past 12 months, while playing a full season for Swan Districts’ league side, Watson put on approximately 10kg – now standing at 190cm and 84kg.

“In my draft year I didn’t think I was ready,” Watson said.

“I was a late developer and I was a pretty skinny kid growing up.

“Getting those games at the end of 2017 in the Swans side and playing a bit of finals footy, really helped me going into 2018. 

“I had a really strong pre-season and had, in my opinion, a really successful 2018 campaign.”

It hasn’t all been about size for Watson, with the 20-year-old crediting Swan Districts for helping him out of a rut in 2017.

“It was all about self-confidence I think,” Watson said. 

“Growing up, having a slight frame, there were guys who were ahead of me who had developed earlier and shone a bit more I think.

“After getting my chance at colts level and winning the best and fairest there in my first year (in 2016), I got a bit down in 2017 when I was playing a bit of reserves footy.

“It took a bit of support from the club helped me (break into the league team) near the end of the season and I moved into 2018 with a lot of self-confidence.”

Watson said he didn’t watch the Rookie Draft because he was unaware that the selection process had started an hour ahead of schedule.

“I was really nervous. I didn’t watch the Thursday night and then I did pretty much anything I could to keep my mind off it as I never really had any expectations,” Watson said.

“I was playing basketball at the time. I think the rookie draft was scheduled for 3pm and it started a bit earlier. 

“I got home at about 2.45pm and I walked into my mate's house and he just opened his arms up and said ‘you’ve been drafted to Fremantle!’ 

“It was pretty awesome.” 

As he settles into life in the AFL, Watson has moved in with teammates Griffin Logue and Rory Lobb. 

“Griffin’s one of my best mates,” Watson said. 

“We went to Guildford Grammar in the same year and we played together in the 2015 Alcock Cup year. 

“I’ve got a really strong relationship with him and I’ve moved in with him and Rory Lobb for my first couple of weeks at Fremantle, so I couldn’t ask for better housemates.”

See all of Fremantle's new draftees and new recruits - including Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb - at the club's Annual Members' Meeting on Tuesday 27 November at Optus Stadium.

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